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Icehouse Canyon Trail #198, AZ

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Guide 132 Triplogs  10 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe S
3.5 of 5 by 35
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,557 feet
Elevation Gain 3,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24
Backpack TBD
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6  2019-07-21
Pinal Loop
12  2019-04-24
Pinal Peak - Signal Peak
13  2019-04-14
Signal & Pinal Peaks
8  2019-04-14
Icehouse - Sixshooter loop - Pinal Mtns
12  2018-11-24 Yoder
8  2018-11-02 Pivo
23  2018-11-02 GrottoGirl
6  2018-10-27
Pinal 4x Light
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Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 66 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:22pm
Official Route
42 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
a very continuous climb
by Fritzski

August Pieper arrived in Globe in 1883 from Silver City, NM. He dug tanks in what came to be known as Icehouse Canyon. When these were filled with water and froze, Pieper cut and stored the ice. He hauled it into Globe by ox team and sold it for twenty-five cents a pound, mainly to saloons.

The Ice house Canyon Trail is one of a group of four main trails climbing the north slope of Mt. Pinal. The elevation and north facing slopes combine to create a surprisingly lush alpine microenvironment and some very enjoyable hikes. I believe the stands of Aspen near the top may be the closest to the Phoenix area to be found. If you can catch this area when the leaves are turning, it just doesn't get much better.

Although some old mine shafts still dot the area, it is noted mainly for its logging history. Many of the trails are remnants of old logging roads and ruins are numerous. The Icehouse trail is named for the road that was historically used to haul ice down from the mountain to the Globe and Miami. Although it is said the remnants of these old ice ponds can still be seen, we didn't happen to notice any.

The Icehouse trail, even more than the others, disguises a real workout with relaxing beauty. All of the trails generally start at the same 4500' elevation trailhead and finish near the top of the mountain at over 7500'. On the Icehouse, the climb is particularly unrelenting, accomplishing the gain in just 5 miles as opposed to its 6 mile sister trail, the Sixshooter/197. These trails are also popular with mountain bikers and from what I understand, best enjoyed as a one-way downhill via car shuttle.

One reason this area doesn't see more use is the lack of available resources describing the confusing network of roads and trails. I'm not sure why these trails are not shown on the USGS topos, but I have included GPS trail depictions and a road map that I hope will help the cause.

The Icehouse Canyon Trail #198 actually begins as the Telephone Trail #192 leaving the west side of the large Icehouse CCC Recreation Site / trailhead. From the sign, proceed through some manzanita scrub for about .2mi to the signed Icehouse Tr/198 intersection and go right. Head down across Icehouse Creek and up the other side and onto an old closed road. Follow the road for a short distance and watch for the trail to begin again on the left. You are now on the dry west slope of the canyon where the trail quickly deposits you back out onto the road. This rather steeply climbing road continues to the 1.3mi point where you come across a grouping of old water tanks and the signed Kellner Canyon Tr/ #242 intersection.

Remain straight uphill on the old road as it cuts above a steep rocky canyon and finally reaches the first stands of pine trees. From here the trail really changes character as it gradually enters the shadiness of a thick forest. At about the 2.3mi point the trail crosses Icehouse Creek where it once again rejoins the Telephone Trail #192 coming in from the left at Doghouse Spring. From what I could tell this "spring" is the small hole in the middle of the trail that is full of water and the "ruins" of an old cabin are a pile of boards. None the less, a very pretty little spot.

The Icehouse and Telephone trails run together here for only about 200' where the Telephone quickly departs again up the east slope to connect over to the Sixshooter Trail.

From here continue upstream crossing the creek several times. Soon you will come to a fork of sorts. The trail up to this point seems to be the remnants of an old logging road and at the fork it begins to head up to the right out of the creek bed. We followed it a short distance to the remains of an old mine shaft. Apparently it goes up to a spring at some point.

Stay in the creek bed and carefully follow the beaten path through many fallen small timbers. As you proceed further, the trail becomes more easily discernable. Continue up until nearing the head of the canyon. At about 4mi you will see a rock cairn marking the point where the trail cuts back to the left and departs the creek bed up the slope. Follow some steep switch backs till you finally top out on a small pullout road just off the main FR651. There are some nice spots to get a breather and a snack here before heading back down the same way.

We opted to join the lower half the Telephone Trail on our return to the trailhead and found it to be much nicer than the lower half of Icehouse and would recommend it as the preferable route between the two. Looking at the trail depictions, you can see that every trail offers an opportunity for several "loop" routes. Just use your imagination and enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-11-14 Fritzski
  • Official Fritzski Road Access Map > Road Access Map Trails Map < Official Fritzski Trails Map
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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.

Most recent of 59 deeper Triplog Reviews
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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East Pinals Loop
East Mountain Trail #214
The lower access isn't winning any awards. The upper trailhead and top quarter mile are blah. The core delivers. Fabulous distant views through tall pines. Low expectations transitioned to wows throughout. Per usual @PrestonSands wrote a nice description. Apparently this trail has received well deserved maintenance since 2006. If hiking the Pinals out of Autumn foliage, this will be on my radar.

Pioneer Trail #196
This trail has received serious trail maintenance since 2013. Great trail. Signage still says Squaw Spring 196. FS website still calling it Pioneer Trail 196.

Ferndell Trail #204
Year 'round winner, worthy for any loop.

Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
Bruce noticed the upper end was remarkably groomed and cut well into the slope. He's always correct. We passed a group of 9 ACE workers tackling multiple areas. New large aluminum water trough built to last installed over a half mile north of Telephone junction. No fire damage in the top mile or so. The torching builds down to Telephone junction. All traveled fine. No trees to climb over on any of our loop today, just easily stepped over a couple.

Telephone Trail #192 - Pinal
Icehouse side is torched for the most part. Views over to Kellner and down Icehouse are torched. Sixshooter side pines are mostly intact with some mixed burn. Trail itself is in decent condition.

Six Shooter Trail #197
Always a winner. We thought the 3/4 mile to Ferndale sign was missing a solid mile. Perhap a quarter mile short, the steep grade just feels like an extra

Better than anticipated multiple loop. We lucked out on temps averaging 5 degrees cooler than normal. 5k loops this close to the Sonoran Skillet in late June are likely not this nice.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Telephone Ridge - Icehouse Loop
Just what Tracey ordered, a beat-the-heat hike... instead of 103°, we suffered in the range from 62° to 70°.

On the drive up FR 651 we encountered a road crew doing a lot of erosion repair, at least some was as a result of fires over the last few years.

The hike on Telephone Ridge began easy enough until the steep downhill, when it wasn't long before the knees began their complaints. But as enjoyable as the day was I simply chose to ignore the complaints.

About a mile down the ridge we hit first of the burnt manzanita, which will continue for the next 2+ miles. My first thought, upon pondering all the black-and-blue marks I gained over the years while bush-whacking through manzanita, was, hmmm, manzanita is best enjoyed burnt.

Immediately my next thought was how can I show the beauty presented by burnt manzanita? So... if you decide to browse through the photoset, be forewarned, there are a LOT of burnt manzanita photos.

Finally out of the manzanita, we stopped at Doghouse Spring and soon found a few nice flat boulders for our picnic spot. While we were munching/cat-napping/'soaking' in the sounds of the babbling brook, a hummingbird decided to grace us with its presence, flitting back-and-forth a few times before dropping into the creek, first for a drink of water, then diving right in for a bath.

Whoa! By time I realized the opportunity, got my camera out and on, the bird-bath was over. ](*,)

But wait! On a hunch it may return, I left the camera on and waited, keeping the focus on the spot in the creek, and sure enough, the hummingbird returned for another round of bathing.
Wow! Here it is, a rare glimpse of a bathing hummingbird that I could capture on video! :y:

HOWEVER, unbeknownst to me until this moment , the SDHC card in my camera was unable to keep up with the 4K data-stream, to which the camera responded enough! and stopped filming. ](*,)
(Weird... because I've done a number of panorama videos with the same card with no issues. Could it be less data transfer was required for videos with lots of same-color sky, as compared to a complex background behind the hummingbird?)

WHATEVER... the video clip of the actual bath is barely 9 seconds. :doh:
I inserted the only still photo I had at the beginning of the clip and posted it on YouTube:
Video - Hummingbird bathing at Doghouse Spring

Ok, lunch, nap & excitement over, time for the arduous climb back up Icehouse Canyon. : rambo :
Other than the huffing-and-puffing, heart-pounding interspersed with a series of short breaks, the only excitement on the ascent was a snake encounter.

In the first instant I stopped dead, and without time to think I said Coral Snake! But once my old-and-slow brain kicked in and managed to retrieve yellow-on-black, friend of Jack from long-term memory, I realized it was an Arizona Mountain Kingsnake... nothing to be concerned with, except, GET A PHOTO!

Unfortunately, although I stopped 8-10 feet from the snake, by time I got the camera out it already felt vulnerable and immediately skedaddled under a log. ](*,)

Oh well, I'll have to settle for a few partial shots. But now if I happened to be a gummo-style herpetologist, I suppose I could have coaxed it out, wrapped it around my arm and got a selfie-with-snake, but Tracey was having none of that.

From then on it was simply moving onward and upward back to the car. Oh wait, one more thing... a new plastic pipeline has been laid roughly along the trail (replacing a fire-melted pipe?) with a new aluminum tank yet to be connected about halfway up. (See the tank photo for a bit of mirth... possibly, you'll have to have a sense of humor)

In the end it was another great day to be out enjoying the maples and pines... ok, the manzanita as well, as long as it's burnt. :M2C:

FINAL NOTE: I have since remedied the too-slow SDHC card, which failed to live up to it's advertised speed... beware of knock-off imitations. The card stated up to 90MB/sec, but when I ran a 'Black Magic' Disk Speed Test it barely reached 31MB/sec when writing. The replacement I got actually hits a 88MB/sec read AND write speed.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Up the Icehouse, over on roads through the developed area of cabins, on to Pinal Peak, which was a little of a let down and the best views were either on the road heading over, or on the middle Six Shooter later on, then descended a little to the 204, and took that to the Six Shooter. Used Linda's edited GPS route for AEG, guessed on the miles.

Fire changes were about what I expected in the lower elevations, with a little more pine and oak mortality in the lower forest area, with almost no mortality or damage in the maple and aspen on the Icehouse. Steeper north facing slopes seemed to have the most affects on the Six Shooter. Most of the Pinals didn't look like they should have, or would have 150 years ago, so if nothing else, things may eventually return to prior conditions, if there are continued lower intensity fires.

Probably earlier than ideal for this hike, as the leaves aren't out, and due to the wind there didn't appear to be bird calls. Lower level dust or wind blown filth hazed out the longer distance and even middle distance views. It was still nice.

The 2 main peaks here gave me more of an appreciation for the Mazatzals, as these are covered in trees and or microwave towers, where as Mazatzal Peak and north peak, are not, neither is Brown's. Aztec is nice, too, but pretty far from home for me, and trees and the flat nature of that summit make it less of a peak than a plateau. Just a thought.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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After waking up to warm sunlight flooding into my tent at the Icehouse Trailhead, I threw my pack together with thoughts of an Icehouse-Kellner loop and started down Icehouse Canyon Trail, into the golden aspens and chilly air. Morning light provided plenty of great photos of brilliant, backlit autumn maples, and I progressed slowly through the upper canyon. Farther down, I discovered what I believe may have been the old ice pond workers’ cabin site, uncovered by the Pinal Fire, complete with broken 1880’s beer bottle fragments. Came across a couple of new ice ponds that I had not seen before, as well.

Getting close to the Telephone Trail junction, I turned off on a side trail to the west to check out Fritzski’s “cave” mines. Could not find any information on these old mine tunnels, nor any sign of surface mineralization that would indicate what the miners might have been after. By the time I reached the second mine tunnel, I decided to off-trail-it up the western wall of Icehouse Canyon to hit the Kellner Canyon Trail at the 6600 foot contour. A few boulder mazes, scree slopes and nasty manzanita barriers later, I stumbled onto the freshly worked Kellner Canyon Trail, a veritable highway.

The majority of gambel oaks along Kellner were bright yellow and orange, with minimal burn damage to be seen. Had a fun deja vu moment approaching the Kellner Sawmill site that transported me back to my October 2010 hike here. I had forgotten how many old, rusted relics there were at the sawmill site, so I roamed around for a bit, taking in the scene. Upper Kellner Canyon proper was glowing with fall color.

The last leg of my loop took me down the Pinal Peak/651 Road back to the Icehouse Trailhead, with a short side hike on an unmarked road north of Signal Peak along the way. Hiked down the upper part of Telephone Ridge for a bit before calling it a day and driving home. I always enjoy me some Pinal time.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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It had been awhile since I’d had some quality time with Globey, so after attending to business in town, I made the bumpy drive up to the top of Icehouse on a Saturday afternoon. The road was in good shape overall, with only a couple of post-fire washouts where the road had been rebuilt. This was my first visit to the Pinals following the Pinal Fire of May 2017, and I was quite interested in seeing how the mountains had fared. The forests on top were largely in great condition, and had come through the fire with a forest floor clean out, mostly. Nice to see. I started down Icehouse that afternoon with the intention of doing a loop back via Telephone Trail and Telephone Ridge, but the aspens and maples gave such a show that I just stayed in Icehouse, shooting photo after photo. With daylight running low, I climbed out of Icehouse and dropped into upper Sixshooter Canyon for a quick hike. Fall color looked great there too. I went as far as the Telephone Trail junction, and explored the old Bremen Sawmill Site. Darkness arrived quickly, so I returned to the upper trailhead, and drove down the mountain into Globe for dinner at La Casita. After grabbing some snacks for the next day, I drove back up to the top of the Pinals again and camped out at the upper Icehouse Trailhead.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Six Shooter / Icehouse Loop
Met up with Kyle and Chumley and headed out in search of fall colors. We decided to head up into the Pinals. The weather would be cooler and the drive is not too bad. We started hiking on the Sixshooter Trail and headed up. We noticed right away a lot of burn from the fire earlier this year. There will be patchy burn for our entire hike. We continued up and saw some sporadic color as we neared the summit. Once up top we detoured to the east where there’s a ladder for climbing up to a viewpoint. After that we stopped by the peak and then headed over the west side where we took our lunch and enjoyed the views. From there we headed down Icehouse. The going was fairly easy as we enjoyed more sporadic color. We felt we were a week or two early. Temps rose as we neared the bottom and the final mile or two is a chore as you follow an old road that has greatly deteriorated. Once back to the TH we loaded up and headed over to Lost Dutchman State Park for Tibberfest! It was a nice day on the trails.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Pinals 2x Wussy Loop
I have no idea what kind of people think that the [ Pinal Mountains 4X Super Loop ] would be fun. That's just crazy talk! :sweat:

Looking at photos from previous years I thought colors would be pretty nice in the Pinals on this weekend, but we were definitely a little early. There was some color above 7000 feet, and even some pockets you might consider to be "prime" at the top, but there was a ton of green even high up and no sign of maples even starting to turn at their lower locations.

So next weekend should be pretty damn good, and two weeks should also be good, though the top will have certainly be past prime by then.

The fire damage was minimal on Sixshooter. Healthy burn with some dead trees surrounded by plenty that look healthy. There was some erosion along the trail but nothing that proved difficult to get by. A little maintenance next year would be good though.

Icehouse was an autumn wonderland up top, but turned green in the lower stretches and farther down entered the severe burn zone. The road at the bottom was a steep, rocky, miserable mess with absoutely no redeeming qualities. Despite the burn, I looked over and saw the singletrack trail cut of the lower Telephone trail and wondered if it wouldn't be a better option to take that trail down from the Doghouse Spring area instead of the Icehouse road. The mileage difference is only 1/10th a mile.

It was a nice day. Good to get back into the Pinals and happy to see the fire didn't get too crazy up in the higher elevation sweet spots.

Above 7000 feet it was great, but between 5000-7000 there was so much green that it will be better in a week, and probably still nice in two weeks. By then the higher elevations will be past prime though. This is the 2nd weekend in October. I think the 3rd weekend would be best here based on this year's conditions.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Icehouse-Sixshooter Loop
We decided to check out the Pinals today to see what the effects from the fire. We headed over to Icehouse Canyon and up. A lot of the manzanita burned on the lower parts--fine by me, I hate manzanita--but there was still generally a lot more green than black or brown. All the deadfall on Icehouse has been cleared, and the trail was in good shape. The higher we climbed, the less we saw evidence of fire, and the upper half of Icehouse looked almost completely normal. Very green right now, and last night's downpour on the mountain made for very nice conditions. We saw one other hiker on the way up, and when he told us what his planned hike was for the day, I almost too happily told him that he was not on the trail he thought he was on. His car was not at the trailhead when we finished, so he must have survived the day.

At the top of Icehouse, we headed over to Signal Peak. The views were hazy in all directions, but we had a quick snack break then headed over towards Ferndell. I forgot how green Ferndell is, and it was a pleasant walk up to Pinal Peak. I turned up the wrong road to the summit, so it was a short, but very overgrown, bushwhack up to where we wanted to be. Then we headed to the boulders at the east end of the peak and climbed the ladder up to the top rock and enjoyed the views for a few minutes, then headed back down for a lunch break.

We then headed back down Ferndell and then down Sixshooter. Again, the upper part of Sixshooter showed little fire evidence, but increased as we descended. There's one small section that has a few washouts. Most are easy to get across, but one was difficult for me. Other than that one spot, the rest of the trail is pretty much fine. I've never cared much for the lower half of Sixshooter, but I still like it more than Telephone. The last mile or two went by quickly, but it was finally warming up by the time we finished. Great weather today, cloudy and cool almost the entire time. And we only saw the one other hiker near the beginning of the hike. Nice day, and it was good to see that the fire damage really isn't that bad. Fall colors on Icehouse won't be affected by the fire at all.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Up the Six Shooter, over on the road to the Telephone Ridge, down that to the Telephone trail to the Ice House Canyon, and back to the TH. I guess the AEG is about right, but the miles is a total guess. It was a nice hike. Nice to be out of town, in some cool air, and the birds were really great. Heard only 1 Hermit Thrush in the Ice House area, but that was it. Great views to the north, the White Mts, and I think Blue Jay peak and the north end of the Pinalenos.
Icehouse Canyon Trail #198
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Icehouse-Sixshooter loop
Whitney and I decided to escape the heat and headed towards the Pinal Mountains today. We got started a little before 8am, and headed up Icehouse. It already felt a little warm along the bottom, and no breeze did not help. Once we got into the trees, it felt a lot better. Nearly all the drainages had running water, which made for great background noise. The lower part of Icehouse is in great shape, but the higher we climbed, the more we started commenting that the area must have had some pretty strong windstorms over the winter, because there were a lot of downed trees.

Pretty soon, the trail was covered in freshly downed trees, and in places, was difficult to follow. I think I kept us pretty close to the trail most of the way, but there were a few spots where I know we were off. After a very slow mile or so of picking our way over the trees, that started to clear, but was exchanged by snow. Icy snow on a steep, slanted trail--fun! So we had another slow mile, where I made confident promises that once we reached the road at the top there would be no more snow. I was mostly right.

We stopped for a break at the road, had lunch, and let our shoes dry, but there was no snow! We headed over to Signal Peak where, once again, there was proof of high winds in a tower that was twisted and broken into thirds. We looked around for a few minutes, then headed over towards Ferndell Spring, where the road was snow covered again. We had originally planned on going over to Pinal Peak as well, but the extra time we had taken on Icehouse, and knowing that the upper part of Six Shooter may be slow going made us scratch that off our plan for the day. Six Shooter had plenty of snow, but was much easier to navigate than Icehouse, but the trees were just as much of a pain. Once we got below the snow and trees, it was smooth sailing back to the car, but that last mile or so always seems to drag on forever!

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
Lower Trailhead: From Globe and turn right (south) on Hill St just past mile marker 251. There is a sign for Pinal Mountain Recreation Area. Follow the Recreation area signs. About 2.5 miles from town, Forest Service Road #112 (Icehouse Canyon Rd) intersects with Forest Service Road #222 (Sixshooter Canyon Road). From there, bear right on #112 (Icehouse Canyon Rd). Proceed about 5 miles to the CCC Recreation Area / Trailhead on the left side of the road. The last mile is unpaved, but graded and easily traveled by car.

Upper Trailhead: (Ripped with a smile from Preston's Ferndell hike) At the junction of highways 60 & 188 in Globe, turn right (south) onto Russel Road. Continue south along Russel Road for about 0.3 miles. The main road will bend to the left becoming Golden Hill/Central Avenue. Russel Road will branch to the right. Remain on Russel Road! When the pavement ends, Forest Road 55 begins. Stay on FR 55 until you reach the junction with FR 651. Distance from highway 60 to FR 651 junction is about 6.3 miles. Turn right (south) on FR 651... and follow ABOUT 11 miles to unmistakably marked trailhead. There is no official parking lot, but plenty of room.
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