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Pioneer Trail #196, AZ

Guide 33 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.5 of 5 
no permit
1 Active
252 33 3
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,156 feet
Elevation Gain 1,637 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,637 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.79
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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18  2020-10-31
Pinal East
25  2020-10-22
East Pinal Ladder
20  2020-10-21
East Mountain Sixshooter Loop
13  2020-06-06
East - Pinal - Signal Loop
9  2020-05-26
Pinal Peak 7848
6  2020-05-16
Six Pioneer East Loop
7  2019-10-26
Upper Icehouse - Six Shooter via Pioneer Trail
21  2019-10-26
Upper Icehouse - Six Shooter via Pioneer Trail
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Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,617
Trips 1,516 map ( 7,711 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:32am - 7:27pm
Official Route
10 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2021 Telegraph Fire266.7 mi**
🔥 2017 Pinal Fire7.2k
🔥 2000 Peak Fire1.1k
🔥 2000 Peak Fire12.4 mi*
🔥 2000 Peak13.9 mi*
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles
**possible voids inflate figure

Oak Alley
by PrestonSands

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Note: Written and previously know as Squaw Spring Trail #196

The Squaw Spring Trail is a lesser-known route to the top of 7848 foot Pinal Peak, up the eastern side of the mountain. There are great views and beautiful forests along this hike.

Beginning at the Pioneer Pass Trailhead at the head of Pinal Creek, begin following the signed Squaw Spring Trail #196 up an old jeep road as it climbs away from the west side of Pioneer Pass. The road soon turns into an easily followed trail as it turns west to climb the ridge up to Pinal Peak. The first of many Gambel Oak tree groves begin to appear along here as the trail continues its steady climb.

After about a half-mile, the trail turns north and passes through some thickets of tall manzanita. There are some great views of the long ridge known as East Mountain, the San Carlos Apache Reservation, and the Dripping Spring Mountains through the forest of Ponderosa Pine, Gambel Oak, and New Mexico Locust. As the trail climbs higher, Gambel Oaks become the predominant tree. At the 7000 foot level, there are some small Rocky Mountain Maple trees along the trail, and a couple larger ones are in the ravine to the north. A knee-high, fern-like groundcover begins to appear here, and will carpet the mountainsides along the trail for the rest of the way to the peak.

Once the trail reaches the 7200-foot saddle, the climb eases up for a short way before the last push to the summit. Continuing upward through a pine/fir forest, you will soon come to the site of Squaw Spring and its series of black plastic water pipes, all of which is behind barbed wire and chain-link fencing (probably to keep the cows out). I saw a little bit of stagnant water in a metal tub next to the trail. Be careful not to lose the trail here among the myriad of game trails (the Squaw Spring Trail stays south of the fenced area). Shortly past the spring, the switchbacks end, and the trail passes through a cattle gate. You're almost there. Just continue to follow the trail as it gently climbs a shallow, forested gulch. Soon the trail arrives at a meadow, and the radio towers come into view. The Squaw Spring Trail comes to an end at forest road 651, near the large dirt parking lot of the Pinal Peak Trailhead. The top of this sky island yields excellent views and a few alpine fir trees among the Gambel Oaks. It is just a short walk to the official top of Pinal Peak (the radio towers directly in front of you). Return the way you came, and enjoy the views on the way down!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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.

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

2006-10-26 PrestonSands
    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
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From the highway 60/highway 188 junction in Globe, head east on hwy 60 for 2.9 miles. Turn left onto Broad Street at the stoplight. Follow Broad Street for 1.1 miles, then turn right at the fork, where you will immediately cross railroad tracks and a bridge (this becomes Six-Shooter Road). Follow Sixshooter Road for 0.9 miles, then turn right onto Icehouse Canyon road. After 1.75 miles on Icehouse Canyon Road, Kellner Canyon Road splits to the right. Stay left, and follow the road another 8.25 miles to Pioneer Pass (the site of Pioneer Pass Trailhead, 10.0 miles from Sixshooter Road).
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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