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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Pine-Strawberry Trail #15, AZ

no permit
154 17 1
Guide 17 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
3 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.95 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,012 feet
Elevation Gain 288 feet
Accumulated Gain 736 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.4
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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2  2019-06-30 MountainMatt
4  2019-06-27 MountainMatt
12  2018-10-03
Pine Strawberry Trail Plus
15  2017-09-23
30  2015-09-04
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25
17  2015-08-29
Strawberry Sampler
11  2015-08-29
Strawberry Canyon & Mountain Loop
7  2010-07-25
Oak Springs from Hardscrabble Rd
Page 1,  2
Author JimmyLyding
author avatar Guides 109
Routes 335
Photos 4,221
Trips 568 map ( 3,575 miles )
Age 45 Male Gender
Location Walnut Creek, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → 6 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Scenic Views of Pine and Milk Ranch Point
by JimmyLyding

Likely In-Season!
Please note that the my GPS route, elevation gain and AEG are from south to north while the hike description is from north to south from the Strawberry trailhead.

The hamlet of Strawberry is named so because the residents who settled the area in the late 19th Century found an abundance of strawberries in the area.

Leave the Strawberry trailhead to the south over the vehicle barrier, and the trail immediately turns to the east. The first few hundred yards are flat and uninspiring due to the vehicle noise from SR 87. Soon enough, however, the trail drops steeply into the upper reaches of the Strawberry Hollow drainage.

The trail then leaves the drainage and follows the eastern contours of Strawberry Mountain about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The trail then assumes its normal character with alternating views to the east of the town of Pine and the Milk Ranch Point portion of the Mogollon Rim and the tall timber in the small drainages that flow east from Strawberry Mountain. These timbered areas feature ponderosa pine, alligator juniper, gambel oak, Arizona cypress, and small-ish New Mexico locust.

The trail continues along the east side of Strawberry Mountain roughly following the 5800' contour until descends to Cottonwood Spring before gently ascending the southeastern part of Strawberry Mountain. From here it quickly descends via a few switchbacks to Hardscrabble Road/FR 428. The Walnut Trail #251 continues to the south of this road.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-07-27 JimmyLyding

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Nice big loop around Pine. Clockwise from the Strawberry trail head: BF13 > PC26 > OS16/AZT25 > W251 > PS15.

    Bearfoot steadily improves along its length and the new bridge over Pine Creek is fiberglass art. Warm and very dry conditions, only a few meager patches of snow. The Pine-Strawberry fuel reduction program has done an incredible amount of work - several long stretches along this loop have nearly all the chaparral chopped down to a foot high, hundreds of acres have been thinned.
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Denny and Joe refused to hike with me 2 weeks in a row.
    The Dbacks kept me up late. I slept in until 6:00 and didn't hit the trail until 8:00.

    Got dropped off at the Good Enough Trail. First time on this one. It's in decent shape and a short steady climb to The Pine Canyon Trail. Passed up Wild Bill Spring on the way up.

    Pine Canyon Trail #26 yields great views down to Pine and back into the canyon. It's a super highway. A brief stint on the Highline trail and I was at the Pine TH.

    I had not been on the Oak Spring Trail #16 in over 7 years, since we did the AZT in 2010. It really has a lot to offer. You get to peak at "The Narrows" (on my list) on your way to the picturesque Bradshaw Tank and meadow area. The blind has been changed up from last time through, with the same familiar note inside.

    The drop and views into Oak Spring Canyon is what I'd remembered most about this trail. It did not disappoint.

    I was going to take a side trip to relive the Butterfly Whisperer moment [ photo ] [ photo ] , but I was on a timetable.

    I'd forgotten everything about the Walnut Trail #251. I'm sure there may be some walnut trees here, but most of what I saw were Oaks and Maples on the cusp of their seasonal turning. Worth a visit for sure.

    The Pine Strawberry Trail #15 is a MTB highway, yet I saw none. This is an enjoyable trail that has had some slight reroutes since my last time through.

    I finished up on the Bearfoot Trail.

    I saw 4 hikers total on an absolutely perfect weather day.

    Walnut Canyon's maples are just starting to turn.
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Rather than following the initial route south, I cut straight across AZ 87, using the culvert just north of the Pine TH driveway. Didn't need to crouch. After checking out the memorial I had noticed, I bumped across two dead elk. The first somewhat scattered, the second unfortunately not scattered. It was gross. And it smelled. :o

    Trail #16 west was okay. Nothing special. A bit rocky. Nice view down Oak Spring Canyon towards Arrowhead Canyon Estates and AZ 87. Might have to hike that sometime. It eventually empties out at Tonto Natural Bridge. The intersection with Walnut Trail #251 is obvious, but only the southern segment, along the AZT. Despite at least 10 minutes searching I was unable to find the northern segment, up canyon. :-k I settled for going straight up the creek bed.

    After a few hundred yards, I found the trail, which crosses the creek many times in the two miles to FR 428. It's a nice trail surface, cairned, plenty of shade, and pretty too. :)

    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15 has been realigned in many places from what is on FS Topo. (The correct/new alignment is reflected in the official route.) It's enjoyable as well, with nice views east along the Mogollon Rim. I was hoping for some MTB action, but it was not to be. :| Might be worth hauling a cooler of beer up to several points to watch next weekend's races.

    Found some obvious bear tracks near Cottonwood Spring -- which, despite 10 minutes searching, I was unable to locate. (The spring, that is, not the bear.)

    I engaged in blatant cloud pr0n. :D

    At one point I went to sit on a rock, but some critter had already pooped on it. I had a Johnny Cochran moment: If the rock has ****, I cannot sit. :lol:

    I'd measured the hike at a little over seven miles, so I figured it would actually be eight. By the time I finished, I had over 10 miles under my belt. Unfortunately, the only beer I had to greet me was that awful "Go To IPA". :yuck: I ended up pouring half of it out for my dead elk homies.

    The sun came & went all day, but I never did get rained on. Caught a few sprinkles heading south out of Payson. It must have poured earlier, as there were puddles in spots on AZ 87 near Mt. Ord. Lots of cops out. Traffic backed up 50 cars at the casino light, heading into Payson for the holiday weekend "getaway". :roll:


    Pine 2 Strawberry Video:

    99.9% of the flowers were these small yellow things.
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Strawberry Sampler
    Joe put together a winner here. :y:

    Starting from the Strawberry TH located just north of Pine, we crossed Rt87 and made our way for Strawberry Canyon. This was a big unknown, but what a total gem it turned out to be. I found a couple of tree stands in the area and Joe decided to climb one to pose. As he was up there, a herd of 20+ Elk ran past us, just 100 yards out. We could hear them bugling up canyon from us for awhile.

    We took our time and enjoyed the sweet canyon views :next: ... 5Co8

    At the second major branch in the canyon, we took the right fork. The canyon started getting a lot more choked with debris. We went up and around one 20' slot and finally made the call to try to make up some time by getting out of the canyon. It was a steep climb out and we had to dodge much Manzanita, but once we hit Coconino County, the traveling became much easier.

    We hit up a couple of forest roads making our way over to the Rock Wall #608 (aka BC Trail). Been a few years since we'd been on this one, with the gang that helped name the trail. Kyle the Heartless, Stealers Wheel, Bright Lights Lyding, Joe Joe the Wonder Chimp, and yours truly. Mare Czinar, who writes a hiking column for the AZ Republic, hiked this trail April 22, 2015, and referred to it as the Rock Wall Trail. So I guess the name is now official!

    Next it was back over Rt 87 to hop on the Pine-Strawberry Trail. This trail is being primped for the upcoming "Fire on the Rim" MTB race. There were a few out making practice runs. It got a little warm on this section, but there were storms a brewin' all around us. We got lucky enough to be under pretty much full cloud cover the the remainder of the hike and w/o any rain

    A bit of a road walk/climb to get around the southwest of Strawberry Mountain, we followed what appeared to be old and faded logging roads almost all the way to the non-existent "Peak". (Make sure to get the proper permissions from the property owners before attempting to climb the mountain from this side). The views to the East from on top of Strawberry Mountain towards Pine were pretty darn nice :next: ... mBiA

    All that was left was the steep scramble Down/Up/Down back to the truck.

    Lightning Storm over Apache Junction on the way home. :next: ... pNtI
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Strawberry Canyon & Mountain Loop
    Strawberry Canyon
    The first 2.5 miles was the highlight of the day. Bruce spotted a hunter tree stand after a mile. I climbed it and a herd of about 20 elk passed nearby. We continued on an nearly returned to nature road until it petered out. The canyon got better with each step. A trickle flow of water on occasion. Rock obstacles and cascades made it nicer than anticipated. Turning right into the upper origin it just got nicer. Unfortunately travel became more of a hassle than either of us desired. We took a steep ascent up to a ridge then onto the road. It was a workout but figure we saved 1-2 hours. We had shade until exiting the canyon, the temps picked up quick.

    Rock Wall Trail #608
    Time flies! Five years after a group hike with Jim, SleepyKyle and Chris we returned to the fabled land of mystery. Not the 111 degrees in the Valley but the oven was set to broil so we utilized the umbrellas walking down memory lane.

    Pine Strawberry Trail #15
    A popular trail today for pre-riders of the Fire on the Rim Race coming Sept 12th. Looks like it has received some maintenance over the years too. Shocked this one doesn't see more triplogs. The upper portion is very nice. Less and less shade on the bottom two thirds but nice views and the trail is in great shape.

    Strawberry Mountain
    Get permission before attempting the loop we hiked. Outstanding views overlooking Pine.
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Oak Walnut Strawberry Salad
    I really enjoyed this hike more than I expected. Jim got us up to the Strawberry TH (unmarked, at the 270 mile marker), where we met The Stillernator, aka Stiller, aka Chris, Tough Boots, aka Kyle, and set up the shuttle back to the Pine TH.

    The first bit until you get to the Bradshaw Meadow Watershed Project was a bit bla, but then there was some great terrain and views. Not that tough of a hike but enough to get a workout. Views from Trail #15 (the Strawberry-Pine Trail from what I've been able to find) were pretty darn nice. Blue skies and Big white puffy Fraley's were a welcome site. We took a bit of lunch at the Strawberry TH and then started the journey across Rt 87 to what is now known as Rock Wall Trail 608T. This is an old jeep trail that starts at Rt 87 and cuts off some distance going north to meet Rt 87 once again. Someone put a bunch of work into this route building 20' tall rock retaining walls on the inside corners of the switchbacks in at least 5 different places. I was impressed. But then again I'm easily impressed. This trail had one rocky section that was a bit hard on the feet after a day of hiking, but it didn't last long.

    A great day of hiking with new partners Chris (Stiller) and Kyle (Tough Boots minus the Beard).
    Equally great to see and jab with Jim again and thanks for driving! (Beware of the gas station breakfasts)
    Joe-Joe as always great hiking w/ you.
    Pine-Strawberry Trail #15
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Oak Walnut Strawberry Salad AZ
    Okay, I'll go with the generic salad on this one. We did a shuttle starting at the Pine TH and took the Oak Creek Trail to Hardscrabble Road. We then hit trail #15 up to the Strawberry TH and then cut down the 87 to what Jim has figured out to be FR608T (an old jeep road). I had a great time meeting some of the HAZ crew.

    Trail #15 turned out to be a nice little gem of a trail with great views over pine and the few people we saw on it were worth having conversation (or at least making jokes) about. I think most of us expected a flat, barren stretch of trail due to the seemingly lack of use, but we were pleasantly surprised.

    FR608T was the real pumpkin of the day for me but worth getting up. The first stretch is rocky and steep as all get out and my lungs tried to tell me "no." Letting the crew go on with out me, I took a nice rest on a rock for 20 minutes and continued up. Pretty soon the road turns less rocky and into a more comfortable climb taking you into pine areas with a few really amazing views. This road is getting a new name by the crew and I personally vote for Jim's first idea but I don't think that one will win out.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Fountain Hills take SR 87 to Payson. Continue north on SR 87 past the town of Pine. The trailhead is approximately 1/4 mile past mile marker 270 just before entering Strawberry on the south (left) side of the highway.
    page created by JimmyLyding on Jul 26 2010 11:42 pm
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