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Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143, AZ

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Guide 19 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 9.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,310 feet
Elevation Gain 1,436 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,530 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 22.15
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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12  2019-05-11
Pine Mountain Loop
22  2019-05-11
Pine Mountain Loop
12  2018-04-06
Pine Mountain via Ballantine
5  2017-04-02
Ballantine to Boulder Flat
34  2016-12-11
FR 143 to Ballantine Trail
9  2015-05-16
Boulders Loop
9  2015-03-21
Great Western Trail
24  2014-01-01
Boulder Mtn via Ballantine TH
Page 1,  2
Author Grasshopper
author avatar Guides 42
Routes 458
Photos 8,104
Trips 508 map ( 5,318 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
All about interesting Rock Formations
by Grasshopper

3.6mi in from the Ballantine Trail #283 TH off Hwy 87 is an unmarked, well defined spur-connector trail heading to the right (southwest) and connecting 4.8 miles later with FR143 (the Four Peaks Road). This mystery trail, first documented by GPSjoe now provides some new and interesting hiking options for hiking via the Hwy 87 TH and/or hiking this, the Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143. With these two TH options, one can plan a shuttle hike utilizing the Ballantine Trail #283 and this hike, do an in and out hike or start/end here for another option in doing the Ballantine Cabin & Corral Hike.

This description details only the option for an "in and out lasso loop hike" starting & ending at the TH Start location on FR143 (The Four Peaks Road). Please see notes below under Driving Directions for pertinent information regarding Parking location and this TH Start location.

After parking and then hiking the additional 100 feet up hill on FR143 (crossing over to the left side of the road to TH Start location N33 43.322 W111 27.184), you hopefully will have either downloaded the GPS Route or entered into your GPS unit key trail intersection waypoint N33 43.445 W111 27.184; This key waypoint (cairned trail intersection) is .30mi cross-country-downhill & northwest from where you are now standing. Once you reach this cairned trail intersection, you will note three different spur trail options taking off from this cairned intersection. You will take the spur connector that heads in a northerly direction. Note
on your return hike out, you may chose as I did, to take the well defined spur connector trail that heads in an easterly direction for .30mi to end a little further uphill from your parking location on FR143 (N33 43.437 W111 27.002).

From this above and described cairned 3-way trail intersection, continue hiking north on this unmarked and mostly not cairned but well defined Ballantine Connector Trail for 4.8mi to end at the Ballantine Trail #283 intersection (N33 46.200 W111 27.074) just about 50 yards south of the intersection for the turnoff to the Ballantine Cabin & Corral hike. This 4.8ml one way hike is a continuation of the scenic boulder/rock formation landscape of the Ballantine Trail #283 hike. This desert vegetation is still recovering from a major fire some years ago in this area and thus allows for near and distant views of most interesting rock formations all around you. On this hike there is a significant amount of up and down hill with some rutted trail washouts. My only complaint is not that this trail is excessively rocky, but because it has a rather hard ground base with small pebble-type/ball bearing-type rocks which make it very easy to slip on while hiking up and down all the various hills. Hiking poles and sturdy hiking shoes with good traction are recommended. This trail segment also passes at least four(4) seasonal water crossings. The largest of which is .8mi from the intersection of the Ballantine Trail #283 at the Rock Creek intersection (here is a really nice spot for a snack or lunch break during seasonal water flow with small cascading waterfalls over slick rock areas and during heavy seasonal flow- could be an interesting spot to cross without getting wet). The highpoint on this 4.8mi segment is only 3667ft elevation with little to no shading protection and therefore the recommended hiking period for this area is late Autumn to early Spring.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2009-03-01 Grasshopper
    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
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Boulders Loop
    Put together a loop hike starting from Ballantine TH; Ballantine Trail To Boulder Flat :next: Ballantine Connector Trail :next: Unnamed Trail :next: FR11 :next: Off-trail back to the Trail Head. Turned out to be a really nice loop and other than the first 15 minutes where we started the hike in rain, it was a dry hike. The Connector trail and unnamed trail are booth in good condition, the only downside to these trails is the deep ruts which made it difficult at times to get a good hiking stride going. The short off-trail was very easy as we stayed high on a ridge that had good clearing. Lot's of water running after last nights storm.
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Great Western Trail
    My goal was to explore the Cottonwood basin/find the Sandstone spring and see if I could connect to the Log Corral trail. I started out at the Mesquite Wash exit off the bee-line. The 1st three Sycamore creek crossings were deeper than usual but cross-able. The fourth crossing was about 2 feet deep and 100 feet wide. I didn't have my water shoes, so improvised Plan B.

    I've always wondered about the Great West Trail across the beeline from the Mesquite wash, so I crossed under the overpass and made my way to FR11. I took FR11 to the north where it ended at the Dos S Ranch. The ranch is private property and was recently for sale. I headed back on FR11 to the Four Peaks road and went up to the Ballantine Connector trail.

    It was a fun to explore in a new area.
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Snow and water!

    Fan and I did the Ballintine loop.

    Snow appeared at 3,000 feet.
    Snow covered the trail at 4,000 feet. The creek crossing past the corral wasn't too bad but the cat claw was. It was almost as bad as the Half Moon trail.
    At 5,000 feet the snow obscured the trail and most of the cairns. We had route finding issues getting to the boulder flats. We found a corral by the boulder flats by accident.

    Once we crossed the creek to Pine Mountain, the snow deepened to the point where trail was hidden. We relied on my GPS tracks and memory to stay on the trail (or close to it). We would uncover a cairn every so often. The snow was about a foot deep and every footstep was a post hole. By now I had snow in my boots and around my ankles! The deepest snow was on the climb up Pine Mountain, it went to my knees. Once on top, the sun warmed us up and the snow was melting.

    The descent down to the Cline TH was pretty wet. The creek had a good flow of water and the snow was almost all gone. Our boots were soaked when we reached the Cline TH. I had a spare pair of socks in my 30 pound backpack. I wished I could have fit a spare pair of dry boots in the pack as well :sl: !
    We took a much needed lunch/rest break at the Cline TH. By now it was 4PM and we were only half way done with the loop!

    FR143 was dry and warm. There were a couple of water crossings on the road. We found the Ballintine Connector trail without any issue. As night fell, the full moon provided us with ample light to make it to the Ballintine trail. There were numerous water crossings on the connector trail. Some were pretty deep. We lost count how many water crossings we had for the day.

    We were both exhausted by the time we hit the Jeep. The snow and the route finding took its toll on us, plus having wet boots for hours didn't help.
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Ballantine Pine Mountain Loop
    We needed to take advantage of probably the Valley's last cool day for quite some time. I threw Joe in the the planning mode, and in 5 minutes he lopped some stuff together and we had a loop..

    The Good :y:
    Perfect weather
    The unknown Ballantine Connector trail
    The Boulder formations
    Long Range views
    Pine Trees
    Rock Tank
    The Cabin
    Arizona Grape
    Views from Pine Saddle

    The Bad :tt:
    The Ballantine Trail is disappearing in elevations above the Corral on the trail
    Didn't have the energy or blood needed to summit Pine Mountain. It was only a 1/2 mile away ](*,)
    Long pants were in my truck :whistle:
    The Corral (Topo) close to Rock Tank does not exist anymore. Not that we could find.

    The Ugly :o
    Live Oak
    Poison Ivy
    Blood Loss.
    Ugly thick snot luggies on manzanita

    In spite of all the Negative items above, I enjoyed the heck out of this hike. Long pants and shirt would have made this more enjoyable. My Bad. Thanks for throwing this one together Joe Joe
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
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    Pine Mountain Loop
    Looked for a hike close to the valley with a rare cool day in the forecast. The Ballantine Connector has intrigued me for some time so today was the day. I threw together a quick loop on Route MGR continuing up #283 then an off-trail return. I did Pine Mtn back in 2006 and told Bruce it's a barren moonscape, easy travel... sucker

    We started off on the unbelievably well traveled connector. A mile in Bruce noticed we were no where near our track. After some bickering(this never happens) we reluctantly headed back to square one.

    Found our mistake missing a turn not even a quarter mile in. Luckily this was pretty spectacular terrain and the weather was borderline stormy and cool. The path we were on heads to the Rock Creek. The correct connector is the same cool terrain. The trails are well traveled motorbike trails. No switchbacks and rutted deep in spots. Personally I found the views outstanding.

    Met up with the 283 after more ups and downs than anticipated ( I spent five minutes max scoping out this hike, that's just how I roll these days ). Bruce wanted to check out the cabin and I wanted sleep so off he went. 2 hours would have been grand but 40 minutes was refreshing. Another hiker stumbled in the yonder and Bruce returned at the same time. This guy hikes the area often and offered up some good info that was spot on.

    When we mentioned Pine Mtn he looked at us wide eyed then showed us how we'd be wading through cats claw. Just before leaving home I "almost" picked up my hiking pants. Said to myself... thirty miles from Phoenix, it practically June, there's no room in the pack and made... a poor decision

    The gentleman described a pyramid before the corral. Check. A dog house in the corral, check. A wonderful shade tree to relax under... no thanks there were less cow patties on the farm. Cool area and the trail passes near so check it out. Noted a Cottonwood in the creek too.

    That cats claw warning was panning out and Bruce was donating blood on the lead. When it looked clear I took over and took credit for it being better. Spotted poison ivy and wild grape in one area. Must be a slow seep as it was healthy and seemed really out of place in the desert terrain.

    The nasty foliage picked back up. It probably wouldn't be too bad in pants but it was torture in shorts. We lunched within 225 feet of Rock Tank. Bruce couldn't find it and I was half way through with my lunch. Since I finished first I went to take a look. Just a hop and a skip away. The guy had mentioned he's never seen it dry even in the summer. Once again he was correct. 4 foot deep 1-3 foot wide pools in the creek bed were crystal clear and even trickling over. Stunning views to boot.

    Soon the rare un-burned forest picks up. This slice of heaven went on for over a mile. We passed up some of the best campsites I have laid eyes on so close to Phoenix. Amazingly not a sole on this holiday weekend.

    The plan was to tackle Pine Mtn and ride some ridges down off trail. We were just too pooped to scoot. In addition what I remembered to be a moonscape was a tad more lush now. 2 miles down to the road and road walk back to the makeshift trailhead was enough for me. I was just exhausted.

    Doubt I'll be back here anytime soon. On the same token I enjoyed parts of it very much.
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Ballantine Loop
    I finally figured out how to the Ballintine end to end without shuttle or climbing Pine MNT twice. I looped it.

    I started out on the Ballintine TH and headed to the Ballintine cabin intersection.

    I took the unnamed/unsigned trail that heads to the south. The trail is very easy to follow. It's a motor-cross trail that goes over hills and through creek beds.

    I came across 5 guys on motorcycles. They told me that they started the motor-cross trail years ago. The trail goes to the Four Peaks Road. About a 1/4 mile from the Four Peaks road is another motor-cross trail that takes you the Bee-Line. I checked it out for a bit. I think it takes you to the Mesquite wash / exit. I'll verify this on another hike.

    I exited from the motor-cross trail unto the Four Peaks road. If you're on the Four Peaks road, it would be next to impossible to spot it without stopping at this exact point and looking down.

    I took the Four Peaks road to the Cline TH. Some idiot setup a TV on a stump for target practice and left casings and targets all around. [-X :gun:

    I headed up Pine MNT. Starting at 5,200, there was little patches of snow in the shade.
    On the saddle the snow was about 3 inches deep. It made the route finding challenging. The snow was about 4 ~ 5 inches deep on the north side of Pine MNT. I was almost sledding down some sections of the trail. It seemed as I dropped elevation, the snow got deeper.

    The creek crossing surprised me with the pools of ice. The pools of waters were frozen SOLID! I threw a big rock and it bounced on the ice. I was able to walk across the ice.

    Another surprise was with the last creek crossing where you leave Pine MNT. The creek was line for snow / no snow. As soon as you cross the creek, the snow is gone and the Manzanita appears.

    The next 3 miles of the trail is being taken back by nature. The overgrowth is swallowing up the trail.

    I made a side trip to the Ballintine Cabin and went down the pipeline trail for a bit.

    This was a fun loop. The catsclaw was tiresome after a while.
    Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
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    My thanks to HAZ-GPSjoe for first scouting and documenting this mystery trail on 1/14-15/09.

    While hiking the popular Ballantine to Boulder Flat and Ballantine to Cabin & Corral hikes many of us have passed this connector trail heading off the Ballantine TR#283 to the right(southwest), just past Boulder Flat 3.6 miles in. Joe determined on 1/14 that this well defined trail actually connects to FR143(The Four Peaks Rd) 4.8mls south of this Ballantine TR intersection.

    I discussed with Joe my interest in wanting to personally hike this trail segment to give more visibility of this trail on HAZ via issuing a new hike description. This now understood trail segment really does open up some new, interesting TH and hiking options for day trips in this area between Hwy 87 and FR143: You can now hike via the Ballantine Hwy 87 TH and/or hiking this, the Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143. With these two TH options, one can also plan a shuttle hike utilizing the Ballantine Trail #283 TH and this hike, do an in and out hike or start/end here for another option in doing the Ballantine Cabin & Corral Hike.

    With Joe's previous detailed trip log, key trail/TH way points & directions for this new connector trail, I set out this Saturday to refine all the trail and TH details with my GPS & camera to complete a new HAZ hike description and I had a lot of fun in the process. I have spent quite a bit of time documenting via a GPS Hiking Route & GPS Driving Route as well as a detailed pic set and hike description with all "key" waypoints and landmarks noted.

    During our cooler months, I think you will also enjoy hiking this newly documented trail segment!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From the Phoenix area: Take the Beeline Hwy 87 for approx 12.5 north of Shea Blvd intersection to Four Peaks Road- FR143; Turn Right on FR143 (at waypoint N33 40.684 W11 30.150) and continue for 7.5mls to a large turnout on Right side of FR143 and PARK HERE (at waypoint N33 43.312 W111 27.022); Download my posted "GPS Driving Route" and see my posted 2/28/09 "Pic Set" for additional details and location of "off trail(.3ml)" TH Start (From the parking location: approx 100ft further up FR143 (on left side of road at waypoint N33 43.322 W111 27.056);
    page created by Grasshopper on Mar 01 2009 5:36 pm
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