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Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal, AZ

no permit
121 14 2
Guide 14 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.1 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,962 feet
Elevation Gain -210 feet
Accumulated Gain 630 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2015-03-21 hikerdw
13  2014-08-17
Ballantine to Boulder Mtn Swing and a Miss
10  2014-01-01
Ballantine Cabin & Corral
7  2013-03-17 JuanJaimeiii
30  2012-03-27 CannondaleKid
8  2012-02-16 JuanJaimeiii
20  2008-06-08 joebartels
11  2008-06-08 DarthStiller
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,262 map ( 21,474 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:21pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
an old road
by joebartels

Overview: An old pipeline road that goes to Ballantine Cabin. Accessing the area is more difficult than hiking. Page data listed is for the actual section of trail from the end of FR1704 to Ballantine Cabin. A more logical means for stock 4x4 is to hike the last 1.5mi of road. There is a backup space just before some gnarly tight-n-steep switchbacks in the road at 33.8146 -111.455. This is also the start/end of Boulder Bob's Cabin Trail.

Road Hike: If you are hiking the final 1.5mi of road it's pretty straight forward. One thing to note is when the road stops ascending and comes to a fork. You want to continue right. A left will take you to a coral and Boulder Mountain Spring is near. I'm not sure but presume this is the most dependable spring in the area as it appears the pipeline was put in place to access it.

Hike: The actual trailhead near Mud Springs isn't noticeable in any way other than the road going up turns beyond gnarly. As of this writing an approximately ten year old black tube weaves in and out of the road. I assume it was metal back in the mid 1900's. The entire hike is an old road. From Mud Springs on it appears to be to rough for anything but ATV'ers. We noticed fairly fresh tracks throughout so it appears to get used.

The road contours the mountain over to Ballantine Cabin. It dips and ascends between each ravine making for a slight roller coaster of a hike. It's nothing strenuous. The footing gets a little loose (borderline dangerous) as it's pea sized gravel. Several interesting rock formations are passed along the route. Views looking out and down are pretty nice. Especially Black Mesa across SR87 (Beeline Highway) in the distance.

Although the hike goes up and down the pipeline once worked. Boulder Mtn Spring is just above 4,300ft and Ballantine Cabin is at 3,750ft. A couple steel troughs are passed on route to the cabin.

Summary: This hike was better than anticipated. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to return.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-06-09 joebartels

    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
    Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    To cover some new ground we hiked FR1704 and the Pipeline Trail to the Ballantine Cabin/Corral as an out and back. Water was flowing everywhere along the hike, and the ground was very damp, which made the desert pop, if you know what I mean; very, very, green. The lower portion of FR1704 was very rocky with grapefruit sized rocks which was a little rough on the feet but not to bad. Once you make the sharp right turn the road/trail gets a lot better. We saw three white-tail deer right along the road but they scampered off before I could get the camera out. Fantastic spring day in this great state of ours.

    My route I posted is one-way only starting just past the cabin where we had lunch back to the parking area off HWY87.

    PS: I tip my hat to anyone who has driven up FR1704. If you made it past the stock 4x4 TH even more kudos :app:
    Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Almost all the drama for the day happened on the drive along FR1704 so the Pipeline hike limited itself to me scaring up two large whitetail bucks on the off-trail return portion of our hike.

    I had expected a great shot of the bigger buck because I already panned the camera and focused ahead of it where the smaller buck had passed, only to have it twist at the last moment and go on the other side of a tree. All this while Tracey was whining about foxtails in her socks and looking for a place to sit down, so she never got to see them. :-({|=

    Still, I felt bad for her because she really wanted to see them. :sorrry:
    The larger one appeared to have five points on each antler. :worthy:

    We did spend some time at the Ballantine cabin checking out all the amenities... kind of interesting.

    I posted some to HAZ, the full set of photos can be viewed here:
    Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    The road in is not a road at all. It's a trail wide enough for a 4wd vehicle. If your running stock this is could be the limit. The hiking was just the opposite. The old road/trail is steep in sections but not for long so you can move at a decent pace. The views of the rock piles and mountains are good. There was a breeze every now and then that was cool. The blacktail rattle snake was interesting but it didn't wait around long. I had extra energy so I ventured off trail to play in the rocks a few times. Thanks to Chris for driving and Joe for finding the rattler.
    Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This hike was more of an adventure on the ride in than the hike itself. FR1704 fades away to more of an impassable road about 1.8 miles before any maps say that the trail actually begins. Once you get to the trail, it seems no different than the "road" from where we parked. We took the road then the trail out to Ballantine Cabin and made our way back. My GPS said 9 miles exactly, and the AEG seems to be about 2800', give or take. Nice views of the Mazatzals and boulders. Naturally, since I decided not to wear my snake gaiters, we ran into a rattlesnake. Joe at first thought it was a Mohave and was ready to run 4.3 miles back to the car, but then he saw that it was a Blacktail.

    FR1704 (i.e., No Forest Road for Old Men) is definitely a challenge. My Xterra got pushed pretty much to its limits. I decided to park it after I made it over a particularly bad set of rocks and could smell what I thought was probably transmission fluid, my clutch, or both. It turned out to be the correct decision because the road after where we parked got more and more gnarly. Hiking uphill to the "trailhead" was enough of a challenge, and it probably took the same amount of time as if we would have driven it. Once we got back, I checked under my vehicle and the front skid plate got mangled pretty good.

    I reset my GPS mileage before we started hiking but didnt erase the track, so the track I uploaded here includes all of FR1704. If you zoom in on it you can see where we overlap on our hike back to the car. Where the overlapping tracks end is the extent of our hike. The mileage on this track shows the hike to be 8.5 miles, but I'll go with the 9 mile reading the GPS gave me.
    Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This turned out to be a little bit more of an adventure than anticipated. The drive in is rocky. We stopped 1.5mi from the trailhead at the logical spot for stock 4x4 access. Grasshopper and topohiker could have made it but it's almost faster to hike than drive. It's similar to FS192B by Millsite Canyon were you'd slide back on pea sized gravel but not as narrow or scarry as FS192B.

    The hike is a little bit of a roller coaster. Not too bad. The initial push was simply getting to the trailhead. The highlight IMO is the views midway looking down through the rolling hills.

    Stiller bouncing along
    Longer ride clip [ youtube video ]

    Looking at topo by chance we parked right where another trail takes off to "Boulder Bob's Cabin" heading north, so there's reason to return ;)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To Pipeline Trailhead
    From Scottsdale follow Shea Blvd East to its terminus at SR87. Turn Left (North) onto SR87. Follow SR87(this is the Beeline) 23.8mi to the turnoff for FR1704. The turnoff is not signed. It's 2.4mi past the Ballantine Trailhead. There is a crossover if you are coming from Payson.

    The road turns dirt and goes over Sycamore Creek by means of a concrete passover bridge that would be impassible if the creek was flowing in volume. You're immediately presented with a "T" in the road. Go left and continue on the most used road which soon gets rocky and ascends. It's about 2.9mi (from SR87) to the stock 4x4 option at "Boulder Bob's Cabin Trail" trailhead at (33.8146, -111.455) which is unsigned. It's another 1.5mi to the Pipeline Trailhead at (33.80734, -111.44736). I would not recommend this road in a stock 4x4, however I'm sure it's been done.
    page created by joebartels on May 26 2008 11:03 pm
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