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An extended lung buster
This loop begins from on Pine Canyon Trail #26 to East Rim Trail. Then bushwhack to Milk Ranch Point Road to the West Webber Trail. Next, West Webber Trail to Geronimo Trail to the Highline, back to square one.
Start at the Pine Trailhead just south of the city of Pine. We started up the Pine Canyon Trail and followed it to the intersection of the East Rim Trail. Read Pine Canyon Trail #26 for a description of the trail to this point. East Rim Trail's junction is about 4.3-miles into the hike, N34 25.027, W111 26.075 @ 6,157 ft.
East Rim Trail is not an official forest service trail. There is a sign that looks like it was hand made by the girl or boy scouts. There is a girl scouts camp about another mile or so down the Pine Canyon Trail. The sign looks like the other trails signs around the girl scouts camp. Now, this East Rim Trail is a lung buster! In six-tenths of a mile, you climb 1,000 feet! The trail is not 100% well defined, but there are ribbon trail markers in the trees and scrubs. There's a ribbon every 5 of 6 feet (at least!). There're many deadfalls to work around, and the ground is very loose to the point where it feels like scree.
I had to use the deadfall and tree branches to help keep my footing. I would not advise hiking on this trail when it's raining. I would not want to hike down this trail either. There are about three to four false summits. After hitting the first false summit, the trail turns into a scramble on boulders. This section was not challenging. We took our time. One good suggestion is to take your time to locate the ribbons. At times you have to stop and do a 360 to see the next ribbon. Never try to bushwhack where you 'think' the next one should be; you'll probably get into trouble or waste a lot of energy backtracking. After the rock scramble, the trail returns to the dirt and starts to level off a bit. After another false summit or two, you begin to get views of the rim. At the end of the 0.63 miles, another hand made sign states this is the end of East Rim Trail, N34 24.810, W111 25.686 @ 7,224 ft. Another sign points to Jack's Canyon. There was a different set of color ribbons for Jack's Canyon.
Now the bushwhack starts. This was a pretty easy bushwhack. I would suggest downloading my GPS route and following. But if you like to figure things out and don't mind adventures, it's not too hard to figure this out. From the sign, we hiked to the southeast. I hiked the same direction of the rim and tried to work my way to the left slowly. I knew I would eventually cross over the Milk Ranch road. We took the path of least resistance (avoiding the thorn patches and fallen trees). We still had to climb a slight incline for another 1/4 of a mile or so. We got lucky and ran into an old abandoned forest road (waypoint N34 24.593 W111 25.363. We followed this road figuring that all roads in this area must lead back to the Milk Ranch point road. (I also keep a close eye on the GPS to make sure we were going the right direction). This old road led us into forest road 9382L (waypoint N34 24.384 W111 25.278). FR 9382L (which is behind a locked gate) led us right to the Milk Ranch Point Road. Now we just followed this road to the intersection of Milk Ranch road and the West Webber trail(waypoint N34 23.934 W111 24.518). There a sign-less post and the intersection of the road and the trail. Just south of the post is a water tank. If you stand at the post and look east, you should see the official forest service trailhead sign. Take West Webber Trail #228 down to the intersection of the West Webber and the Turkey trails (waypoint N34 24.230 W111 24.101). There is no sign. Make sure you take the trail to the right, which is away from the rim. Now follow the Geronimo trail to the Highline Trail. For this hike, we went to the Geronimo TH for lunch. Take the Highline Trail back to the Pine TH. See the West Webber, Geronimo & Highline Trail guides for more details.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.
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.