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Mount Baldy Loop
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mini location map2010-07-28
36 by photographer avatargpsjoe
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Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 28 2010
gpsjoe
Hiking15.00 Miles 2,430 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   7 Hrs   20 Mns   2.05 mph
2,430 ft AEG
 
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SUN_HIKER
I drove up route 60 through Globe and onto Show Low crossing the Salt River at the San Carlos Indian reservation. Past the Salt River on 60 (where the rest stop is closed at this time) there is major road construction so I would avoid this route during work hours. I don't know if they work on weekends, probably not. Our line of cars had to wait about 1/2 hour for an escort vehicle to take us through the active construction area and that was 5 miles long which we did at 5 to 10 mph.

After diner Sun_Hiker and I drove 260 to 273 taking it to the Winn Campground which is open and quite active right now. Route 273 has plenty of construction activity until 1/4th mile before the West Baldy trailhead where the road is now paved after that. We drove 273 at 6:00 PM Tuesday and it was wet, muddy and rutted from recent rain but construction was over for the day. Wednesday after the hike we went back that way and the road was dry but we had to wait 15 minutes for an escort through the active construction area. There are other routes to get there on paved or good dirt roads but theses all involve adding miles to what is already a long drive from Phoenix and I would use 273 if I went back there again but only with a high clearance 4WD vehicle (4WD for mud if it is wet).

The new paved part of 273 and the new East and West Baldy trailheads are really nice. The trails were remarkably clear and easy to hike. When we hiked the loop in 2008 there was mega deadfall resulting in a tough hike. On this hike we did 15+ miles in 7 hours 20 minutes averaging a hair over 2 mph which is good for this old guy. That is a tribute to the excellent condition of the trails at this time.

We did a car shuttle parking my car at the East Baldy TH and started the hike from the West Baldy TH. We hiked West Baldy beyond its intersection with the East Baldy trail and on to what has been called White Man's peak because it appears to be the last peak on Forest Service land. It is very close and about the same elevation as the Baldy Peak which is on the Indian reservation. A number of hikers including my partner went on to true Baldy Peak (1/2 mile past White Man's Peak) without consequence.

On the return trip on the East Baldy trail we joined up with a father-son combination and gave them a ride back to their car at the West Baldy TH. This is one of AZs best hikes and I re-do it every 2 years or so. Hope to get back there again. Our weather was perfect all day but we encountered major monsoon rains on the drive back to Phoenix.

The posted picture set includes a few taken near the Salt River on route 60. These are not geocoded but the hike photos are.

Anyone considering doing the loop should start from the East Baldy TH. That is because the stem you must hike to get into the loop is 1.3 miles from the West Baldy TH and only 0.2 miles from the East Baldy TH. That translates into an extra 2.2 miles of hiking if you start from the West Baldy TH.
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128 Photosets

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  2010-07-28
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