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

Sawmill Trail #39, AZ

Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
no permit
182 11 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,587 feet
Elevation Gain 2,959 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,031 feet
Avg Time One Way 5-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.7
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
48  2021-10-09
Blue Bear Rose
51  2016-05-27
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue Range
27  2016-05-27
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue Range
19  2016-05-14
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue Range
15  2016-05-14
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue Range
6  2016-05-14 slowandsteady
24  2015-07-17
Bear Mtn Loop - Blue Range
35  2014-07-17
Primitive Blue Range East
Page 1,  2
Author FOTG
author avatar Guides 29
Routes 328
Photos 9,618
Trips 914 map ( 9,651 miles )
Age 39 Male Gender
Location AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Summer
Sun  5:26am - 7:20pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2020 Cow Canyon Fire34.4k
🔥 2011 Wallow Fire29.45
🔥 2008 Bear Mountain Fire9.3 mi*
🔥 1979 Horse Fire24.6 mi*
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

"I came, I saw, I hiked."

Likely In-Season!
Sawmill trail is a starting point for reaching several less-traveled Primitive Blue Range East trails culminating at the summit of Bear Mountain. The trail is generally easy to follow with the appearance of trail construction near the bottom. However, as you approach Telephone Ridge Trail, it becomes a little eroded and overgrown in spots. A moderate trail by P.B.R. standards, however, the upper sections may be a little overwhelming for beginners, and some may find the route along Telephone Ridge a little overgrown for their liking. The trail serves as an ideal starting point for the 3000-foot climb to the summit of Bear Mountain or entry into the scenic Largo Canyon, which features a section of trail from Scott Warren's 100 Hikes in Arizona. The more ambitious could use Sawmill Trail as a starting point for longer treks into New Mexico and the Apache and Gila Wilderness areas.

The trailhead is well signed and indicates the beginning of the trail. There is an established area for parking with a kiosk and register for signing in. A quick glance at the sign-in sheet indicated that most traffic on this trail comes almost exclusively from hunters. After a quick series of switchback under a nice stand of trees, the trail is generally devoid of shade. However, soon you will be paralleling a small drainage under the canopy of some larger trees. Keep in mind there are probably very few times when water will be available along this trail. You will climb through a nice forested pine area, but the section of the trail to Telephone Ridge is a little underwhelming. There are some nice stands of Ponderosa along this portion of the trail and a few quaint areas with enough redeeming qualities to enjoy a quick break. However, the more scenic sections of this trail are at the higher elevations, the more elevation one gains, the better the views get. Be sure to take a minute and check your six and take in some of the views to the west as you make the final ascent up Telephone Ridge.

One should clearly be able to make out the very distinct Steeple Mesa, the highest point in the Blue Range, Blue Peak, and its distinct neighbor, Indian Peak. The top sections of the trail may serve as a challenge for some, as the trail gets a little steeper, with some erosion in spots and a few overgrown sections. However, the rough sections do not last long, and you will soon reach Telephone Ridge and the signed junction indicating the distance to the Blue River and Bear Mountain. The route along Telephone Ridge is pretty straightforward; however, the trail is a little overgrown.

From Telephone Ridge your nice views will switch primarily to the east and into New Mexico. After navigating the ridgeline, one has a relatively easy climb to the summit from the intersection of WS Lake Trail #54. The views from Bear Mountain are minimal due to the height of the trees. However, there is enough interesting stuff at the summit to make it a worthy destination. The more adventurous may want to climb the fire tower to increase their viewing pleasure. If looking for some extra miles or in desperate need of water, there is the option of a side trip to Bear Spring, the only reliable water source in the area according to the Forest Service. But remember, it’s a one-way trip, and it will add an additional four-plus miles to your day, and approximately 1500 more feet in elevation gained.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2015-07-14 FOTG

    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take AZ-87 N, Hwy 260 E, US-60 E, and then US-191 S to Greenlee County. You will then take Red Hills Road to Blue River Road (13.9 miles) and the location of the trailhead directly off the road.
    page created by joebartels on Jul 14 2015 8:43 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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