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Flat Top, AZ

no permit
29 31 0
Guide 31 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Eagar S
2 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,320 feet
Elevation Gain 847 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.24
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2013-09-08 azbackpackr
8  2013-06-04
Robinson Hollow Loop
5  2013-04-13 azbackpackr
5  2012-12-07 azbackpackr
3  2010-01-09
Round Mountain - Eagar
5  2009-08-26 azbackpackr
5  2009-08-02 azbackpackr
Author azbackpackr
author avatar Guides 26
Routes 365
Photos 4,732
Trips 720 map ( 5,214 miles )
Age 66 Female Gender
Location Flag-summer-Needles-winter
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  6:04am - 6:16pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
The Alp of Eagar
by azbackpackr

Likely In-Season!
Flat Top Mountain dominates the skyline behind the little town of Eagar, Arizona. This is not to say that it is a great Alp of a peak, scalable only by experienced mountaineers, using ropes and pitons. No, it's just a flat mesa, rising about 1,000 feet higher than Round Valley, covered with pinon and juniper trees. But it's a favorite of locals for a quick workout with a view.

The Forest Service has designated the old road to the top of Flat Top's rim as a non-motorized trail, suitable for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. There is a locked gate at the trailhead with a large sign on it that says "Road Closed". There is a small parking area here as well, by that gate, and right at the corner of 12th St. and Line St., next to the self-storage units!

The Forest Service reworked the old road to make a trail, and added a new trail they call "Robinson Hollow", although on the topo map the area is called "Robertson Hollow". (Typical of the FS to change place names for no reason, though.) These two trails link to the larger Murray Basin Trail System, but are most easily reached via this 12th St. trailhead, and deserve mention as separate hikes. It's about a two-mile trek to reach a fine view, overlooking the towns of Eagar and Springerville and the surrounding mountains and grasslands. This version of the hike takes about an hour and a half, including the rest stop it's about four miles round trip. However, if you are intent on reaching the actual summit of Flat Top you'll have to hike about half a mile across the top of it almost due south. And yes, it's pretty flat up there! There is a jumble of rocks out on the end of a point, and this is where you'll find the hiker's traditional sign-in jar. This peak is on the Arizona Big List of Peaks, a compilation for that sub-class of hikers known somewhat pejoratively as "peakbaggers".

While hiking up the Flat Top Trail you'll notice signs pointing to two side trails. The first one is the aforementioned Robinson Hollow Trail, which begins at the same trailhead. The second side trail, about a mile from the trailhead, goes down to Murray Basin, and also connects with the other end of the Robinson Hollow Trail. You can do a very nice loop hike by taking the Robinson Hollow Trail, at the trailhead, and following it around to a T intersection. At this T, turn left and hike up the switchbacks until you get to a second T intersection.(34.083872 -109.272466) Go left again to hike back to the trailhead, or go right to get to Flat Top. There are helpful wooden signs at these intersections.

The Murray Basin trail system has about fifteen miles of designated non-motorized trails that are popular with local hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. The Flat Top Trail is a part of this system, which was completed about 2004. The Forest Service Springerville District office on South Mountain Avenue in Springerville has a free trail guide booklet. It shows the Murray Basin Trail system but does not mention the 12th St. trailhead.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-08-02 azbackpackr
    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 of 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Flat Top
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    Sure is green now, but it always seems to last only about 5 minutes. Just FYI, wildflower season in the White Mountains happens just about the time people are done with their trips up here. It'll start later in August, and last through September. The grasslands in particular can be spectacular. I didn't see a lot of flowers today--everything is just starting up.
    Flat Top
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    Robinson Hollow Loop
    I hiked this trail this morning to test out my new GPS. The HAZ Powers That Be are helping me with figuring out how to upload tracks, etc.

    I started hiking at 5 a.m.

    The Robinson Hollow Trail was built in 2000 to form a loop with the Flat Top Trail. Access is from the 12th Street Flat Top trailhead.

    I worked with a group a full day in June 2000 as a trail volunteer to help build a few hundred feet of it. It took me half a bottle of ibuprofen to get through that day, and since then I have never once touched a Pulaski or a McLeod! However I have never forgotten which section I helped with! No more trail work for me, thank you. I couldn't stand up straight for a week.

    The trail itself goes about 2.5 miles before it reaches a t-intersection. Go left, you'll hit the Flat Top Trail and can loop back to the car. Go right and you'll get to Murray Basin.

    It was designed and laid out by a mountain biker (a USFS employee) for serious mountain bikers.

    It is generally very dry and brown, until August. It's really pretty for about one month of the year. The rest of the time, it's handy for exercise, if you happen to live 5 minutes from it, which I do.

    On older topo maps it is called Robertson Hollow, but the newer one (My Topo) shows it as Robinson Hollow. Who knows...?
    Flat Top
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    It was 2 degrees in my front yard when I left to go on this hike. That's not a typo. TWO DEGREES. I was supposed to meet my friend at the TH at 7:30 a.m. but he wussed-out! I was fine, but my face felt like it was getting frost-nipped at first. Then the sun started coming up and the temperature rose quite a bit.

    It's very, very dry and we didn't really get any precip from the "storm." I saw a dusting of snow up on the hillsides, and on the north side of Escudilla yesterday, but nothing to write home about.
    Flat Top
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    My first hike up this hill in quite awhile. My triplogs say that the last time was in Dec. last year. I'm pretty sure I've hiked it since then, but forgot to post it.

    It was surprisingly warm although I still wore a fleece shirt and long pants. Not windy, just sunny and balmy.
    Flat Top
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    Hiked up Flat Top the normal way, from behind the sawmill, then walked across to its actual summit, signed both registers, and came down the steep scree slope just below the summit and back to the trail.

    Met an elderly woman with a poodle who had come up from the Murray Basin side. Of course, the Forest Service has not bothered to tell anyone about the 12th St. trailhead in their booklet, even though that is the one everyone uses. She was a bit confused as to how I had gotten there.

    Then there was a young woman hiking with her big yellow lab who was scared because she had seen two young men who seemed like they were on the trail just to do drugs or something. She said they seemed very suspicious. It is getting to be the crowded time of year! I expect if those guys saw all the people hiking here, they will go elsewhere to do their drugs.

    I went back via Robinson Hollow Trail, which I have not yet created as a HAZ hike. So I didn't see the "scary" guys.
    Flat Top
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    I hike this little trail frequently, but this time I had an ulterior motive. The cops had 260 closed because of a problem they were having, so I took binoculars to see if I could see anything. I couldn't see much, just cop cars and cops standing around. Flat Top did have a vantage point, but I was a mile away, at least, so really could not see much.

    What happened was that this well-known meth dealer guy got arrested for assaulting his girlfriend's daughter. When the cops arrived they had thought he had a gun, and one of them had his assault rifle with him. When they realized there was no gun involved in the assault, the cop put the assault rifle IN THE BACK SEAT OF HIS CRUISER. Then they arrested the guy, and they put him IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE CRUISER WITHOUT REMOVING THE ASSAULT RIFLE. Yeah, small town here. The cop in question used to be the dog catcher. He went to school with my daughter. He is dumb as a brick, I am told.

    So the next thing they know, the arrested guy has the gun, and is pointing it at himself. This all happened at 1 a.m. or so. It took 13 hours and the Show Low Swat Team to talk him out of shooting himself or anyone else. The highway was closed the entire time. A lot of taxpayer money wasted because of the dumb cop. I hope they fire him.

    Oh, and the meth dealer? He was out of jail on bond the SAME DAY!! He has served two prison terms and has 134 arrests on his record.

    There is no justice.
    Flat Top
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    This hill is actually on the Arizona Big List of peaks.

    Elev 8044 or 8048 depending upon which map you use. From Flat Top trail head at corner of 12th St. and Line St. behind the old sawmill in Eagar, I followed the Robinson Hollow Loop trail approximately 3/4 mile. Where there is a drainage and small canyon visible to the east, I followed this a short distance and then up the steep side of the mountain to its summit. I returned by hiking north to the Flat Top Trail and back down to the west to the parking area.

    There is a well-hidden peakbagger's register, placed by myself about 9 years ago. I actually know everyone who has signed it: Me, my son, a local doctor, and two dedicated Tucson (SAHC)
    peakbaggers. No one had signed it but me for about 5 years.

    Really good views of Escudilla, Flat Top, Milligan Knoll, Murray Basin, and the rest of the area. You will have the place to yourself, almost without a doubt. Combine with Flat Top summit, Robinson Hollow Loop, and for a longer hike, dip down into Murray Basin and hike over to the 7746 Knoll to make a day of it. I actually started from my house and walked to the trailhead to get some miles in. I didn't count that in the stats.
    Flat Top
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    I added in the Robinson Hollow loop section--it adds a little distance to the hike.

    I could see snow on Green's Peak and Pole Knoll from this hike, but could see none on Escudilla. Baldy isn't visible from this hike. Temp in low 40s, I think. Sunny and dry.

    Ok, so I goofed awhile back and bought these big heavy Vasque Wasatch waffle stompers, online. When I wear them I feel like it's 1975 all over again! But y'know, they are good for training hikes, they are SOOO very heavy. Weight-bearing exercise and all that good stuff! For whatever reason, I did keep them instead of sending them back. They are good for snow hikes and will work well with my snowshoes, too. They do kind of slow me down a little but they need breaking in, so I wore them today. I will probably have them for 10 or 20 years and can donate them to the TE-WA MUSEUM someday...

    I need a new pair of lightweight boots, the ones I have are just about dead.
    Flat Top
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    I hike this all the time, but I don't always post it. Today was a little different due to the storm front coming in. I was a couple minutes off my best time. Guess I'll have to bike less and hike more... Or maybe it was because I had my old dog with me. Time and mileage is one-way. On the way down I sought off-trail options. More interesting that way.
    Flat Top
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    I took my time, went to the actual "summit" and found the two hiker sign-in jars. Not many sign it, but one of the jars was placed by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, Desert Peaks Section. They sure do get around!

    It's about as green as it ever gets on Flat Top right now. The views all around it are great, with Escudilla looming in the distance to the south, Eagar and the vast grasslands to the north and west, plus all the rolling hills and mountains, and craggy rimrock. I saw no one until I started hiking down and ran into a friend of mine, who's a good photographer, hiking up with his tripod over his shoulder. I told him about HAZ, hope he posts here sometime!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix take SR 87 to Payson, SR 260 to Show Low, US 60 to Springerville. In Springerville turn right at the light and go to Eagar. At the stoplight in Eagar continue straight south (you'll be on Main St.) to where it curves around and becomes School Bus Road. Take the first left, onto Water Canyon Road. Again take the first left, just at the end of the old sawmill fence, onto 12th Street. Follow this to where it goes left and becomes Line Street. Right EXACTLY at the corner of 12th and Line you will see a little dirt driveway angling off to the southeast. There is a tiny parking area here, next to the self-storage place. You will see that gate with the big sign on it that says "Road Closed." Park by this gate. Or, park along 12th Street. There is an open entrance gate to the area to accommodate hikers, etc. Follow the trail straight ahead, not along the self-storage fence. You will get to a Y with signs. Flat Top to the left, Robinson Hollow to the right.

    There are two other trailheads for the Murray Basin area. One is at the very end of Saffell Canyon Road, off Water Canyon Road. The other is less than a mile past the rodeo grounds on Hwy 180/191. Watch for the Murray Basin Trail sign on the right hand side of the road. Topo maps for this area are Eagar and Nelson Reservoir.
    page created by azbackpackr on Aug 02 2009 5:34 am
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