View of Eastern Supes
The hike starts off from the trailhead and meanders south through a field of cholla cactus very similar to what one finds on Black Top Mesa near the First Water Trailhead. There are a couple of small washes to cross, but the trail is well cairned. The Globe Ranger station believes in making very large cairns so you shouldn't have any trouble finding your way.
At the 1.0 mile mark, you will come to a large wash that is roughly 75 to 100 feet deep and 100 yards across. This is the eastern end of Tule Canyon. At this point, the trail overlooks a corral in the bottom of the wash. Follow the wide switchbacks down to bottom of this wash. At the bottom of the switchback is a large white gate which you will want to close and latch behind you. There is a large cairn at the white gate, but no other cairns are to be seen. You will be tempted to proceed due west up the floor of the wash but this is not want you want to do. Instead, follow the corral directly across the wash to a Tonto Forest Wilderness sign and head up another steep trail out of the wash on the south side.
At the top of the wash you will encounter cairns once again that take you west and run parallel to the wash. The trail runs in a westward direction along the wash for about 3/4 of a mile before heading back south and up a series of ridges and canyons. If you look back over your shoulder down the trail you will notice that Tule Canyon looks like a big brown gash due to the erosion of its steep walls. This "gash" provides a good landmark for when you are returning back down the trail. Towards the end of this 1.75 mile section heading south the trail becomes quite steep as it switches back and forth through juniper trees. The trail climbs roughly 1,100 feet through this portion of the hike. The footing in this section is poor as there are lots of loose rock and dirt that will turn an ankle if you're not careful, especially on the way back down. Once you top out on this ridge, you are at an elevation of 4,300 feet. Two bar Mountain itself is just across the canyon to the south south/east of this position. At this point, the trail heads west towards Two Bar Ridge which is approximately 1.50 miles away. Initially, the cairns were a little sparse in this wide open are on top of the ridge but it shouldn't be too difficult if you're paying attention. During this last westerly section, the trail climbs another 500 feet to 4,800 feet but the slope is much more gentle. At the top of Two Bar Ridge the Tule Canyon Trail intersects the Two Bar Ridge Trail and the intersection is well signed. From this point you will be afforded excellent views of Apace Lake due west and Four Peaks to the northwest. I believe the mountain just north of Apache Lake is Goat Mountain and that it is Horse Mesa just to the south of Apache Lake.
My GPS unit had the trail at 5.1 miles and it took me just under 2.5 hours with several stops for rubber necking. The way back was much quicker at 1 hour and 50 minutes. All in all, the round trip hike was 10.2 miles and took about 4.5 hours. The trail climbed a net 2000 feet from bottom to top.
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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.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
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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.
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