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Ballantine to Boulder Flat, AZ

no permit
696 124 2
Guide 124 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.4 of 5 by 36
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,258 feet
Elevation Gain 1,380 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.4
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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7  2019-03-03 Anekantavada
3  2019-03-02
Ballantine Rock Creek
10  2019-02-24 KBKB
15  2019-02-20
Ballantine Cabin & Corral
36  2019-01-17 TheNaviG8R
2  2018-08-12 JuanJaimeiii
6  2018-04-29 KBKB
10  2018-04-13 mazatzal
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
Author Mike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 249
Trips 12 map ( 4 miles )
Age 61 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:28pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Oh Rocky!!
by Mike

This trail gets pretty light traffic considering it's proximity to the Valley, and the fact that the trailhead is right next to the Beeline Highway. It's a great trail with a little bit for everybody. A seasonal creek, plenty of rocks for the kids to explore, great views, some good climbing sections for a workout. Even the occasional wildlife (moo...). It has become one of my favorite, close to town hikes.

The Ballantine Trail officially begins on a small saddle at the eastern junction of the two halves of the Pine Creek Loop Trail. (For directions to the trailhead and a description of the first part of this hike, see the Pine Creek Loop description.) On this trip, we took the north half of the loop. I have taken both halves in to the Ballantine trail and either is fine. Basically if you want a more gentle approach, take the north, and if you want a thigh burning workout, take the south. The destination for this trip is Boulder Flat, which the sign at the beginning of the Ballantine Trail indicates is 3 miles in. I think this is overestimated, and it's really more like 1.5 miles from the beginning of the Ballantine, and 3 miles from the trailhead.

The trail starts out from the saddle and drops down into a small area with plenty of rocks to explore. The views of the surrounding mountains from here, and from many points along the trail, are superb. (On this particular day, we had our eye on a fire burning on the southeastern side of Mt. Peeley.) The trail heads in a generally eastern direction, climbing to points along the ridge which it follows for much of the way. The entire area is a jumble of rocks, often so thick and large that you wonder how a trail could possibly have been cut through there.

Along the way, you'll come to a spot with two very large, upright boulders, one to the left of the trail, and a larger one below the trail to the right, just beyond the first. The rock at the base of this one looks like a perfect spot for lunch, or a nap. We bushwhacked down to the creek from here, for a short exploration. I was here a couple of years ago when there was snow on the higher mountains in the area, and this creek was running quite well then. On this trip, however, it was bone-dry.

Eventually, the trail will drop into a more open area at the east end of "The Boulders". Watch for a side trail heading off to the right toward a large pile of boulders. This is a great spot to rest and the boulders are great to climb among. The view here isn't too shabby, either. To the south, you can see the Beeline Highway far off in the distance.

You can continue on a short ways to Boulder Flat, and beyond if you wish. I've gone a bit beyond Boulder Flat. Return the way you came in. Someday I plan to do this trail from Cline Cabin TH on Four Peaks Road to the Ballantine TH on the Beeline, a total of about 12 miles, if the sign is right!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2002-02-14 Mike
    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 24 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ballantine Rock Creek
    With a forecast of rain at 50% we figured we'd take a chance. Got to the Ballantine TH at 7:20 and started hiking by 7:30. Lot's of water running in both Camp Creek and Pine Creek so we figured the same would be true for Rock Creek and running it was. Encountered a lot of catclaw during the off-trail hiking and it did wear after a bit. My legs were so scratched up that they almost became numb. Spooked a pair of deer near the corral. The rain started so we figured it was time to head back to the truck. Rained for about 30-40 minutes, just enough to wet the trail. Really enjoyed this outing.
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Starting mid-afternoon on Sunday, I hiked the Pine Creek Loop CCW and continued on the Ballantine Trail somewhat beyond Boulder Flat. I finished the Pine Creek Loop on the way back.

    I had last hiked this trail in Sept 2017. At that time, some recent diversions had been constructed on the initial (CCW) part of the Pine Creek Loop, but some of these diversions were hard to make out and, at least one point, the new trail seemed to fade out after a while. I'm happy to say that this situation has been very much improved. I found that section to be much easier to follow than last year.

    The Ballantine Trail seemed to have been cleaned up too. It seemed not quite as rocky with less encroaching vegetation. I made better time on it than normal.

    I had the trail to myself during that afternoon.

    saguaro, buckhorn cholla, ocotillo
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Took advantage of the cooler temps today (58 at start and 68 at end) and very strong winds on the way down. Just went up to Boulder Flat and back, did the loop at the end.

    There has been some trail work: the white rock ledge that spanned all the way across the trail has been broken up on the right hand side to make another easy way around it. Also quite a bit of brushing along the trail.

    Only saw one hiker and a few hawks soaring in the strong winds!

    Very isolated!
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    On Sunday morning, I hiked the Pine Creek Trail to the Ballantine and then did an out-and-back on part of the Ballantine before finishing the Pine Creek Loop.

    The trail is in good condition despite the recent monsoon rains. Some of the diversions to avoid the rutted trail on the south side of the Pine Creek Loop have vegetation growing in them now and a few of them were hard to follow - there was one point where I ended up bushwhacking a short ways to get back to the original, rutted trail because I got lost while following one of the diversions.

    The Ballantine Trail is also blocked in another spot by yet another fallen saguaro. I didn't go far enough to see if the other one that I noticed on my previous trip had been cleared or not. This new saguaro-fall seems to be recent; the trail was damp near the saguaro with seepage from its fall.

    I saw a Western Diamondback rattler on the way back. It was asleep in a rut in the trail. I spent a long while taking photos, chimping them, and then taking more when I noticed that I didn't really have a clear view of its head. I finally got one that was satisfied with, though when I got home, I saw that I missed the focus on the head. I guess I should have taken even more.

    I saw several agave blossoms; I've included a two shots of one of them in my photos.

    Actually - there were a lot more flowers than I expected to see.

    It was a good hike with plenty of solitude. Temperatures were not-too-warm when I started, though it was warm, bordering on hot when I finished. I drank all of one 3L reservoir and had started the second just as I was finishing up.
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hadn't hiked this area for a few years. A lot more water than expected. We made at least 15 crossings of running water. Wildflowers are out putting on a nice show. We saw about 10 people out on the trails which is quite a few for here. Beautiful day. Started getting warm by the end of the hike, but never hot. Thanks John! :)

    Scorpion weed, blue dicks, poppies, fiddleneck, fairy duster, lupine, desert chicory...
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Joe through out a couple this week to choose from. The first had us in potential snow and much colder temps. I would never have been able to put up with the whining on that one.

    The Plan A that got the nod, received 1.2 inches of rain yesterday. What normally runs at 1.5 CFM, was running at 20 CFM yesterday afternoon, and flashed at 7,000 CFM at midnight at 10' in height. When we pulled in, you could hear the roar of Sycamore Creek.

    This was a plan B.
    I'd never hiked out of the Ballantine TH, so with the help of a freshly downloaded route into Route Scout, we were off.

    Pine Creek was roaring, as were all the other normally dry named and non-named washes. We started in a light rain in the comfortable 40's. We were in the clouds at about 4000' and it got noticeably colder. We hit a low of 36.9, with a cooling breeze.

    We look a break at the cabin for a bit so Joe could change socks before heading back.

    Almost back to the Truck we ran into Chums, just starting his hike.

    This one was better than I expected.
    Felt strange to be home so early on a Saturday, so I took a nap.
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Rain Saturday number 4 out of the last 5 :pout:

    Snow in many areas and cold temps in others hampered options. I put together a loop West of the Beeline around Sycamore/Mesquite based on a couple Ken hikes. We arrived before sunrise and could hear the roar of the creek. Bruce refused to give up and checked it out in several areas. Luckily he came to his senses. With a hint of internet I pulled up Ballantine as plan b.

    18 years ago I hiked this in gnat season. The memory was still fresh that I wanted to see the Saguaro lined Pine Creek flowing. We got it in full glory, it was roaring!

    Yesterday I picked up a zippo catalytic hand warmer. A few school friends back in Oklahoma carried a larger version when we walked off campus for lunch. Imagine none of that is permitted these days. At any rate after a home test I was oddly excited to put it to use hiking in the cold.

    The little furnace worked like a dream for 6-7 miles until I slipped on a rock in one of several creek crossings. Our 47 degree start was now into the 30's and it was game over for the happy attitude.

    After miles of torture the final mile or two was warming up. We crossed paths with 3 or 4 little groups. Then ran into CHUMS starting the same hike. My photos aren't worth subjecting to the public. I imagine someone that got twice the sleep, ate breakfast, lunch and hiked with less stinky company got better light.

    We saw lots of creeks flowing and in retrospect I enjoyed it overall.

    Very isolated yellows. Bushes and such most wouldn't notice.
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Lee convinced me to check this one out, and the first couple of miles were exactly the reason I hadn't previously done this. It should be called "State Route 87 - Alt" :roll:

    The sound of traffic and smell of exhaust really isn't my idea of a nice hike, and it takes a long time to get far enough away that you don't notice it anymore. Oh well.

    The climb was steady, and the sun was out making it just a little warmer than I prefer. I think this trail has an ideal season of December-January. :M2C:

    The higher elevations are exponentially more scenic than the first 2 miles so that was a pleasant change. There was water flowing in all the drainages. The trail to the cabin had been driven by dirt bikes (motor) and torn it up a fair amount. Not bad, but I was glad they weren't there today. The crossover section to the corral might as well be a real trail -- it is traveled very well and there was absolutely no problem following the route.

    On the way back down, clouds finally blocked the sun making it a pleasant, cool afternoon. Until we got down far enough that the beeline was within earshot again. ](*,)

    Ran into a couple of HAZ lurkers in the parking lot. They'd seen Lee and the dogs in the Supes before, and apparently some guy named Chumley is their go-to for hike research info. :oops:
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Took advantage of the nice weather and hit Ballantine on the way back to town. Went over the hill to checkout the cabin and corral area. The construction of the main cabin looks solid. Took advantage of the picnic table for a pleasant snack break while enjoying the breeze. Got lucky and saw a herd of javelina on the way out.

    No water sighted anywhere, makes me wonder if that is why the cabin was abandoned?
    Ballantine to Boulder Flat
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Boulders Loop
    Put together a loop hike starting from Ballantine TH; Ballantine Trail To Boulder Flat :next: Ballantine Connector Trail :next: Unnamed Trail :next: FR11 :next: Off-trail back to the Trail Head. Turned out to be a really nice loop and other than the first 15 minutes where we started the hike in rain, it was a dry hike. The Connector trail and unnamed trail are booth in good condition, the only downside to these trails is the deep ruts which made it difficult at times to get a good hiking stride going. The short off-trail was very easy as we stayed high on a ridge that had good clearing. Lot's of water running after last nights storm.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Ballantine Trailhead
    From Scottsdale follow Shea Blvd East to its terminus at SR87. Turn Left (North) onto SR87. Follow SR87(this is the Beeline) about 9.5 miles past the Four Peaks turnoff. The Ballantine turnoff is easy to find just past Mile Post 210. The trailhead is easy to spot from the parking loop.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 48.1 mi - about 55 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 146 mi - about 2 hours 15 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 153 mi - about 2 hours 46 mins
    3 pack - loud whistle
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