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Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop, AZ

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51 19 1
Guide 19 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Loop 22.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,379 feet
Elevation Gain 2,112 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,535 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 11 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 45.18
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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6  2017-07-04 JuanJaimeiii
8  2015-09-05 The_N
9  2015-07-09 joebartels
9  2013-07-21 JuanJaimeiii
19  2011-08-17 te_wa
Author topohiker
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 112
Photos 4,377
Trips 1,731 map ( 27,689 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Jun, Aug, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
An extended lung buster
by topohiker

Likely In-Season!
On this loop you hike the Pine Canyon trail to the East Rim trail. Then bushwhack to the Milk Ranch point road to the West Webber trail. Then take the West Webber trail to Geronimo trail to the Highline, back to the Trail head.

You start at the Pine trail head 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 the Pine Canyon trail write-ups for a description of the trail to this point. The intersection of the East Rim trail is about 4.3 miles into the hike. The waypoint is N34 25.027 W111 26.075 (6,157 alt). The East Rim appears not to 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 girls 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 a 1,000 feet! The trail is not 100% well defined, but there are ribbon trail markers in the trees and scrubs. The trail is very well marked with these ribbons. There's a ribbon every 5 of 6 feet (at least!). There is a lot of dead fall to work around and the ground is very loose to the point were it feels like scree. I had to use the dead fall and tree branches to help keep my footing. I would not advise hiking on this trail when its 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 trails turns into a scramble on boulders. This section was not hard. 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 just try to bushwhack where you 'think' the next one should be. If you 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 start to get views of the rim. At the end of the .63 miles, there is another hand made sign stating this was the end of East Rim trail (waypoint N34 24.810 W111 25.686 (7,224 alt)) and another sign pointing to Jacks Canyon. There was a different set of color ribbons for the 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 to hard to figure this out. From the sign we hiked to the south east. I hiked the same direction of the rim and tried to slowly work my way to the left. 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 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 lead us into forest road 9382L (waypoint N34 24.384 W111 25.278). FR 9382L (which is behind a locked gate) lead us right into 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 trail head sign. Take the West Webber 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 & Hightline Trail writeups 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.

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

2009-09-22 topohiker
    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 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We decided to hike this one counterclockwise after missing the first turn. Oops. The 8 miles on the Highline is probably better hiked in the morning before it gets hot anyway. Hiking commenced before 8 AM and by 8:30 it was getting warm. Throughout the hike any bit of shade was relished. Built up a good sweat on the uphills. Other than that, temps were tolerable.

    We ate a few blackberries by Webber Creek before starting up to the Rim. Most of the ripe ones had already been picked so we didn't stay long. The trek up to the rim was nice. Partially shaded and pretty good trails.

    The top part of the East Rim trail is really cool. Highlight of the trip for me. We hiked down this trail. I think I would prefer to go up. Good and steep.

    The rest of the hike was a bit of a slog for me. My hip was giving me trouble, and it was plenty warm out. JJ had to wait for me a few times.

    Overall an excellent hike. A little warm mid-summer, but an early start would help. Stopped for Mexican food in Payson on the way home. Yum. Thanks for everything John. You rock! :)
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    The classic Ken loop. The hike is from Pine TH on the church girl side, over Milk Ranch Point to the bullet ricocheting boy scout side. Preston/Kingsnake recently noted many new switchbacks on #26. We stumbled upon yet another new set almost immediately. Without signage it's puzzling. Yet you can't get into too much trouble as you merge back repeatedly.

    East Rim Trail is still a cool beast. Knowing what to expect it was over quick. A jungle of Locust greets the sweat drenched hiker upon reaching the rim. Joy. jj loves the blackberries and found some nice patches on Milk Ranch Point, the mesa. West Webber Trail #228 is among my favorites. The forest, tread and views are a divine treat in the summer.

    jj likes to hit up the beginning of Geronimo Trail #240 where it crosses West Webber Creek for the blackberry festival. A bumper crop is underway. Looks at least two weeks to ripe. He found some bonus grapes. Despite being no where near ripe, he ate a handful... bleck

    The Highline is not a trail I enjoy, I'd rather hike back over. We lucked out with nice weather. It was enjoyable with borderline stormy clouds blocking the death star.

    Heading home we scoped out jj's retirement home then he downed a quart of salsa.

    Carried 3.5 quarts water, consumed 2.

    Today's hike was brought to us in part by Wild Bergamot. The largest patch I've seen of mintleaf.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mike and I started out at the Pine TH and did a longer loop this week. We took the Pine trail to the rim. Along the way we surprised by a black rattler hiding in some rocks :scared: . We warned a group of people coming down with a dog about the snake. We took the Gen. Crook and forest roads over to Milk Ranch point and had lunch at the West Weber trail. We saw about 6~8 people with dogs climbing up the West Weber.

    We milled around a bit before heading back on the Highline trail. When the sun dropped, the super moon took over. It was great hiking by moon light until the trees obscured it.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mike and I started the summer hiking season by doing the Pine / East rim / Turkey Spring / Geronimo / Highline loop.

    The Pine and Turkey Springs trails have a bunch of new dead fall on it. Nothing too hard to work around.
    The only people we saw was two guys in jeans with a rifle on the Geronimo trail.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After seeing te-wa's Pine Canyon /Geronimo trip log, I realized that we hadn't hiked this loop this year yet.

    There are a couple of new fallen trees on the Pine Canyon trail. Nothing too hard to navigate around. The East Rim trail was a bit cleaner than the last time we went up it. Some of the fallen trees had been pushed out of the way.
    We had lunch on the top of Milk Ranch point. Then we took Turkey Springs trail down. The Turkey Spring was bone dry. It's been dry this whole summer. We went to the scout camp to fill up on water. Then we went to the Geronimo TH and headed east on the Highline until sky clouded over and the thunder kicked in. On the way back to the Pine TH, the clouds went away and the hot sun came out. It sure was humid. We got Pine TH and spent the last of the daylight going down the Oak Spring trail.

    The weather was all over the place, it was hot, then cool, then hot, but always humid.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Im giving this loop high marks. It's rugged, solitary, and changes personality about 5 times. Granted I hiked this loop on a Tues/Weds, but I only saw 2 hikers near the Pine TH and I'm guessing that the only ppl who have done this loop as described are likely Topohiker and a couple others. I saw no footprints, no tire marks, no litter save for a coors light can..

    Topohiker's description was pretty close. I'll only add that when ascending the E. Rim trail you will need hands on scrambling and it may be a little too sketchy for those wary of heights.
    I also found the path of least resistance thru the locust plants when I reached the top of Milk Ranch Point. I simply went due east, then took an old road south/southeast until I reached the well maintained forest road 9283L that would take me to fr 218. Go South here and keep an eye out for some great car camping spots looking off the Rim to the east as far as you can see. About a 1/2 mile along this road, turn east onto the Webber Trail. It's a steep one, and by the time I had gotten to the bottom my knees were barkin' at me after climbing up MRP, and then down again. A fairly tough first day..
    After hiking to the bottom of the trail, you'll come upon Geronimo camp and signs urge you to head south, to the highline intersection. Water is in the creek, I suggest you gather it in the upper reaches of Webber since near the Highline area its all muddy from area rains. Come to think of it, Webber is usually muddy, unlike most of the creeks around here.. hmm..
    Once you get on the Highline, no worries on navigation. It's clearly used and travelled. From Webber, your next water source is Pine Spring. Go down into the gulley past the stock animal trough and look for water pools in the vicinity. This may be your last water source for the next 4.5 miles since Red Rock spring always tasted like Rust to me. I choose not to drink it.
    I suggest doing this loop clockwise, get the hard part over with. It is definately a BIG day if you choose to dayhike it. See my photoset for a pictorial of the trail and comments that may be helpful as a 'visual' map.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The Pine TH / Tonto forest is open!

    We got to the Pine TH and there was a bunch of cars there already. We were hiking by 8:45. We took the Pine trail out. When we cross the Pine creek by the deep pools cutoff, we saw two backpackers coming down from the rim. As we approached them I saw that one of them had a rifle. When we crossed paths, that rifle was an AK-47! :scared: .

    We made it to the rim and started towards FR300. We were on an abandoned forest road and saw something that looked like a big dog. We got closer and it was a black bear! :o Then her fuzzy baby cub was chasing behind her! It was so cool seeing a black bear and cub. We just stood there and watch them. The mama bear was not that big. If she stood on her feet with her arms up, she might have been as tall as me. We waited for them to get about 200 feet away from us before we started hiking again. We didn't get any pictures :cry: . We didn't want to make any unnecessary moves or sounds. I was very surprised to see bears that close to the rim road. :GB:

    We continued with the hike and this time headed down the East Webber trail. The trail has some fresh deadfall in the middle out it. There was some major trail cleanup done on the East Webber trail near the Turkey spring. There was a lot of cut trees, moved logs, and some trail re-routing. A big thank-you :thanx: to whomever spent the time making the trail open and clean.

    We refilled our water by the scout camp and had lunch. The rest of the hike was nothing special. Took the Geronimo to the Highline, to the truck. We made it out before it got dark.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We did a big Pine / Geronimo / Highline loop. We got to the Pine TH at 8:50 and started to get ready for the hike. Two women approach us and ask "what was the best way to do a 20 mile hike in the area". They were training for a 40 mile walk in San Francisco. We pointed them to the Highline and told them to go 3.5 miles past the Geronimo TH and that would give them a 20 mile hike. Then a man approached us asking how to get to the rim ASAP because he had to be back at the TH by 3:30. He told him to take the Pine trail to the rim.

    We started the hike at 9:05. We took the Pine trail to rim, and then we took the following forest roads to swing over to the Milk Ranch point:


    It took a little trial and error to find the right combination of trails. Twice we tried to bushwhack to reduce the mileage, but the terrain was costing us time and energy, so we stuck to the FRs. Mike ran out of water on the rim, so then we altered the hike and headed down to the boy scout camp. We took Turkey trail down to the Geronimo, then a footpath to the camp and filled up on water. We headed back a little bit to have a very late lunch.

    It was 4:45 and we already clocked 18+ miles. We could either hike the Geronimo to the highline back or climb back top of milk ranch point and take the Donahue back. Even though going back on rim would cut the mileage down, we just didn't want climb another 1,500+. So we took the flatter, longer route back. We got back to the TH at 8:05.

    The trails are in good shape. The section of the Turkey trail, just right below rim is exposed with a lot of fire damage and debris. There's a little of route finding here.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We got a late start hiking due to my hiking buddy over sleeping. The hike started at 9:30 and the sun was warmer than I expected for October. We hiked the pine canyon trail to the East rim and bushwhacked to the Milk Ranch road. We then headed south to the Turkey Springs TH and went down. It was pretty warm going the rim. We then hiked to Webber trail to scout camp and topped off the camelbacks. Then the clouds rolled in and the temps backed off a bit. We then took the Geronimo trail to the Geronimo trail and had lunch in the woods. As we ate, we felt some rain drops and heard some thunder. :scared:

    We ended lunch abruptly and started back. The rain came down and poured for about 10 minutes before stopping. The highline trail almost became slick. The temps got pretty chilly. As we got near the Red Rock spring, the sun came out and then you couldn't even tell that it rained. We got to the car by 7:10.
    Pine Canyon / Geronimo Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We did two hikes in the same area. We started at the Pine TH and hiked the Pine Trail to the other side on top of the rim where it hits the Beeline again. We meet two guys from the scout camp along the way. They had a topo map of the un-official scout trails in the area. I've seen the scout trail signs, but had no idea where they went until now. There's a bunch of trails that take you to the rim from the Pine Trail. Some of them are: Temple Canyon, Deep Pools, Cinch Hooks and the Stradling. From a quick look at the map, I noticed that the Deep Pools trail was the easiest to follow. It followed the Pine Creek all the way to the rim. We decided to try that and to take the Pine trail back down. When we got past the Parson's spring they was a huge group of girls (about 200) hiking back to the camp. The Pine Creek trail was clear of any fallen trees.

    We made it to the deep pools trail and followed that. For the first half mile the trail was easy to follow and well flagged. It lead to a rock slide area and there was a sign calling this place the "Darling Rocks". The well defined trail ended here. There still was some flags guiding us, but the trail got overrun with two layers of deadfall. Going up the creek was just as bad. After 10 minutes of this, I pulled out the GPS and saw that we were only about a 1,000 feet from the Pine Creek trail. We jumped trail and headed to the Pine Creek trail. It was nice to have a trail again. We hiked to the rim and got a couple of sprinkles of rain on us. We turned around and head back. We took lunch down by the creek.

    The next hike was the Pine Canyon/Geronimo loop. We headed back to the Pine Creek / East Rim intersection and took a break before the big climb. Surprisingly the East Rim trail had some recent trail maintenance done. All of the dead fall was cut away and there was fresh flags. When we got to the rock pile, a cold wind started to blow and the sky clouded over. I was surprised to be this cold in June! The bushwhack from the rim to the forest road was pretty easy and almost thorn free. We made to the Milk Ranch road and took the West Webber down. All of the downed trees were cut away on the West Webber. We then hiked to the highline, then back to the car.

    It was a cool to cold hike depending on our elevation. I looked around the internet for some info on the other scout 'un-official" trail, but I didn't find any info. I don't think I'll try the scout trail unless I find some info on them.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Pine Trailhead
    87 north to Payson. Continue through Payson on 87 @12 miles to Pine Trailhead. Trailhead sign will be on your right.

    Pine Trailhead is a very well maintained trailhead, with vault toilets and neat horse corrals. A very short distance from the trailhead is a mountain cabin where some lucky person lives.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 102 mi - about 1 hour 55 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 200 mi - about 3 hours 15 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 98.9 mi - about 1 hour 44 mins
    page created by topohiker on Sep 21 2009 11:22 pm
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