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Pine Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2022-01-11
18 by photographer avatarLJW
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Pine Mountain Loop, AZ 
Pine Mountain Loop, AZ
 
Hiking19.50 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking19.50 Miles   8 Hrs   55 Mns   2.63 mph
4,500 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Finally got around to reaching Pine Mountain summit and completing the Ballantine Trail. Did it as a loop and checked off the rest of the 143 connector I hadn't done. Added in new ground east and south of Ballantine Cabin, and it ended up a day of new places in a familiar area, and my first trip back around since the Bush Fire.

Parked along the loop on 143 and started with the connector trail. It seemingly gets most of its traffic from dirt and mountain bikers heading to the cabin. For this it is easy to follow but eroded in the middle. Slippery with crushed granite. Clear water sliding over the sand in the many washes.

Over the ridge at Boulder Flat and to the Cabin. Went SE straight to the corral along the old ranching tracks. There are some cairns and the grade is there in places but it is a bushwhack with a healthy amount of catclaw. Breaked on a boulder and started the climb.

Ballantine Trail before the climb out of the Canyon to Rock Tank is almost entirely gone for the fire. Opted to stay in the mostly flat and sandy creek bed along the light flow of water. There was some quicksand, and I sank my leg in to my knee. It was fairly easy going and minimal bushwhacking. Where the trail still existed along/above the banks was obvious.

The trail for the climb out is in good shape, or at least it is easy to follow. The trail finds its way back to the creekbed shortly after Rock Tank. From Rock Tank to the saddle there was minimal fire damage. The trail from the Pine Connect #80 jct to the saddle is probably the most beautiful portion, as it climbs through the dense forest of old orange pines. It is very difficult to follow for this section, however. From top to bottom Ballantine has about as diverse of scenery of any trail I've been on.

From the saddle went up to the summit. Stayed farther north coming down and had an easier time in the open terrain under the pines. Way better views than expected. Four Peaks look much better from Pine Mountain than vice versa. Ballantine between the saddle and Cline TH is easy to follow but in appalling shape. Super eroded and slippery, a little overgrown. Roadwalked back and was passed by a few cars. Didn't see any hikers all day.

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Picadilla Creek @ FR 143 Crossing Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Rock Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Flowing strongest on Ballantine at Rock Tank and up
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