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Wild Horse Trail - AKA Lead Trail, AZ

Guide 80 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,037 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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5  2020-11-28
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4  2020-04-30 gummo
4  2020-03-25 hikerdw
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
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  6:13am - 6:26pm
Official Route
7 Alternative

Wild Horse to Lead
by alexandy

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The Wild Horse Trail is 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.

This guide begins at the NRA TH. The Official Route is from the Lone Mtn/Bulldog TH. The narrative is better than the area is managed. =)

The eastern end starts at a parking area off Usery Pass Road and ends at the Twisted Sister Trail intersection, 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 30.298, -111 37.041, 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, and taking the Twisted Sister Trail 0.2 mile to the intersection located at 33.521923, -111.658977 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 any information about the origin of the 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 that was once an 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 with little signs of weathering.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Lone Mountain Trailhead
    Located on the east side of Usery Pass Road. It is 1.7 miles north of the Usery Mountain Regional Park main entrance and 2.8 miles south of Bush Highway. Parking is free, and a Tonto Pass is NOT required for hiking.

    It is also an access point for the Tonto National Forest OHV area - Usery Gate for Road 3554. There is a gate to restrict motorized travel on the road but there is a hiking-in gate. If you want to drive this road you can get a free permit at the Mesa Ranger Station. The permit provides you with the combination to the lock.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 33 min (31.5 miles)
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 1 hr 58 min (118 miles)
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 2 hr 29 min (175 miles)
    page created by alexandy on Jan 04 2010 11:22 pm
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