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East Baldy Trail #95, AZ

no permit
603 48 3
Guide 48 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Eagar S
4.2 of 5 by 22
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,358 feet
Elevation Gain 1,850 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,900 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.83
Interest Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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54  2019-08-29
East Baldy Trail #95 to Hoodoo Overlook
15  2019-07-10 Jim_H
6  2019-06-27
Mount Baldy Loop
4  2018-07-04 larbrad
22  2018-06-02
Mount Baldy Loop
13  2018-06-01 DixieFlyer
10  2018-05-12
Mount Baldy Loop
14  2017-09-03
Baldy Horseshoe
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Jun, Aug, Sep
Sun  6:02am - 6:22pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Chiricaha in the White Mountains
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
The two trails merge near the wilderness boundary. The trail follows the East Fork of the Little Colorado River through a long meadow. The river has several pools created by beaver dams which are usually good fishing spots. If you don't have a fishing pole, or even if you do, maybe what you'll catch is a glimpse of a beaver going about its daily tasks. If you don't see one of these large, shy rodents, you can always console yourself with a variety of wildflowers that blanket the meadow from late spring through the summer.

After following the meadow for about a mile and a half, the trail enters the timber. Here it begins to climb, and what a climb it is. The trail winds through a maze of sandstone boulders and stands of mixed conifer. In a half mile of climbing, you will gain 800 feet in elevation. As if this were not enough reason to catch your breath, try the view. A reward usually comes to those who strive, and your reward will be a truly panoramic view. This view includes portions of the White Mountain Apache Reservation, Big Lake, Crescent Lake, a sizable chunk of the Black River Valley, Escudilla Mountain, the Blue Range and on into the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Few vantage points on the Forest offer a view like this. Hopefully you brought a camera.

From this point, the trail follows a ridgeline on a continuous uphill grade, though it is a far more gradual climb that the one you've just been through. As the trail climbs, it alternates between timber and bare, rocky areas. About seven miles from the trailhead, this trail merges with the one from Sheeps Crossing. The two come together in a saddle below Mt. Thomas, nearly to the top of Mt. Baldy. The summit of Mt. Baldy is located on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation and is closed to all non-tribal members. From this point you can choose to continue on to Sheeps Crossing, about seven miles away, or to return the way you came. Many people like to hike up one trail and down another and make their lives easier by parking or shuttling their vehicles at each of the trailheads.

Group size limits are 12 for hiking and riding and 6 for camping.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Lightning Kills
Stay off the mountain when thunderstorms are forecasted. July and August are notorious for quick unexpected storms. Lower the risk by being OFF the mountain before 11am on a clear morning. Stay safe, read the NOLS Backcountry Lightning Safety Guidelines.

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

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Friday woke up in Cave Creek - Drove to hospital for newborn rounds Scottsdale Shea - then saw patients in office in Chandler until 5. Drove from work to Linda’s house - changed clothes and she drove us to Show Low to spend the night.

    I was treated to her homemade breakfast burrito and we got started at 7am. Wet soggy meadows. Water level high in crossings - fast speed the creek - plan was Baldy loop but the snow around 10,200 feet on East Baldy was too icy compact - met three guys (1 with micro spikes) who had to turn around. So we will go for peak again another time.

    Not many people out for a holiday weekend. Second Linda treat was having her clean towel she gave me to clean up at the end of the hike. Is that a love language ? Burritos and clean towels..... thank you !!! My love language is “I will pay for gas and meal out!” Acts of Service is technical category for Linda’s kindness. Perfect weather !!!!! Wish I could stay up here the whole weekend.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I decided to celebrate the 4th of July with a nice hike up the the East Baldy Trail #95. I arrived at the trailhead about 9:00am and the weather was perfect. I encountered only three other hikers on my way up. The trail was in very good condition all the way up until you reached about mile 5-5.5 when there were some fallen trees. It looks like some maintenance has been done since some of the earlier triplogs because I would only say I had to carefully cross about a dozen downed trees - many others had been cut and cleared. I saw no wildlife at all, a bear had torn up the bark on a tree beside the trail and there were plenty of deer and elk tracks in the trail itself. On the way back down, I met a large group (10 or so people) at the 2.5 mi point that were looking out from the rocky viewpoint. Finally, I caught up with two horsemen just down from the rocky outlook that were resting their mounts. I had hoped to get some rain - I've forgotten what it feels like! It is dry but there was more green foliage on this trail than about any other you'd hope to see. It was a great hike and a beautiful day. I love the freedom to do such things as this on a day we celebrate our liberty.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Started around 8am, it was breezy, but not too cool. Headed up East Baldy, it was pretty easy going most of the way. Some deadfall starting shortly before the spring. Enough to be annoying at times, but really not too bad. Saw several elk along the way. The higher I got, the windier it got. As I was walking through some dead trees along the trail, I wondered if I should hurry through them in case one fell. Sure enough, a few minutes later, one tree snapped and fell about 30 feet away from me. At the saddle, headed toward the summit, but the winds were super strong, enough to knock me over, so I turned around at the white man's summit. Headed down West Baldy. it wasn't too bad at first, but below me, I could hear trees falling. I reached the hillside where they were falling, and the trail was a mess. Lots of downed trees, and I watched several more come down. It was slow going navigating over, under, and around trees. Every big gust of wind brought the sound of another tree coming down, so I'm sure the trail now is even worse than when I went through. Once past that, it was nice again. The lower part of West Baldy is always a favorite for me. Finished up by taking the Crossover Trail back to the vehicle. Only saw a few people all day--5 on East, 3 on West. Nice day, despite the winds, and perfect temps.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Baldy Horseshoe
    I opted to skip the Saturday ascent with Lee and chose to join Claire and Lizzard on Sunday instead. We went up East, which I think I enjoy much more as a trail in general than West. The only downside is that those lower miles on West just drag on and on at the end of the day. We shuttled to skip the crossover and save the 2 extra miles which we were all pretty happy about.

    There were a handful of people on the trail, but I was surprised at how few we encountered being a holiday weekend. There were endless raspberries that were perfect ripeness, and at the top of the mountain quite a few strawberries that were absolutely delicious. :y:
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I'd been wanting to get out this way, so this trip was well timed. I drove in from Payson on Saturday night, camped at the CG next to the TH and met Linda the next a.m. She revealed a broken toe right before we set off. We went up East Baldy first. I always enjoy these spruce'd up forests. Everything was green and water was flowing from every drainage. The tread is beautiful and the grades are friendly. We saw what appeared to be recent trail work, dead fall was very minimal. The ridge over to the summit was nice. A few small snow patches provide moral support. We tucked away behind some rocks for a nutrition break / rest period. Heading down West Baldy we encountered some dead fall almost immediately. Far more than what was on East Baldy, but nothing worth griping about. The scenery along West Baldy was superb. Coming out of dense forest into open meadows provides a neat contrast. The many shades of green and a peaceful West Fork LCR winding through the countryside is hard to take your eyes off of. Great day in the mountains with some nice weather.

    Tons of Iris blooms..
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Since my entire Friday & Saturday was spent doing kid friendly activities in the Show Low area, Sunday was my day to do a real hike, and getting back up to Baldy had been on my list for a while. Got started around 6:30am. I had taken two motrin before I drove over with the hopes it would minimize the broken toe pain. It helped, but I still felt every step. Oh well, that's life I guess, I slowed down a little on the pace, and threw in some breaks I wouldn't have normally taken on the downhill, and it really wasn't too bad.

    I headed up East Baldy, which is definitely my preferred way up. Nearly all of the snow on the trail is gone--only a few small patches remain, and they will probably be gone within a week. There are some downed trees, but not nearly as many as I was expecting. Once at the top of the trail, the winds really picked up while I headed over to the summit. Once there, I found a place to sit that was shielded from the wind, had a snack, got some pictures, and I rested my foot for a while. Views were pretty limited, as there was smoke in nearly every direction.

    I headed down West Baldy, which is where I saw most of the other hikers for the day. There is some downfall on West Baldy too, but again, not that much, and no snow is left. Took another snack break by the creek, then took the Connector trail back over to East Baldy. The meadows along the connector were gorgeous, and the grasses blowing in the wind made for a nice sight. I also saw seven or eight elk, but that was it for wildlife for the day. Finished up shortly before 3:30. Perfect hike for the day, with great weather, and other than the few downed trees, the trail was in great shape.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Spent a nice couple of nights in the White Mountains with my bud Steve . . .

    We left the East Baldy Trail trailhead parking lot at about noon in the soaking rain . . . time to try that parka for the first time! Didn't know it rained in Arizona . . . :scared:

    day 1
    Got breakfast at Baker's Ponderosa Cafe in Heber. Ber-y nice. Hiked through the crossover trail and stopped for lunch in that nice little meadow at the junction of the crossover trail and the West Baldy. Steve never misses a chance to stick his face in the creek :lol: What a pristine hike! Really enjoyed the crossover. Then we hiked to the last crossing of the West Baldy trail and the Little Colorado river (as adenium mentioned in his last post). Found a nice fire ring. Too bad we couldn't start a fire to save our lives!!!! Good thing we didn't need one to save our lives--the temperature didn't dip below 49 or so. Not the most comfortable dinner I've ever had--but bearable.

    day 2
    We hiked up the West Baldy trail on this fine Saturday morning. We got our asses out as early as we could manage (7:30am . . . impressed?), and were passed by a couple through hikers. We were trying to follow the advice to not be on Mount Baldy after 11am, but some of the hikers on the trail called bullhonky on that. They didn't seem to think the lightning was that b of a d? Oh well. We huffed it to white man's summit (~11,200ft yahear?), and there wasn't a sign there telling the imperialists to stay back . . . ? Seemed like Steve and I were the only ones hiking the mountain that day that didn't risk a day in Indian jail. Oh well--my pride remains intact. Hiked down to the meadow-y area just shy of 2 miles from the East Baldy trailhead and spent a very enjoyable afternoon chillin. Later on in the evening, we got to chillin a little more literally. Couldn't start a dang fire there either!!! Extremely frustrating. I've heard steel wool suggested. I'ma gonna need something. Shivered our way through watching Patriot Games on my iPhone screen :)

    day 3
    Hiked out. Ate lunch at The House in Show Low. Wow! very nice

    It was a great weekend trip--only had to hop a few felled trees. It's God's country up there . . . enough to make a man consider Bonanza a template.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    It was after the first week when it hit 117 in the valley. My friends wanted to get out of the heat and do a backpack. The Baldy Loop came to mind. We parked at the East TH and started hiking past noon on the Crossover Trail. The West Baldy offers beautiful scenery meandering along the river, with lushness, tranquility, and some sweeping views of huge meadows. Camped at a very good camp site right below the grassy hills on the other side of the river right before you go into the woods again to start the climb. A curious bear came about 100 yards from our camp site on the other side of the meadow and hung around for a minute to check out what we were up to before sauntering off back into the woods. I was bummed about forgetting my MHW Hardshell there on the big sitting log in that camp site the next morning :( . It had served me very well in the last few years and hopefully someone found it and will make good use of it :)

    The next day we had a lazy start and continued on West Baldy on the ascent. There were right around 200 downed logs we had to go over, under, or around the entire loop - a lot more than I remembered 10 months ago. Glad to hear FOTG's report that they had been cut and cleared out of the way very recently. My friend was struggling quite a bit with going uphill with his big pack at those altitudes. So we took our time and went rather slowly. I was encouraged that he and his daughter just buried their heads down and kept going - never complaining and always full of joy and thankfulness to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I always have a weird fondness for the section I call "tree cemetery" right before you get on with the last leg of West Baldy :lol: After coming down from the false summit and passing the airplane crash site on East Baldy, we camped at a campsite near the first scenic lookout. Interestingly, the second night at much higher elevation was a lot warmer than the first night.

    The next day we continued down on East Baldy and enjoyed the big views and the cool huge rock formations it had to offer before getting back to the car late morning. When I day hiked the loop, I really wanted to do a backpack here. And I'm glad we did. The White Mountain area never disappoints.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I had Friday off and really wanted to do this as an over-nighter. But all the thunderstorm forecast made me abandon that plan and do this as a day hike instead on Saturday. Getting up at 02:30 and leaving at 03:30 was no fun, but the drive was as scenic as I remembered. By 08:00 I started hiking.

    The super cool weather was so refreshing and made me forget about the hot hell for a day. I parked at the East Baldy TH and took the Crossover Trail to West Baldy Trail. Once I was on the West Baldy, I was totally taken by its beauty! The LCR was rushing, meadows were lush, and flowers were blooming. The first 2-3 miles were full of primo backpacking campsites! As I entered the woods, the rain started picking up. Met a few hikers who came back after a few miles because they were concerned about lightning. I was too!! A father and his daughter, who had been camping out for a few days, came down with their donkeys and a ton of gear. They were back country camping in style! I thought they were doing trail maintenance work :) Wiski was busy chasing squirrels.

    Once I got to the West Baldy / East Baldy junction, I kept going. I saw one "summit" after another. So I just kept going :)

    On my way back down on East Baldy, I really enjoyed all the cool boulder/rock formations. Saw a couple of pieces at the B-24 crash site.

    This was a beautiful hike and a great escape from Phoenix heat in the summer. I would love to go back and do an over-nighter sometime.
    East Baldy Trail #95
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mount Baldy Superloop
    Day 1 - 5 miles

    Started at the West Fork Trail TH in Greer a little after 3pm. A few minutes up the trail is Trail Spring Tank, a beautiful small pond. I saw two hikers walking around the edge. They would be the only people I saw that day.

    The trail then goes through some forested areas and large meadows. And burned areas. Lots of blowdowns to climb over or walk around.

    Potatoe Hollow Spring had a good flow. The spring and the earlier tank were the only water sources along here.

    I stopped for the night on the edge of a large meadow about a half mile short of Sheep's Crossing. As I was boiling some water for dinner a bear walked by, maybe 100 feet away. This time I had my camera at hand and got a couple pictures and some video. It didn't seem too concerned that I was there, not even when I made some noise. A few minutes later, 5 or so turkeys walked past.

    Day 2 - 10 miles

    Crossed 273 and arrived at the West Baldy TH. One vehicle in the lot with a guy sitting in a lawn chair. We chatted a bit. He'd been out hiking with friends and got worn out from the altitude, returning to the car while the friends went further on the Crossover trail. I admitted I was concerned about the elevation. I've never hiked to 11000, much less backpacked. My plan was to try Baldy, but if it was too much, I'd come back down and take the crossover to make a shorter loop.

    The trail soon follows closely along the West Fork Little Colorado. Very scenic. I like water features. I think this was my favorite section of the loop.

    I met a pack train and a trail crew coming out. They did a great job. Only had to detour around one blowdown on the West and East Baldy trails, with lots of recently cut through blowdowns.

    At the last drainage before the trail starts seriously climbing I stopped for lunch and to load up on water. I figured the next sure source wouldn't be until the East Fork Little Colorado. As I picked up to leave, two guys came huffing and puffing up the trail and passed me. Ten minutes later they passed me going back down. They didn't say anything.

    I was huffing and puffing too, but I kept going. I was on the last stretch to the trail junction when something exploded out of the brush next to the trail. It was a Dusky Grouse (I think) hen squawking and carrying on like it had a broken wing. I took a couple quick pics and moved on. My heartrate slowly returned to it's normal pounding.

    Made it to the trail junction. Yay! Highest I've ever hiked. It's all downhill from here. (I thought briefly about sneaking to the summit, but after hearing that it wasn't that difficult to actually get permission from the tribe, I decided no, I would do it right sometime.)

    I headed down the East Baldy Trail. I checked out the airplane wreckage, and the unnamed spring near the saddle with Mount Thomas. Not big, but it was flowing. I could have filled up here.

    Spent the night at the saddle below Mount Thomas.

    Day 3 - 10.5 miles

    The trail so far had been quite clean, but at my campsite and one a bit further down I found a fair amount of trash including a large glass bottle. Some people are disgusting. If you carry it up, you can carry it back down. I stuffed it in pack pockets and hung it off loops, figuring I'd haul it down to the Gabaldon campground. But they don't provide trash collection, so I ended up carrying it all the way to Greer.

    I think this was my second favorite section. The trail is good, some nice forrested sections, and interesting rock formations. Some good views down towards Big Lake too. But I think I like the trail along the West Fork LC better.

    I met several groups of hikers in the morning, all asking things like how far they had come, if it's steep all the way. I tried to be encouraging, but they'd only started up the steep bit.

    Took the trail over to Gabaldon CG after grabbing some water from the creek. Crossed back over 273 and started on the East Fork Trail. It follows the same route as the 601 railroad grade trail for a bit over a mile. I've thought some about backpacking the 601 and the Overland trail as a longer trip. Now I'm not so sure. The 601 may be an easy grade, but the surface isn't that easy to walk on.

    I saw a couple people in the distance walking out to the dam at Colter Reservoir, but they turned around and headed back on the 601 before I got there. The East Fork splits at the dam. I saw no people or even footprints after that until almost Greer. It seems this trail doesn't get much use.

    Colter reservoir had some water, and was nice and green around, as was the EFLC below the dam. But after that, the most interesting thing was a billowing smoke cloud from what I found out later was the San Juan Fire. Shortly after crossing the EFLC, the trail enters cattle country. Dusty trails. Cows that insist on walking ahead of you down the trail, kicking up more choking clouds of dust. Or being agressive and threatening. Burned areas with so much blowdown you can't follow the trail. Others where there are so many cowpaths you don't know what trail you're on. I guess it's clear this was my least favorite section. I don't think I'd do it again except as part of loop or longer hike.

    I stopped for the night on a meadow a bit past Dry Spring. Which was dry.

    Day 4 - 5 miles

    Woke to cows staring at me.

    I wasn't in a hurry. Just a few miles in to Greer now. This part was hit hard by fire. There's a point where you can see down into the EFLC river valley, and Greer in the distance. It's all burnt sticks. I do believe in the goodness of fire, and that fire is natural. But not this devastation. On the upside, I guess there wasn't much of a clear view before all the trees burned. At least the last bit into Greer was in nice trees again.

    A little log "bridge" over the West Fork and I was done.

    Well, except for mile and a half of roadwalk to the West Fork trailhead and my car. Stopped at the Rendezvous diner for a cold soda. I reeked pretty bad, but they were polite and didn't hold their noses.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To East Baldy Trailhead
    From Phoenix area take highway 87 to Payson, then 260 to Sunrise junction, then State Road 273 about 10 miles to turn off for East Baldy Trail. On topo it is between Gabaldon Horse Camp & Lee Valley Reservoir.

    Start at the paved lot.

    Highway Department typically plows Highway 273 past the ski area until December 31 but after-which road is gated till often mid-April. Contact Springerville highway department office at 928-333-4495 for the latest info.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 3 h 58 min (223 miles)
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 4 h 29 min (233 miles)
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 3 h 8 min (187 miles)
    page created by joebartels on Oct 03 2009 3:35 pm
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