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West Pinto - Spencer Spring Loop - 2 members in 4 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 20 2015
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 34
 Photos 2,417
 Triplogs 1,167

64 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Miles Ranch, AZ 
Miles Ranch, AZ
 
Car Camping avatar Mar 20 2015
mazatzal
Car Camping23.00 Miles 4,900 AEG
Car Camping23.00 Miles
4,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Our 17th annual spring break trip for the 2-3 of us (Max and I haven’t done all 17 but Jim has). Good times.
This year we chose Miles Ranch and must give some HAZ appreciation to Lee for sure on this one: thanks for all the suggestions and useful info.

After 30 years of AZ hiking I finally make it to one of FOTG’s favorites :lol: I’m not sure why I hadn’t been here but I think perhaps the massive open pit mines had something to do with it.

Day 1
West Pinto out to Spencer and up to Cement Spring. On the way back we took Cuff Button up to a bit beyond Jerky Spring which was down the side slope.
We got about 3 hours rain in late afternoon but it eased up by 6pm.

Day 2
Paradise to Government Hill ridge and over to Bull Basin. We saw a total of 8 deer (one large buck) on the ridge part of this trip. The descent to Bull Basin we got in some heavy brush that was gnarly :sweat: On our return to Miles we saw 2 Toyotas with HAZ decals :)

Day 3
Out and back from Haunted Canyon upper TH. Saw one hiker, the only person we saw all weekend.

Stopped at AZW on the way back :)
Flora
Flora
Woolly Paintbrush
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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5 archives
Mar 08 2014
rehlers
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 Routes 5
 Photos 58
 Triplogs 44

45 male
 Joined Apr 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
West Pinto - Spencer Spring LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 08 2014
rehlers
Hiking16.00 Miles 4,080 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.68 mph
4,080 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I started from Roger's Trailhead on West Pinto, then to Spencer Spring, and returning along FR650 road. The Spencer Spring trail lived up to its reputation over the last 2 miles or so. The overgrowth was not as bad for me as the route finding. I'd recommend going in the first 2-2.5 miles from W. Pinto and not going further.

Trail Conditions
West Pinto - amazing, even better than last time. The early part just out from roger's trailhead has been cleaned up and a sign installed at the confusing area. No overgrowth really to speak of, a stray plant here or there. Easy to follow and beautiful.

Spencer Spring (estimated mileages from West Pinto Trail
(0-2.5 miles) A relaxing and beautiful hike. Not too much overgrowth and fairly easy to follow. Someone put up a lot of cairns and I added more where I ran into problems. Some spots do get a little tricky, but since you are always very close to the stream, its hard to get too far off course
(2.5-3 miles) The trail becomes pretty hard to keep track of, mostly there are just cairns every so often to make you feel not lost. Finding and keeping a trail can be extremely difficult in this section.
(3-3.6 miles) This is where you have to look for the climb up the northern side of the canyon, as mentioned in the description. If you manage to find the trail up, it is very faint and disappears in some parts. I lost it completely and had to bushwack around for awhile, even with a GPS in hand and the route downloaded from here.
(3.6=4.3 miles) This section was also hard to follow, but not nearly as bad. The trail is faint and easy to lose, but with GPS you can keep it. Its also high up now, so you can many times see where it is going. There were sections of extreme overgrowth, but 99% of the plants I had to push through had no thorns (no cat claw), so it was a matter of raising my arms up and just walking through the dense and tall brush. The trail wasn't too hard to follow in this overgrown section, as any other direction was impassible for the most part.

FR650 road. Easy enough after the climb up. It goes quick after Spencer. The 'short cut' to roger's trailhead seemed to start out just along a creek. I didn't bother with it as the sun had already set and I didn't need another route finding disaster with no light. I got back to the trailhead via the road in about 20 minutes from the short cut turn off anyway, so I can't imagine it saving that much time.
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Apr 01 2006
Grasshopper
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 Guides 47
 Routes 487
 Photos 8,980
 Triplogs 551

76 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
West Pinto - Spencer Spring LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2006
Grasshopper
Hiking15.00 Miles 4,080 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   10 Hrs      1.50 mph
4,080 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
topohiker
I was just checking out the "W" listed hikes in our hike data base, and came across THIS ONE :roll: , which brought back some very vivid memories of how two of us spent APRIL FOOLS DAY-2006!!

On that beautiful April Fools Day, our original plan was to hike the W.Pinto Trail#212 from Rogers Trough TH (leaving at 9:30am) to the other end at the Miles TH, then back... this would have been an 18 mile hike, but by the time the two of us arrived at the Spencer Tr intersection with the West Pinto Tr (about 7 miles in), we were already so chewed-up from cats claw and frustrated with so much trail overgrowth and negotiating downed trees on that West Pinto Tr section, that we decided it had to be easier to take the Spencer Tr#275, its ~4.6 miles back up to FR650 and then just walk on the forest road, the ~3.5 additional miles back to our vehicle and Rogers Trough TH.

Little did we know what was in-store for us on the Spencer Trail hike section... I won't bore you with all the details, but this LONG 4.6 mile SPENCER TRAIL HIKING SECTION is without doubt, the most difficult route finding hike I have yet to do in the past 3 years I have been hiking the Superstitions. It is really a beautiful, scenic view trail with a lot of elevation gain and loss and running seasonal creeks, BUT once you hike in for a distance, once committed!!.. The overgrowth-cats claw on this trail is very bad and there are numerous spots where the carins just end or become very confusing and you can and probably will wander around trying to find the next correct segment of the trail. IF hiked correctly and IF this loop hike really is 14 miles (I think it is more like 16 miles with the walk on FR650), then on 4/1/06 my hiking buddy and I wandered around to find the correct trail for an additional 1 mile at least. With the Superstition Wilderness Map, a GPS, and two of us to sort out the options, we finally arrived at FR650 at 6:30pm,(30 minutes before dark).. then we hiked on FR650 for 2 miles after dark, then I waived down a pick-up truck for a ride the additional ~1.5 miles back to ROGERS TROUGH TH and our vehicle... I think it was after 10:30pm before we arrived home!... IF you decide to do this loop hike, just re-read and note: ALL THAT IS DETAILED IN THE ORIGINAL HIKE WRITE-UP STILL APPLIES TO THIS LOOP HIKE..and..THEN SOME! I am glad I did this hike as it was a big accomplishment for me, but next time I plan a hike on April Fools Day, I will put a lot more thought into where I decide to go when I plan to start hiking at 9:30am.. 8)
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Dec 28 2004
Tim
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 Guides 10
 Triplogs 431

60 male
 Joined Feb 25 2002
 Scottsdale
West Pinto - Spencer Spring LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2004
Tim
Hiking14.00 Miles 4,080 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   2.15 mph
4,080 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've wanted to make this hike for some time and my buddy Paul agreed to tackle it with me on Tuesday, December 28th. It was a nice partly sunny day with temperatures in the low 40's when we started and they hit the lower to mid 50's by noon. After a 1 ¾ hour drive from South Scottsdale, we pushed off at 8:15 from the Rogers Trough Trail Head in a clockwise direction. After 15 minutes, we were up the hill at Rogers Spring which was flowing nicely. It took us about ½ hour to make the 700 ft. climb to the first saddle on south side of Iron Mountain. The views into the eastern Superstitions and Pinto Peak to the northeast were stunning. After heading down the 400 ft. eastern slope of Iron Mountain to Iron Mountain Spring, (dry), the trail heads 300 ft. up a drainage north to a ridge that runs pretty much due east. From the saddle to the top of this ridge there was evidence of the Forest Service having been out doing some recent trail maintenance. The trail was not overgrown at all and was in very good shape. From the top of this ridge it's pretty much a steady down hill all the way to Oak Flat and the intersection with the Spencer Spring Trail. While all of the leaves were down at Oak Flat, it is still a pretty place. It took us 3 hours to traverse the 6.5 miles to the end of the West Pinto Trail at Oak Flat.

As we started the gradual climb up Spencer Creek, I shed my fleece and was quite comfortable in just a t-shirt. Having been on this part of the trail before, I knew what lay ahead, and wasn't looking forward to it. (smile) As Fritzski has pointed out, the trail doubles back at the 9.5 mile mark as it crosses the creek for the last time. From this point the trail is faint at best and a real bush whack. One can get 5 feet off the trail and not know it. Cairns are pretty much non-existent and the climb up hill is steep and very overgrown. (Some serious Forest Service maintenance is needed on this 1 mile stretch.) We eventually arrived at Spencer Spring where it was decision time. We saw the cairns pointing out the trail heading due south up steep hill to Forest Service Road 650. Rather than hike the road, we elected to continue west up the creek. We figured this "short cut" would save some mileage and save some time. (We had some concerns about rain in the forecast.) WRONG! I should know better by now.

It was a fun scramble up the creek bed but it was slow going picking one's way around the various obstacles. Our plan was to hit the old closed off portion of the Forest Service road that winds down into Spencer Creek a little ways. While no longer drivable, it is a virtual highway for hiking. (This closed road is clearly, and accurately, shown on the Beartooth Map. The Forest Service has erected an earthen berm where it intersects FR 650.) Unfortunately, we stayed in the creek bed too long and instead of intersecting this old road, we ended up paralleling it. (One wants to stay well right of the creek bed and out of the "green" area on the topo map so as to intersect this closed road.) Then to make matters worse, we got sucked into heading south up what appeared to be a clear exit up a drainage to FR 650. This was a virtual lobster trap that ended up with a ridiculous bush whack up the last 100 ft. to the road. We ended up hitting FR 650 a good ¼ mile east of our planned exit. From there it was roughly a mile and a 1/2 and 30 minutes back to the trailhead. Originally, we planned on taking the shortcut back to the trail head, (it's easy to find as it's where the creek bed crosses the road between to hills), but by this point in time, we had had enough of bush whacking short cuts. (smile) Actually, it didn't look to bad at all and it probably would have gotten us back just as quickly. ½ dozen one, 6 the other. In retrospect, I'd still recommend exiting up the creek, (provided you hit the old road), rather than slogging up the hill from Spencer Spring and hiking 3 miles of FR 650. All told, our GPS unit had the loop right at 14 miles and it took us 6 ½ hours with a 15 minute lunch break. It was a lot of work and I was thoroughly exhausted at the end.
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average hiking speed 1.78 mph

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.

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