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East - Pinal - Signal Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-06-06
13 by photographer avatarLJW
photographer avatar
 
East - Pinal - Signal Loop, AZ 
East - Pinal - Signal Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2020
LJW
Hiking22.06 Miles 5,062 AEG
Hiking22.06 Miles   7 Hrs   58 Mns   3.06 mph
5,062 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Had never been to the Pinal Mountains before. Recent triplogs, particularly a post from @hikerdw about East Mountain, had me waiting for temps in June to chill out for a day or two. Being a first timer, wanted to see as much as possible. Started up the road from Ice House CCC with East Mountain the first summit on the docket and no firm plan on how I'd come back down from the mountains after Signal Peak.

Got to enjoy the least enjoyable parts of not only Six Shooter but Ice House too. Day only got better. Lower Six was smooth and made the going easy. Six Shooter and Una Del Oso had a surprising flow of water. Windy and cool at sunrise.

Toll Road makes for nice hiking. Was under pines in under an hour. From there the whole route was delightful. East Mountain maybe my favorite trail on the day. Once the trail makes the ridgeline, the views open up and balance out the pine forest lower down. East Mountain summit from the north is steep but clear. Thousands of ladybugs on the summit living their complicated lives. South ridge is thick with manzanita, but there are seams. Opted to come down the west side. Very steep but clear and rejoins the trail in one of its best stretches.

Passed two groups of hikers around Pioneer Pass. Pioneer is dense with ferns and undergrowth, smooth and never too steep. Saw a small rattlesnake. Trickle from Squaw Spring.

Pinal Peak and the ridge under it have more or less the same views as Signal and the road below it, only it's all farther away. Cold and windy on top. From Pioneer Pass and again at the peak, smoke was visible in the Southern Pinals.

Ferndell is a half mile gem that carries along the slopes toward Six Shooter through dense forest. Showcase of the diversity of trees on the loop. Road walk to Signal was nice and shady. Little car and foot traffic given how perfect the weather on top was.

Signal Peak LO was occupied by a man named Jerry. At least I think so, bad with names. When we met he was luring a squirrel to his doorstep. Asked about the fire. He said it was on BLM land and they had an engine on either side. ~30acres. Conversation ensued. Aztec Peak, Ed Abbey, the nature of looking out, Pinals in October. We agreed that I should save Six Shooter or Icehouse for the fall and finish up on Kellner. Bigger views, play to the season.

Kellner was in good shape but had the rockiest tread of the day. Starts in the canyon, ends up on the mountainside, beautiful either way. Meets up with the lower mile or so of Icehouse, which wasn't too bad. Views of Globe and the San Carlos Reservation. Crossing the creek back to the road I think uses Telephone 192. Only saw two groups of hikers on the trip. Not too many cars. Road is good for low clearance all the way to Pinal Peak, and if I had to bet Pioneer Pass as well.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Kellner Canyon Spring Dripping Dripping
A guess based on water in the creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Six Shooter Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Squaw Spring Dripping Dripping
Good enough flow, runoff from pipes and fenced-off spring box.
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