All about interesting Rock Formations
Overview: 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.
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.
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.