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Ballantine Cabin Loop, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,754 feet
Elevation Gain 1,100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.8
Interest Historic & Seasonal Creek
Post the 1st photoset!
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Sun  7:18am - 5:17pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Ballantine Trail #283
Ballantine Trail #283
1.8 mi away
10.0 mi
3,484 ft
Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
Pipeline Trail - Mazatzal
2.3 mi away
2.9 mi
630 ft
Ballantine to Boulder Flat
Ballantine to Boulder Flat
2.7 mi away
6.5 mi
1,380 ft
Pine Creek Loop #280
Pine Creek Loop #280
2.7 mi away
2.5 mi
498 ft
Ballantine Cabin & Corral
Ballantine Cabin & Corral
2.8 mi away
11.0 mi
2,600 ft
Boulder Bob's Cabin Trail
2.8 mi away
6.0 mi
800 ft
Pine Connect Trail #80 - Tonto NF
3.2 mi away
0.2 mi
154 ft
Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
Ballantine Connector Trail to FR143
3.6 mi away
9.5 mi
2,530 ft
Peak 6260 - Mazatzal Mountains
Peak 6260 - Mazatzal Mountains
3.8 mi away
1.0 mi
236 ft
Pine Mountain via Cline TH
Pine Mountain via Cline TH
4.2 mi away
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created by bicycle motocross
by mt98dew

Overview
This trail starts from the Ballantine Cabin and has a lasso shape, meaning you'll end up where you start. To reach the start of this trail it is about 4.1 mile hike from the Ballantine TH. Based on trail conditions I believe this trail was created and "maintained" by BMX bikes. That being said it is still a very navigable trail and provides an excellent opportunity to get deeper into the Matazal wilderness without having to trek "through it."

History
The trail itself has no history, but the cabin from which it originates should have some history... I just don't know what that may be. I encourage anyone with that knowledge to add onto to this description. There are a couple of corrals in the vicinity and an old road that leads to the cabin, so this was a residence for someone at some point.


Hike
As I said the hike starts from the Ballantine Cabin which is about 4.1 miles from the Ballantine TH. Just to the east of the cabin there is an obvious ungated entrance to the enclosure with a road heading off to the north. At this entrance there is also a trail heading off to the east. This is the beginning of the Ballantine Loop Trail. The trail heads in an eastward direction, crossing a couple of dry washes gradually gaining altitude in short spurts. At 0.7 miles the trail passes an old cement water trough. At this point the trail starts to curve in an east northeast direction. At about 1.1 miles the trail splits to form a lasso. You can go either direction and you'll end up back at this point. Going in a counterclockwise direction (south) you'll immediately do a short steep climb, involving a couple of switchbacks. During this climb the trail is noticeably eroded, becoming channel-like. This is in large part because of the BMX bikes that have used this trail in the past. This unfortunately is a noted feature for much of this trail where elevation change is occurring. (The flatter section are not bad at all). After this initial climb you'll be faced with a series of undulating hills as the trail turns from the south to the east and eventually to the north. During the initial part of this arc, I kept thinking that this trail might eventually tie into the Ballantine Trail. Alas, as the trail gradually arced to the north I realized that this was not to be. At around 4.5 miles (this is guesstimate, as I did not note this on my Garmin) there is a steep decline that is badly eroded. The section that is truly bad is only 20 yards in total and I imagine that it will be rerouted as bikers create easier egresses. At the base of this hill there is a wash, that I suspect is dry most of the year, but at the time of this description was flowing nicely with water. The trail actually turn west and heads up the wash. This involved some berm walking and getting my feet a little wet. However, the trail quickly emerges from the wash and continues primarily in a northward direction, but it does start its curve to the west.

From this point on, the trail still does some up and downs, but there are more downs and ups. At this point, you are about 6 miles into the hike and the views are sweet! The views to the west and north are wide open and you realize how much you have climbed in the last 6 miles. And to the east you also seem to be tantalizingly close to Boulder Mountain Peak, (though I imagine there are probably several false summits between you and the true peak). As the trail descends it starts to turn south where it will reconnect to where the loop started. Just prior to reconnecting there will be a stream crossing. This was flowing quite nicely in mid April and seemed an ideal spot to break and enjoy the solitude. From here it is a little over a 1 mile trek back the way you came to the Ballantine Cabin.

Water Sources
There are no faculties anywhere along this trail and streams are most likely seasonal. Come prepared.

mt98dew
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Ballantine Trailhead
    From Scottsdale follow Shea Blvd East to its terminus at SR87. Turn Left (North) onto SR87. Follow SR87(this is the Beeline) about 9.5 miles past the Four Peaks turnoff. The Ballantine turnoff is easy to find just past Mile Post 210. The trailhead is easy to spot from the parking loop.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 48.1 mi - about 55 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 146 mi - about 2 hours 15 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 153 mi - about 2 hours 46 mins
    page created by mt98dew on Apr 30 2017 8:01 pm
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