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Mount Baldy Loop - 56 members in 113 triplogs have rated this an average 4.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 05 2019
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 15
 Routes 205
 Photos 2,535
 Triplogs 190

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
East Baldy-West Baldy Loop, AZ 
East Baldy-West Baldy Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 05 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking18.70 Miles 3,021 AEG
Hiking18.70 Miles   7 Hrs   44 Mns   2.98 mph
3,021 ft AEG   1 Hour   28 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I really enjoy this hike, and I figured that this was a good weekend to head up to the White Mountains.

The weather was super, and while there were some yellow aspen leaves, we were probably a week or so too early to see a full explosion of aspens in their autumn glory.

We went up the East Baldy Trail; came down the West Baldy Trail; and then took the Crossover Trail back to the East Baldy Trail. I like both Baldy Trails, but the Crossover Trail isn't my favorite. This time it was easy to cross the river shortly after getting on the Crossover Trail. We did take a short diversion near the East Baldy-West Baldy junction. On the East Baldy Trail I went past the airplane wreckage, and had to backtrack about 300'-400' to see some of the wreckage.
Named place
Named place
Mount Baldy
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
There were some yellow aspen leaves, but I was probably a week to early to see a full explosion of yellow aspen leaves.
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Sep 21 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
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 Routes 78
 Photos 7,233
 Triplogs 2,564

58 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking29.92 Miles 3,401 AEG
Hiking29.92 Miles   13 Hrs   18 Mns   2.47 mph
3,401 ft AEG   1 Hour   11 Mns Break
 
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
I had thought about doing the Baldy Loop from Greer for a few years. I mentioned it to Linda on one of our local hikes and to my :o she was interested and ok with a early start time! Joe B jumped on board and it was a go :y: .
The departure time, cache set up and hike start time went great. We started a few minutes before the planned time of 5am. We walked down the middle of main street for our first mile and not one car interrupted our stroll :) . We started on East Fork and crossed the LCR without incident . Headlamps were only needed for another mile. The Aspen in the burn area are up to 15 or 20 ft. now. We heard the first of the Elk bugling in this area and it would continue off and on the rest of the hike. The second half of East Fork is overgrown with grass. The grass was no bother to our legs and Route Scout kept us on trail. We saw our first of many Elk on this section and one Coyote.
We grabbed our cache and headed up East Baldy. A nice section. The hoodoos with the Aspen and the views for miles our my favorite part of the East Baldy side. Only a couple down trees on this section. The climb with the Altitude hit me more then I thought it would :( . My pace slowed and by the time we got to the East/West junction I didn't have a summit in me. Joe and Linda wouldn't do it without me so we took a break and got ready for our next section. The Loop itself was our main objective.
West Baldy is a little chewed up on the top half mile from runoff. After that the trail is pretty good and only has a handful of downed trees in the (tree dead zone :scared:). The grassland along with the LCR on the lower section are my favorite on the West Baldy. This was my first time on the section between the crosscut and West Baldy trailhead. We grabbed our cache here, took a break and were ready for our final section.
Once we got on trail the West Fork was easier to follow then the East Fork. Once we started hitting open grass areas the Elk sightings would really pick up. It was very 8) to see a herd of cow Elk follow a big Bull Elk around with his every move. We saw this several times :y: . There were a few smaller bulls mixed in here and there as well. The bugling continued as well. This section was our shortest but we were tired so it seemed a little long :? . We finished before dark which was another goal as well :D .
The weather was great and the company top notch! Thanks to Linda for doing all the driving and Joe for making sure she was awake for it. Like Haz, you two rock!
I also want to thank you for putting up with my bellyaching! A lot of Hazers have joined me or let me join them on some epic hikes and backpack trips. Thanks to all of you. The bellyache is gone in a day but the memories :) :D :y: !!!!
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Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
1 archive
Sep 21 2019
LindaAnn
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 Guides 22
 Routes 359
 Photos 2,325
 Triplogs 951

39 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Mt Baldy Super Loop, AZ 
Mt Baldy Super Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2019
LindaAnn
Hiking29.74 Miles 3,445 AEG
Hiking29.74 Miles   13 Hrs   19 Mns   2.46 mph
3,445 ft AEG   1 Hour   13 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Denny had his sights set on doing a Baldy Marathon & 5K. We left the Valley around midnight, and got to the Greer area at 0400. We cached water at the East & West Baldy trailheads along hwy 273 so that we wouldn’t have to carry water for the whole distance nor have to spend time filtering, then parked at the West Fork trailhead at the north end of Greer. Not much of a trailhead, but there’s room for about four vehicles to park east of the sign.

Got started around 0450 and walked the main road south through Greer to the East Fork trailhead. We immediately crossed the Little Colorado and started climbing up to Amberion Flat. The trail is more defined through this part and easy to follow. After a couple of miles, the trail fades significantly in places and becomes a search of fiberglass signs, cairns, and deciding which trampled path in the grass is a real trail. Using a gps track helped take a lot of the guesswork out of the way for a few miles. After a while, the trail became more defined again and turned into a series of passing through as many gates as possible before reaching the road. We saw a coyote running towards two elk, which was kind of fun to watch.

Short walk north on Hwy 273 to the East Baldy trailhead. We picked up our cached drinks and headed up the trail. And up. Reasonably easy incline, but with so many miles already behind us, it was a little more challenging than usual. I think there was only one downed tree crossing the trail, which was nice. The elevation was not Denny’s friend today, so at the East/West saddle, we opted to skip the side trip so the summit and headed down West Baldy after a short break.

The top of West Baldy has seen some recent erosion from runoff, but overall in good shape, with only three or four downed trees to deal with. The lower part of this trail is always my favorite with the trail on the grassy windswept hillside and the river running down below. Once at the West Baldy trailhead, we picked up our remaining cache, which it turned out we didn’t need, and took a short break before beginning the West Fork trail.

Finding the start of West Fork was a little challenging. It turns out you walk under the highway on the north side of the trailhead. There’s a gate immediately on the east side of the highway where the trail begins. West Fork is reasonably easy to follow, with cairns and signs helping in a few places. After listening to bugling elk all day, we were treated to almost endless elk sightings along most of this trail. Eventually, the trail descended into Greer, and the sight of the vehicle parked right next to the trailhead was most welcome.

Great hike, absolutely perfect weather, and great company. We got back to the Valley just after 2230. Driving to Greer and back in one day is usually a full day in itself, and throwing a 30 mile hike into the middle of that definitely makes for a big day.
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Aug 29 2019
hiking_arizona
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 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Photos 11
 Triplogs 2

male
 Joined Mar 13 2002
 
East Baldy Trail #95 to Hoodoo OverlookAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 29 2019
hiking_arizona
Hiking2.50 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles      45 Mns   3.33 mph
900 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
A nice 900 foot climb in 2.5 miles through some amazing meadows and forest to an incredible overlook.

My trusty super hiker (who soon turns 70 years young) had a date to install a water softener back in Tucson but did this climb in nearly nearly 45 minutes each way while I continued onward to the high perch.
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11 archives
Aug 24 2019
emilystardust
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 Triplogs 190

37 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 24 2019
emilystardust
Hiking19.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking19.00 Miles
2,880 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We started at West Baldy and went counter clockwise this time. Hardly saw any people heading up, but there were a few at the intersection with East Baldy and many throughout East Baldy on the way down. We met the new chairwoman for the White Mountain Apache Tribe at the summit, which I thought was pretty cool.
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1 archive
Aug 01 2019
mt98dew
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 Guides 16
 Routes 19
 Photos 398
 Triplogs 1,454

50 male
 Joined Oct 24 2010
 Phoenix,Az
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2019
mt98dew
Hiking17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking17.00 Miles   5 Hrs   35 Mns   3.04 mph
2,880 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 5 of Pinetop vacation :y: Mount Baldy :D :D . After having driven by the TH the day before on a family road trip, this quickly moved to the front of the line of potential hikes. Heavy rains from the previous day made me a little worried about trail conditions, but decided to go for it anyway. Drive from Pinetop was interesting. Patchy fog and roadside elk encounters got the blood flowing even before I got in the trail. Got on the trail a little after 5am. As recommended in the trail description, I took the connector over to West Baldy first. I quickly discovered that my concern for trail conditions were misplaced. Though wet, the trails were firm throughout, with the exceptions of a few puddles. My true concern should have been on rain heavy, dew laiden low lying foliage. By the time I hit the second meadow I was soaked from shorts down to my socks. Almost exclusively from meadow crossings. It was at this second meadow crossing that I came upon 14 elk. With the early morning fog, the sun just rising, an array of flowers and the elk it was picturesque. Got my garmin out to take a picture and.......it froze! ](*,) Not only froze, but apparently killed my garmin. I spent several minutes trying to turn it off and on, take the batteries out and put them back in, all to no avail! ](*,) ](*,) . Sigh. I was resigned to complete this hike sans my beloved garmin. On the bright side it allowed me to keep plugging along without having to stop for any annoying pictures.

The hike to West Baldy (and the Little Colorado) was a little bit of a surprise. I was expecting it to be more "gorge-like". Instead, it was a steady descent, enshrouded in trees, that opened up to a babbling brook and a meadow. Basically when I hit the Little Colorado, I hit West Baldy. The trail was just on the other side of the brook. From here the West Baldy Trail parallels the river for the next 1.5 - 2.0 miles gaining elevation very gradually. This is a beautiful section of the Baldy Loop (and in my mind, this loop can be broken down into 3 sections: meadows, forest and rocks). This initial section was very meadow heavy with pockets of trees, bounded by the Little Colorado on the left and steep grassy slopes to the right. Picture perfect. ](*,) After that I hit the trees. And trees were the theme for a majority of the hike. The climb to the "summit" didn't seem that bad. I was probably in the woods for .75 miles before crossing a stream and really start to gain some elevation. A nice surprise was that the elevation gain was not (primarily) through switchbacks. As the trail climbed, it just kept wrapping around the mountain. It wasn't until I hit the dead trees that I encountered switchbacks. This brought me to the best views from the top. Still not at the highest point, but as I went a.ong the ridgeline I got some nice views in all directions. It was right around where I saw a beautiful blue grouse show casing himself on log, tails feathers spread. Real cool. Only the second one I've ever seen.

The "summit" was anticlimactic. There was simply a sign saying East Baldy this way, and West Baldy that way. I was surrounded by trees, so there were no views. And if it wasn't for the write-ups in HAZ I wouldn't have known about the no trespassing past this point. Besides for a few branches across the user trail there was no indication of "no trespassing". The hike down was nice, though very much like the hike up, with a few exceptions. Right around the deadfall area there was a beautiful field of violet colored flowers. About a mile after the flowers I came upon another grouse! :D Then there were the rock formations. A nice break from the forest. Kind of Bryce-esque, without the color and the jaggedness. Very cool though!! Also in this same area - the trees! Talk about massive. It wasn't so much their stature that impressed as the bark. Sounds funny, I know. But the bark reminded me of the Redwoods of California. It just gave me the impression that these guys have been around forever. From there it wasn't far to the meadow and then the TH.

Only saw 4 hikers all told. Two solo hikers on West Baldy and a father and daughter on the East. Weather was perfect! Blue skies with a few patchy clouds and temps in the mid 60 when I finished. Great hike. Definitely one worth doing again. Mileage is based off of trail description, since my garmin was acting as a pocket weight today :(

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mount Baldy Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Occurs in the field of flowers. Trail crosses right above it. Pleasant surprise to see it flowing so well.
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1 archive
Jun 27 2019
LJW
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 Photos 125
 Triplogs 123

25 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2019
LJW
Hiking18.67 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking18.67 Miles   7 Hrs   27 Mns   3.01 mph
3,200 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I got permission from The Tribal Chairwoman of the White Mountain Apache to hike to the summit of Mount Baldy within 48 hours of making my initial request. I printed the signed memorandum to bring with me. There was some confusion among passers-by on the trail, but yes "permits" to summit Baldy as an outsider do exist.

Started from the East Baldy Trailhead ten minutes after sunrise, and I quickly worked my way over to West Baldy on the Crossover before the light started to change. Saw about a dozen elk on the Crossover.

The snow has melted off West/East Baldy, but there is a little snow on the trail to the summit still.

West Baldy had a little deadfall, and East Baldy did as well in the higher elevations. I passed a hiker who said he did the count for the forest service the day/week before, and that they said they would be out to start clearing it on the 27th. I saw two FS workers on my last mile as they were headed up to start clearing the East trail. There were about a dozen trees on either trail, so it shouldn't be long until the trails are clear.

Didn't see anyone until around mile 14, and from there back to the Trailhead on the East Trail I passed about 15 people.
2 archives
Dec 17 2018
vivisectvi
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 Routes 2
 Photos 24
 Triplogs 4

36 male
 Joined Nov 08 2011
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Snowshoeing avatar Dec 17 2018
vivisectvi
Snowshoeing17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Snowshoeing17.00 Miles2 Days         
2,880 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Planning
Planning for most of my adventure runs, backpacking trips and hikes begins with a check of the trip reports on hikearizona.com. Typically I’m looking for reports on hikes in a general area during a specific season to identify what kind of conditions I’m going to be dealing with. When looking for trip reports in the months of December, January and February for trails in the area around Mount Baldy in East Central Arizona I came up empty handed. The few reports that I was able to find for November on the Mount Baldy Loop indicated that the trees had all changed and that dreary but passable weather was possible. My trip was being planned for late December and with no trip reports and little experience in the region I was unsure what conditions would be like in the mountains. I logged onto the Sunrise Ski Resort website to check snow conditions and found that the slopes already had a base of 15 inches, but this told me little about the trails on the southern slopes of those mountains. The only way I would learn would be to make the trip.
Reconnaissance
On December 17th I made the drive from from Gilbert through Globe, the Salt River Canyon, ShowLow, Pinetop-Lakeside and eventually to the West Baldy Trailhead on the AZ 273. Conditions had deteriorated after leaving Pinetop with temperatures around freezing and snow flurries in the air. The AZ 273 wasn’t holding any snow, but the hills, meadows and mountains to the East and West were blanketed in thick snow. There are no tire tracks turning onto the snowy road leading to the trailhead. I brave the snow in my AWD Chevy Trax and find a parking spot shielded from snow by a large pine. After parking I walk up the kiosk to discover a few sets of footprints leading down the trail. I decide that the only way that I’ll understand what the conditions are is to go check it out. So I throw on my runners and a pair of shorts, my running watch and a long sleeve running shirt.

I’m impressed by the distance down the trail the footprints made it. Tracing the footprints I ran into the Mount Baldy Wilderness, past the Mount Baldy Crossover Trail intersection and on into deeper snow. The footprints abruptly stopped and turned around about three miles down the trail. I continued forging my own path through the snow until I grew weary of post-holing in knee deep drifts. When following the previous hiker’s path I was able to use their icy footpath to my advantage, skipping across their steps. Breaking my own trail increased the difficulty of forward progress substantially. I didn’t have the appropriate footwear for such an endeavor and turned back to the car after forging only an additional quarter mile.
Backstory
I’m a runner, climber, backpacker and fairweather alpinist. I’ve climbed numerous 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado and I’ve run Rim to Rim to Rim. I’m in pretty good shape and have a fair amount of experience outdoors. What I have absolutely no experience with is snowshoes or any other snow related activity. I’m an Arizona “Valley of the Sun” native and I have never ventured outside for much sport or recreation in winter climates. Prior to this hike I was ignorant of the difficulty of moving through snowy terrain.
And So It Begins
My goal for this trip was to run/hike/backpack the Mt. Baldy loop. After having driven up from the valley I wasn’t going to give up on my goal just because of a little snow. I headed back into town on a mission to acquire some snowshoes. After calling the first 4 closest ski shops and the Sunrise Ski Resort I was referred to Skiers Edge Ski Shop in Show Low for snowshoe rentals. They hooked me up with half price rental snowshoes for what I figured would be a two day expedition on the trail. They were staffed up for the holiday rush but everyone was very friendly and got me on my way quickly. The only disconcerting part of the experience was the hushed tones saying “no one ever rents these things, people like to go up the mountain the easy way on the lifts”. I was given the opportunity to select from three sizes of snowshoes, all with similar bindings but different deck widths. Not having any prior experience and having entirely too much pride to ask for assistance with my selection I chose the “medium” sized snowshoes, not knowing what the advantages or disadvantages of each variety of available snowshoe might offer.

After renting my snowshoes I drove back out into the wilderness to make camp for the night. I plodded around camp for about half an hour to get used to these weird snow floatation devices. I used them to flatten out a spot on the ground for my tent and work a small path in the fresh snow from my tent to the car. The bindings are easy enough to get the hang of and other than a few awkward moments where the floppy heels of the shoes get in my way I think I have a pretty good handle on snowshoeing.

The next morning I woke with the sun and began my foray into snowshoeing. From the recon run the day prior I knew what to expect for the first few miles of the trail. I knew that there were trodden paths through the first few miles. I knew the snow beyond that point would be anywhere from 9 to 15 inches deep based on the Snow Reports I had read. The bitter cold overnight temperatures yielded 5 inches of fresh powder to start the day of my trek. The forecast for the next two days was unseasonably warm with sunny skies. I was expecting good weather on the mountain but tough, fresh snow conditions.

The effort required to advance one snowshoed foot in front of the other when encumbered by the full weight of my backpacking gear was unexpected. I am not an ultralight backpacker, my stuff needs to be affordable so it weighs a little extra. Without water and food my gear weighs in around 20 lbs. Add water, food, extra clothes, beer and batteries and I’m easily hauling 30 to 35 lbs. The recon run had taken me an hour to get three and a quarter miles. Achieving the same distance with the added gear and the encumbrance of snowshoes took two and a half hours. Each step in the snowshoes was compounded in its difficulty by the added weight of the gear. The fresh powder sinks under each weighted step. Every amount of effort applied toward forward progress is drained of at least some efficiency by the crumbling layers of snow under foot.


After the three mile mark the trail changes. The first three miles of this trail are barely a warm up for the exertions required to accomplish these uphill climbs. Three miles in and you’ve only gained 500 vertical feet from the trailhead. The next four miles includes 1600 feet of climbing. There are a number of switchbacks in the trail leading through tangles of dead fallen trees and thick old growth fir trees covered in thick pillows of snow. The trail transitions in and out of thick thigh deep snow. Another two miles and I was pushing up the now shaded eastern slopes of the range towards the saddle. At six miles in with only 500 feet of climbing remaining to the summit my progress had slowed considerably. I thought about making camp before the summit. In the shade temperatures were dropping and I knew that it would only get colder. I decided against it though. My “plan” committed me to camping on the downhill side of the summit saddle, on the East Baldy Trail and my arrogance wouldn’t let me deviate.

I pushed through the next mile and 500 feet of climbing. Diligent observation of my surroundings was required to monitor the faint signs of trail. The trail was of course entirely obscured by snow. The trail is not well blazed above the snow. I found the best way to identify the trail was to search for the exposed clean chainsaw cuts of stumps, limbs and tree trunks that lined the trail. There are deceitful game trails that may easily cause you to wander off the main path as it tunnels its way through the narrow alleys made up of thick snow covered firs.

The “summit” is a nondescript saddle that stops about 350 feet short of the true Baldy summit which lies on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. I skipped the true summit out of respect for the tribe, unsure if I could have made the additional climb anyway.

It was 4:10 PM as I unceremoniously continued past the summit saddle and down the East Baldy Trail. With little light and much fatigue I began the descent. I wanted to get as far down as I could for a number of reasons: Timber for a fire, less snow, less wind. There were some obstacles in my path down the mountain. The East Baldy Trail does not descend from the saddle as fast as the West. The East Baldy Trail descends on the Northeast face of the range for the first several miles. The snow on this part of the mountain is deep, loose and dry. Every step sinks deeply into the powder and requires hauling my now frozen pants, shoes and snowshoes.

The wind is howling as I cross through burned areas and areas of deadfall. I start shivering as each step moves me further, but not far enough, down the mountain. I pass through stands of widowmakers as the wind begins blowing furiously. I find the meadow with the downed plane and spot some aluminum scraps but don’t stop to investigate or even glance around for more. The wind is unrelenting as I progress as fast as I can down the mountain. I’m shivering uncontrollably and looking for a safe place to bivy, still hoping to light a fire and dry myself out but rapidly running out of light. The temperature is dropping fast.

Through a burned area and into some trees I find a possible respite from the wind and a place to pitch a tent. I’m at 10,900 feet and a little less than a mile down trail from the East/West intersection. It’s 5:10 PM when I start when I start building a camp by stomping a 10 x 10 area of snow sandwiched between large snow laden fir trees. With snowshoes still on I scamper around in the snow setting up my tent. I don’t have snow stakes, just aluminium pegs. My hands aren’t working and the stakes don’t stick. I dig foot deep holes in the snow, jam the stakes into them and get no purchase. I look around me for a solution but any assistance, be it a branch or a rock, is obscured by feet of snow. I do my best, piling mounds of snow on top of the stakes at the corners of my tent. 6 stakes are required for my non-freestanding tent. I said 6 little prayers as I put the tent poles in and fastened the rainfly.

I threw my snow covered backpack into the tent and immediately start trying to remove the my wet layers. Snowshoe bindings are designed for this and are the easiest of my layers to remove. I accidentally step off the left snowshoe onto the snow and immediately sink knee deep, even in the area that I have stomped down in the snowshoes. My shoes are frozen solid with gobs of icy snow crystals caked to the shoelaces. I don’t even try to untie them, just fight and manage to slip them off. My two pairs of wool socks are frozen. Removing them is painful. They are frozen together and ice cubes have formed between and under my toes. They won’t be separated until well into the next day when they receive the magic touch of my car’s heater. My pants are frozen to the thigh. They literally stand up on their own and I struggle mightily to get them off. The pile of frozen clothes and shoes sits in the vestibule of my tent as I focus on warming myself.

Into the sleeping bag I go after throwing on some thermal tights and thick wool socks. I scramble through my backpack and add my down puffy sweater. The uncontrollable shivering keeps up as the wind howls and snow drops from the branches of the surrounding trees on to my haphazardly pitched tent. My head is throbbing. My feet are edging back and forth between fire and ice as they begin to thaw. I can wiggle my toes but they are numb. Nausea begins to set in as I lay there shivering. I know that at 11,000 feet I’m very likely experiencing some mild altitude sickness. Aside from getting down the mountain the next best thing for me would be getting some warm liquids and food into my body to power my overnight recovery. The desire to puke prevents me from taking action to that end though. I wretch once in the snow outside my tent, knowing that there is nothing to throw up. I hold it back with a few sneezes. I wait for the nausea to pass as over the course of the next half hour the shivering subsides.

Eventually I find energy to drink water and prepare some food to eat. I eat one of the cliff bars I have planned for tomorrow after carefully and slowly ating a Harmony House dehydrated meal. The tent was still a serious concern as the wind continued to blow snow from the surrounding trees onto the rainfly. I use my jetboil to melt some snow for more water, I’m out at this point.

Overnight I wake to pee 5 times. I don’t know if the altitude has something to do with it but it was a lot of pee. I captured it all in a refuse bag and dumped it away from the trail the following morning. Overnight my cell phone battery died. At the end of the day my GPS had issued a low battery warning. I had made it to safety for the night. My tent pitch would hold and I would warm further as I slept. I was pretty convinced that I hadn’t lost any toes to frostbite and that I would survive. The following day would bring its own challenges though.

Coming Down Off the Mountain
There was no sunshine as I began to pack up my gear around 8:00 AM the next day on the Northern slopes of the ridge between Mount Baldy and Mount Thomas. My clothes from the day before still frozen solid I had no choice but to descend in my insulated thermal tights and my last dry pair of socks. I thawed my shoes over the flame of the jetboil in order to untie them and loosen them enough to get them back on my feet. I put them on, still wet, and harnessed myself into the snowshoes. My gear all assembled and loaded onto my back I began the descent through the thick snow-lined corridors of the East Baldy Trail. The descent follows vaguely discernable paths through meadows where the trails blazes are indiscernible amongst the downed and damaged trees. The snow obscures all obvious signs of the trail in some parts of the descent and I have to power up my failing GPS receiver to review the route on the map.

As I work my way down from 10,000 feet the East Baldy Trail is finally blessed by some morning light and reveals some of the most spectacular views of the expansive snow covered meadows and distant scenery. A tangle of paths woven by all manner of wildlife crisscross the meadows. I identified bobcat, coyote, Elk, Deer, Rabbit, Squirrel and a few small rodents like mice or shrews. I was particularly entertained throughout the two days of my hike by the tracks of squirrels and rabbits darting from tree to log and down into their snow covered hidey-holes.

Finally I reach the sign for the Mount Baldy Crossover Trail. I let out an audible groan and expletive declaration at the “3.5” miles remaining to get me back to the West Baldy Trail. I form an internal debate over the distance and convince myself that I’ve won the argument against the sign and that there is no way there’s 3.5 miles to go. The crossover trail passes through 4 valleys, each with a northern slope buried in deep shaded, fluffy snow. At the base of each Northern slope is an expansive meadow with a snow covered drainage. Often the destination on the other side of the meadow is unknown and I have to power up the GPS to take a bearing on the appropriate direction to forge across the snowy plain. My snowshoed shuffle intertwines with a tangled mess of elk tracks that intersect, follow and diverge from the trail. Navigation is something of a challenge as the path isn’t at all obvious at times.

Walking across the snow covered meadows that I viewed from some of the higher elevations is satisfying. 4 valleys later finds me at the crossing of the West fork of the little Colorado River. I find the narrow bridge and safely get across to rejoin the West Baldy Trail. The snowshoe tracks I laid down the previous day enable me to increase cadence and get back to my car exhausted, dehydrated, again frozen stiff but alive and entirely satisfied.

Being dominated by the environment in which I choose to have an adventure is a common occurrence for me. I’ve been obliterated by desert heat while backpacking throughout Arizona. I have been waterlogged for days in wet canyons. I’ve achieved nominally great heights and been battered by a lack of acclimatization at over 14000 feet before. On this trip I was completely owned by the snow and cold. It was an entirely new experience for me on never before used equipment and in surrounds I had never imagined could be so beautiful. Revisiting this place in the summer months will bring another opportunity for me to experience something new and I’m excited for that adventure too.
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Aug 18 2018
emilystardust
avatar

 Triplogs 190

37 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2018
emilystardust
Hiking19.50 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking19.50 Miles
2,880 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Partners none no partners
We headed up West Baldy, went to the summit (with permission), and headed back down East Baldy. We accidentally ended up at the Sheep Crossing parking area on the way out ](*,) . Beautiful day. Rained on us for just a couple miles down East Baldy.
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 21 2018
arizona_water
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 114
 Photos 1,079
 Triplogs 117

29 male
 Joined Mar 06 2016
 Salt River Valle
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2018
arizona_water
Hiking19.24 Miles 3,099 AEG
Hiking19.24 Miles   6 Hrs   28 Mns   3.31 mph
3,099 ft AEG      39 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I arrived at the West Fork trailhead around 11a.m. on a Saturday morning in July. The West Baldy Trail had crowds of people: picnicking, hammocking by the creek, and hiking to the "summit." My goal was to complete the loop, starting with an ascent up the West Fork. I was impressed by how beautiful this forest and creek are. However, I was disappointed how difficult it was to find the turnoff for the true summit. I intentionally did not download a route scout track for the hike because I expected the intersection would be more intuitive. I was still able to catch some great views from the Mount Thomas ridgeline.

Descending the East Baldy Trail was fine, but less exciting than the West's ascent. The east trail was noticeably quiet. I didn't see a single person until I got all the way to the creek, only a mile or two from the East Baldy TH. The connector trail was not enjoyable, but I had made good time and I was thankful to be be hundreds of miles from the Sonoran Desert in July.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I'm glad I did the loop. I'm not much of an-out-back hiker if I can avoid it.

After Baldy, I drove just a few minutes away to one of my favorite places in Arizona. There's a really cool waterfall between Baldy and Mcnary on the North Fork of the White River. Access only requires a WMAT hiking permit.
_____________________
- there's nothing like finding Water in the Desert -
2 archives
Jun 09 2018
The_Driggs
avatar

 Photos 18
 Triplogs 1

30 female
 Joined Oct 01 2014
 Phoenix AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Jun 09 2018
The_Driggs
Backpack17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Backpack17.00 Miles1 Day   2 Hrs      
2,880 ft AEG   14 Hrs    Break24 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did this as an overnight Backpack trip with my father. Was a perfectly gorgeous scenic hike with wide variations in terrain. Open meadow fields to deeply forested paths to scrambling over ridiculous amounts of downed dead trees. We took the East Baldy trail first up to the connection and set up camp near there in a small meadow. Spotted a brown bear while topping off at the spring but he was quick to mosey in the other direction from where we wanted to go.

Made the connection to the west trail early next morning and headed back down ( didn't have permission so didn't attempt peak). This section was probably the most difficult because it switch backed through the dead cauldron of trees for a few hours. We must have climbed over a few hundred and some were more than 5' in diameter. Like a giant box of pick up sticks dumped on the mountain. We hit the first water crossing from the junction shortly after the dead forest section, saw a gorgeous fat wild turkey taking a sip and topped off our own water.

Took the crossover trail that connects right before you get to the west trail head at Sheppard's crossing and this leg was probably the most difficult. You wander up and down some small hills cutting south east and you're already terribly tired and ready for a nap. This segment felt forever long. I was practically skipping once i made the connection back to east because of how close we were to the truck. Gorgeous hike, green and flowers and sweeping views.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
lots of the small little scrub type flowers in the higher elevation but not many in the meadows.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mount Baldy Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Small but strongly flowing spring found just a little before the west and east trail junction. Not easy to fill packs with due to small shallow pool but with a cup to dish it in its great. Freezing cold artesian spring water.
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1 archive
Jun 02 2018
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 205
 Photos 2,535
 Triplogs 190

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 02 2018
DixieFlyer
Hiking17.00 Miles 2,650 AEG
Hiking17.00 Miles   7 Hrs   31 Mns   2.96 mph
2,650 ft AEG   1 Hour   46 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Outside of the Grand Canyon, this is my favorite hike in AZ!

We started from the East Baldy TH; went up the East Baldy Trail to the East and West Baldy junction; came down the West Baldy trail; and then took the Crossover Trail back to the East Baldy trail.

Along the way we saw a bear on the East Baldy Trail and saw an elk on the West Baldy trail.

There were about 50 fallen trees to deal with on the East Baldy trail and about 100 to deal with on the West Baldy trail. The trees on the West Baldy trail were generally more difficult to negotiate than the ones on the East Baldy trail, and I was glad that we were descending on the West Baldy Trail.

I think that I like the West Baldy trail best, but many people probably like the East Baldy Trail better.

Given that the WMAT has a fire danger closure on their land at the summit, we did not venture past the tribal land boundary at the top.
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1 archive
May 12 2018
LindaAnn
avatar

 Guides 22
 Routes 359
 Photos 2,325
 Triplogs 951

39 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 12 2018
LindaAnn
Hiking17.19 Miles 2,949 AEG
Hiking17.19 Miles   9 Hrs   56 Mns   1.91 mph
2,949 ft AEG      56 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Started around 8am, it was breezy, but not too cool. Headed up East Baldy, it was pretty easy going most of the way. Some deadfall starting shortly before the spring. Enough to be annoying at times, but really not too bad. Saw several elk along the way. The higher I got, the windier it got. As I was walking through some dead trees along the trail, I wondered if I should hurry through them in case one fell. Sure enough, a few minutes later, one tree snapped and fell about 30 feet away from me. At the saddle, headed toward the summit, but the winds were super strong, enough to knock me over, so I turned around at the white man's summit. Headed down West Baldy. it wasn't too bad at first, but below me, I could hear trees falling. I reached the hillside where they were falling, and the trail was a mess. Lots of downed trees, and I watched several more come down. It was slow going navigating over, under, and around trees. Every big gust of wind brought the sound of another tree coming down, so I'm sure the trail now is even worse than when I went through. Once past that, it was nice again. The lower part of West Baldy is always a favorite for me. Finished up by taking the Crossover Trail back to the vehicle. Only saw a few people all day--5 on East, 3 on West. Nice day, despite the winds, and perfect temps.
_____________________
Oct 02 2017
BluYote
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 Triplogs 1

27 male
 Joined Aug 26 2016
 Flagstaff, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 02 2017
BluYote
Backpack17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Backpack17.00 Miles1 Day   5 Hrs      
2,880 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Shocking, but I had never been to this part of AZ despite living here my whole life! Hiking up Baldy is very cool, with interesting rock formations and mossy forests going up the East trail. Going down along the West Little Colorado is a bit more difficult, more treefalls and narrow trails. Camped at the first field you get to on the West trail (33.931518, -109.551462), amazing to have creek right next to campfire ring. Elk calls kept me up all night, but the low was 'only' 40 F. On the hike out, we found that other people had already claimed the campsites in the bigger field, so I am glad I stopped when I did! Seriously, do this hike ASAP before it gets any colder and the trees loose their leaves completely!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
High elevation aspens are fully yellow and some are dropping leaves. Low elevation the aspens were halfway between yellow and green
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Sep 09 2017
emilystardust
avatar

 Triplogs 190

37 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 09 2017
emilystardust
Hiking16.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles
2,880 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Sep 03 2017
chumley
avatar

 Guides 75
 Routes 667
 Photos 13,238
 Triplogs 1,423

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Baldy Horseshoe, AZ 
Baldy Horseshoe, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 03 2017
chumley
Hiking15.56 Miles 2,440 AEG
Hiking15.56 Miles   6 Hrs   48 Mns   2.83 mph
2,440 ft AEG   1 Hour   18 Mns Break
 
Partners partners
clairebear
juliachaos
I opted to skip the Saturday ascent with Lee and chose to join Claire and Lizzard on Sunday instead. We went up East, which I think I enjoy much more as a trail in general than West. The only downside is that those lower miles on West just drag on and on at the end of the day. We shuttled to skip the crossover and save the 2 extra miles which we were all pretty happy about.

There were a handful of people on the trail, but I was surprised at how few we encountered being a holiday weekend. There were endless raspberries that were perfect ripeness, and at the top of the mountain quite a few strawberries that were absolutely delicious. :y:

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mount Baldy Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Didn't go up to the spring source, but flow across the trail was clear and cold.
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Profound observer
Jul 15 2017
adv_trev
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 7
 Photos 303
 Triplogs 25

40 male
 Joined Oct 01 2005
 Queen Creek, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 15 2017
adv_trev
Hiking18.30 Miles 2,880 AEG
Hiking18.30 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   3.05 mph
2,880 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break13 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I started at 10:30 and out by 5:30. The trail was in great condition. All of the trees have been recently cleared. There was plenty of water. There are two locations close to the top on the east trail that have flowing water. I was worried about finding water, but I was able to do the hike with 2.5L. I made it to the top before the rain started. Even though it was cloudy, I was see pretty far. I didn't see any signs of the fires and they lifted the fire restrictions. I was surprised to find wild strawberries. I got about an hour of rain and some light hail. It was a nice welcome coming from the 110 degree desert.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
Jun 11 2017
LindaAnn
avatar

 Guides 22
 Routes 359
 Photos 2,325
 Triplogs 951

39 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2017
LindaAnn
Hiking18.21 Miles 3,011 AEG
Hiking18.21 Miles   8 Hrs   37 Mns   2.64 mph
3,011 ft AEG   1 Hour   43 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Since my entire Friday & Saturday was spent doing kid friendly activities in the Show Low area, Sunday was my day to do a real hike, and getting back up to Baldy had been on my list for a while. Got started around 6:30am. I had taken two motrin before I drove over with the hopes it would minimize the broken toe pain. It helped, but I still felt every step. Oh well, that's life I guess, I slowed down a little on the pace, and threw in some breaks I wouldn't have normally taken on the downhill, and it really wasn't too bad.

I headed up East Baldy, which is definitely my preferred way up. Nearly all of the snow on the trail is gone--only a few small patches remain, and they will probably be gone within a week. There are some downed trees, but not nearly as many as I was expecting. Once at the top of the trail, the winds really picked up while I headed over to the summit. Once there, I found a place to sit that was shielded from the wind, had a snack, got some pictures, and I rested my foot for a while. Views were pretty limited, as there was smoke in nearly every direction.

I headed down West Baldy, which is where I saw most of the other hikers for the day. There is some downfall on West Baldy too, but again, not that much, and no snow is left. Took another snack break by the creek, then took the Connector trail back over to East Baldy. The meadows along the connector were gorgeous, and the grasses blowing in the wind made for a nice sight. I also saw seven or eight elk, but that was it for wildlife for the day. Finished up shortly before 3:30. Perfect hike for the day, with great weather, and other than the few downed trees, the trail was in great shape.
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1 archive
Jun 11 2017
The_N
avatar

 Routes 54
 Photos 1,508
 Triplogs 325

33 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2017
The_N
Hiking18.00 Miles 3,000 AEG
Hiking18.00 Miles   8 Hrs   40 Mns   2.57 mph
3,000 ft AEG   1 Hour   40 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
LindaAnn
I'd been wanting to get out this way, so this trip was well timed. I drove in from Payson on Saturday night, camped at the CG next to the TH and met Linda the next a.m. She revealed a broken toe right before we set off. We went up East Baldy first. I always enjoy these spruce'd up forests. Everything was green and water was flowing from every drainage. The tread is beautiful and the grades are friendly. We saw what appeared to be recent trail work, dead fall was very minimal. The ridge over to the summit was nice. A few small snow patches provide moral support. We tucked away behind some rocks for a nutrition break / rest period. Heading down West Baldy we encountered some dead fall almost immediately. Far more than what was on East Baldy, but nothing worth griping about. The scenery along West Baldy was superb. Coming out of dense forest into open meadows provides a neat contrast. The many shades of green and a peaceful West Fork LCR winding through the countryside is hard to take your eyes off of. Great day in the mountains with some nice weather.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Tons of Iris blooms..
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
May 25 2017
cahallsae
avatar

 Photos 15
 Triplogs 1

42 male
 Joined Jul 22 2014
 Maricopa. AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar May 25 2017
cahallsae
Backpack17.00 Miles 2,880 AEG
Backpack17.00 Miles2 Days   3 Hrs      
2,880 ft AEG50 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hike was great. We started with East Baldy and went up to the saddle. As we approached there was a noticeable amount of snow for about 1-1.5 miles. This made it very challenging. IO would not try this unless you have poles and a gps to find the trail. Its the only way we didn't get lost. Not only was the snow an obstetrical but because the forest service had not cleared the trail there were many downed trees. The rest of the hike was beautiful and I would recommend this direction when taking the hike. I really enjoyed walking out next to the river on West baldy on the way out. Saw some cow elk, deer and one speed goat. lots of birds.
Culture
Culture
Camp-fire HAZ - Selfie
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average hiking speed 2.6 mph
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