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Pine Canyon Adventure
Mogollon Rim
October 31, 2009
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
Beatrix, Carita, Bill, Michael, Ted, Jenni, Kevin, Eileen, Wayne

The morning is sunny and brisk at Cinch Hook Trailhead on the Mogollon Rim as nine nifty Trailblazers start south on Forest Road 6038.

A sign marks the beginning of Pine Canyon Trail #26. Beyond the sign it isn’t obvious which is the trail and which is a side road, but Ted knows the way and everyone makes it to the top of the switchbacks.

Pine Canyon, from the top.

The next mile is steeply downhill on a rocky trail that takes us down to an easy route on the west side of Pine Canyon. Rangers have cleared most of the fallen trees from the trail, with fresh sawdust indicating that it was done recently.

Fall colors are scarce at the higher elevations, but as we get lower in the canyon we start to see leaves in their autumn finery.

The switchbacks are over this way, folks.
yellow red
red yellow
Autumnal glory along the Pine Canyon Trail.
Our picnic spot is at the junction near Camp Lo Mia.
But it is a spring, and it’s dripping.

Trail signs also proliferate. We step gingerly on the rocks at an idyllic stream crossing, then walk through a temperate dry forest until reaching the outskirts of Camp Lo Mia.

It’s noon, so we choose a shaded area for our picnic lunch before starting our big climb up to Dripping Springs.

The climb is relentless. When we get up there, the trail still has a lot of ups and downs as it works its way south over many streambeds.

This turns out to be the most scenic part of the trail. Glorious autumn leaves cheer us on as we make several short but steep descents through little side canyons.

We pass the Good Enough Trail and everyone wonders where Dripping Springs is. Finally we arrive at a spring with water dripping out of the ground and then another one with mud and the official Dripping Springs sign.

We found the brightest colors at middle elevations.
From here it’s downhill, steeply until we meet an old road with a metal pipe in it. The road takes us south past a residential district and finally a “26” sign to indicate the trail.

Soon we meet the Arizona Trail, where we turn right and follow a meandering route to Pine Trailhead, where we left Ted’s car.

Ted drives Wayne and Michael back to Cinch Hook to pick up their cars. We all return to Pine Trailhead to pick up the other hikers and head over to Payson for dinner.

This hike is described in Footloose from Phoenix, by Ted Tenny, pages 229-234.

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updated May 25, 2020