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Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail, AZ

no permit
139 62 0
Guide 62 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,874 feet
Elevation Gain -567 feet
Accumulated Gain 275 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5-2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.32
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
4  2019-05-16
Wild Horse Wandering
3  2019-04-19
Usery Area Trail Run
3  2019-03-23
Scorpion-Wild Horse-Bush Loop
4  2019-03-17
Misc Wild Horse Loop
19  2019-03-09
Maricopa trail - Bulldog to Granite Reef Dam
5  2018-12-24
Scorpion Trail - Hawes
7  2018-11-28
Wild Horse Off-Trail Loop
8  2018-11-25
Crazy Horse Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author alexandy
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 4
Photos 8
Trips 111 map ( 528 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Wild Horse to Lead
by alexandy

The Wild Horse Trail in within the Tonto National Forest. It is an unofficial/social multi-purpose, East-West trail, bounded by the Usery Mountains on the South and the Salt River on the North. The eastern end starts at a parking area off Usery Pass Road and ends at the intersection of the Twisted Sister trail in the Hawes Trail System at the western end. An additional 0.8 mile can be added to the trail by starting at another parking area on Usery Pass Road located at 33 30.298N, -111 37.041N, and heading in a northerly direction until location 33 30.969N, -111 37.219W is reached. At this point turn left (West) and proceed on the main part of the trail. The trail surface is mostly hard packed sand with some less packed sand in some washes. The trail is easy to follow due to the tire tracks and "horse manure cairns". The trail can be hiked in the West - East direction by parking in an area off the Bush Highway, location 33 31.514N, -111 39.577W, and taking the Twisted Sister Trail 0.2 mile to the intersection located at 33 31.309N, -111 39.497N and then turning left (East). This trail would probably be appreciated most by the casual hiker as it was easy but afforded good views of the Salt River, and several mountains including Usery, Pass, Four Peaks, Mazatzals, and Red Mountain.

I could not find out any information as to the origion of trail's name, Wild Horse. However, while hiking the trail, I did see three wild horses. I have also seen documents and maps naming the trail as the "Lead Trail" This makes sense as the eastern part of the trail goes across a pit which was once a NRA shooting range. While hiking, I came across two lead "miners" who had several buckets full of bullets and shot. Although there are "No Shooting" signs in the area, I saw, and picked up, about 50 spent shotgun shells which had little signs of weathering.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-01-04 alexandy

    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 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Since I came across this trail for the first time yesterday, I knew where it began, so I took a long and winding off-trail route from Bush Highway until I connected with Wild Horse Trail, just before the start of the new (as of March 2018) High Horse Trail.
    From there I followed it 2 miles to where it reconnected with the Wild Horse Trail.
    Next, I hiked back west along the High Horse Trail, documenting the trip with over 50 photos.
    Once I reached Wild Horse again I followed it for a short distance before once again heading off on another long and winding route back to Bush Highway.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Crazy Horse Loop
    Had time for another hike this weekend so I borrowed the Crazy Horse Loop route recently posted by hikingaz2. Really nice loop as it offers a little of everything, AEG, off trail, and a beautiful stroll through the Arizona desert. Hit the ridge line in 30 minutes, and the wash in another 30. Great loop hike in northeast Mesa.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Nice day for an extended ride. Checked out the first part of the Maricopa Trail... I'm not impressed with it. While hiking it the first few times I thought it might make for fun biking but now after riding it I don't think less-experienced bikers will be very happy with it. More than a few loose-pebble off-camber corners made for a few oh-pumpkin moments even for me. Tracey didn't care to go back out so we took a detour over to Usery Pass Road to avoid it.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Finally I got back out after replacing the factory Schwable tires on the new bike... even though there was plenty of dead buckhorn cholla on the trail and I couldn't help but run over a number of them, not even a weeping hole in either tire.

    Passed through a small herd of the Salt River Horses.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    A dozen holes in sidewall of rear tire so had to cut short the first ride with new bike. Turns out the 'high performance' (read that as: light & expensive) Schwalbe tire was defective...
    Not ever having experienced anything like that with any of 4 different brands of tubeless tires over 11 years of biking through all kinds of terrain (mainly thorny) I figured I'd already had enough the Schwalbes. So I had the bike shop take them off and install heavier, more durable (and every bit as expensive) Specialized "Ground Control Grid" tires.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    I'll have a new 2016 Giant Trance 2 27.5 to ride this trail tomorrow so I figured I'd hit the trail today with my 11 year-old Trance 2 (20,000+ miles) so I could have a good comparison.

    I doubt I'll get anything near what the old bike is still worth to me so I'll probably hang on to it.
    Maybe it can be my canal rider. :whistle:
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Low humidity again so I headed out early. A nice cool 78° at the start rising to 90° by the end.

    I passed a group of six bikers who had stopped for a short break just over a quarter-mile from the start. (I will find out later they had started from the Walgreen's at Thomas & Power)

    About a half-mile later a stone was flipped up by the rear wheel stuck in the front shifting mechanism, and of course it happened when I needed to shift down for a steep climb.
    While I had the bike upside-down to remove the stone the fastest three of the group passed me. (They did ask if I needed help but with no need they continued on)

    It didn't help to know it should no longer be happening... When I put a new tire on the rear it had a sticky protective coating so it picks up a lot of small stones which get thrown out and into the shifter. But now months later the tire is no longer sticky so it appears the tread is still deep enough to pick up stones... and toss them into the shifter.
    This time I've had enough of it and decided instead of waiting until the tread wears a bit more I'll do a permanent fix when I get home.

    Just over a mile later I caught up to the three riders, taking another break. (Waiting for the laggards in their group to catch up?) I continued on until I used up half my fluid (Only took two 20 oz bottles, no CamelBak today) then turned around. I met two of the group as they were waiting for the rest, then I met up with the others, which were waiting while one of them was installing a tube on a tubeless rim so was fighting it a bit. Although they had the tools required, I stayed until it was done. Probably because they kept asking questions about the trails in the area. I got the impression they had not ridden any of the trails before.

    So now with that extra break to catch my breath the last few miles of the ride felt like a breeze. If I had bothered to bring more fluids I would have turned around for another lap. Oh well...

    Back home I took maybe five minutes to come up with a solution to the stone-in-shifter problem, ten minutes to find a suitable material (clear plastic sheet) and five minutes to secure it in place. While it is still possible for a stone to get in there again, it is unlikely... I hope!
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Humidity was down significantly this morning so I figured I might as well hit the trail early. Temp ranged from 85° to 95° but with only 20% humidity it felt great. Toward the east end of my ride I heard yipping from two separate coyote packs> I had no camera so I didn't bother to try and get a glimpse of either pack.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Another nice warm day with temperatures ranging from 98° to 108° during the ride. Reasonably low humidity and a nice 10-15 mph west wind made it tolerable anyway.

    Just over a mile and a half east from Bush Highway a large old Saguaro had been blown over onto the trail. As heavy as it is I knew there was no way I could move the main trunk and it wasn't completely blocking the trail so I left it alone. But there was one arm partially broken off the main stem blocking the trail that I was able to move just far enough to allow biking by with just a little extra care.
    Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail
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    Started at 106°, ended at 113°. Still nursing a swollen right hand and when it became painful to use the rear brake it was time to cut the ride short.
    Right from the start I used the front as much as I dared until it was getting painful as well. The hand needs more rest and ice packs I guess.

    So much for attempting to drill a few dozen holes in hard metal with dull drill bits... which is where I got the inflamed right hand in the first place. Thankfully my neighbor brought over his industrial quality bit set and they worked like a hot knife through butter. It sure helps to have the right tool for the job!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    The Trailhead is located on the West side of Usery Pass Road and is 9.9 miles north of Baseline Road.
    page created by alexandy on Jan 04 2010 11:22 pm
    2+ mi range whistle
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