Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Pine Mountain Day Hike
when Trip Report : May 3, 2014
  Trip Report : November 16, 2013
where Pine Mountain Wilderness Area
the hike     This will be an exploratory hike in the Pine Mountain Wilderness area. This hike is featured as the “Hike of the Month” in the November, 2012 issue of Arizona Highways magazine. The trail follows a lollipop configuration, starting out on the Nelson Trail first, followed by the Pine Mountain Trail, the Verde Rim Trail, and the Willow Spring Trail through the loop and then returning to the Nelson Trail which takes us back to Salt Flat Trailhead.
    From Salt Flat Trailhead, the Nelson Trail parallels Sycamore Creek for 2.7 miles to Willow Spring, crossing the creek several times. Just before the spring we make a right turn and continue southeast on the Nelson Trail as we begin to gain elevation and climb above the creek. After a half-mile we reach Cloverleaf Junction and the start of the Pine Mountain Trail. We make a left turn here and continue up the Pine Mountain Trail for 1.2 miles, gaining over 700 feet of elevation in the process, before linking up with the Verde Rim Trail. We make another left here and follow the Rim Trail north for about one mile.
    But about a half-mile up the Rim Trail we will first take a short and steep spur trail to the very top of Pine Mountain (6,814 feet) and enjoy spectacular views of Verde River Canyon, the Mazatzal Range, and Horseshoe Lake. We will also stop here for a lunch and rest break. After going back down on the spur trail and linking up with the Verde Rim Trail again, the trail begins descending in a steep series of switchbacks. After another half-mile we make a left turn onto the Willow Spring Trail which we follow west for 1.6 miles to the junction with Willow Spring and the Nelson Trail that we started out on. From here it’s another 2.7 miles back to Salt Flat Trailhead.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Camera
distance 9.6 miles round trip
time 5-6 hours
EC +-1704' elevation change
elevations 5,110 feet at Salt Flat Trailhead to 6,814 feet at the top of Pine Mountain
type figure-6
starting at
Salt Flat Trailhead 34° 19.599' N,  111° 50.150' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100% – Nelson, Pine Mountain, Verde Rim Trail, and Willow Spring Trails
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Cordes Junction
meet 7:00 AM in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride. We will make carpooling arrangements here.
•  From Phoenix, drive north on Interstate 17 for 57 miles to the Dugas Road exit, north of Cordes Junction.
From there, take Dugas Road (Forest Road 68) southeast for 18 miles through the Dugas Ranch area to the Salt Flat Trailhead for the Nelson Trail at the boundary of the Pine Mountain Wilderness.
High clearance vehicles required, especially for the last few miles of FR68 which are very rough and badly eroded.

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