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Hike #1 – Black Canyon

Location: From the Pinetop Post Office on SR 260 (map):

  • Drive west on 260 9.2 miles to the traffic light at Woolford Road and turn left.
  • Drive 1.2 miles on Woolford to the four-way stop and turn left on Whipple Road.
  • Drive west on Whipple 0.8 miles to 260.
  • Drive west on 260 immediately getting into the right lane and turn right at the traffic light on 260 heading for Overgaard and Heber.
  • Drive west for 36.2 miles on 260 to Heber, cross the Black Canyon bridge and turn left on Black Canyon Lane.
  • Go about one tenth mile and turn right on Black Canyon Road.
  • Drive about 1.6 miles and just past the end of the pavement, you will see a parking area on the left with signs indicating that this is a U.S. Forest Service area. You can park here or drive about another half mile down Black Canyon Road and find dirt roads and parking spots on the left.

Trail: Dirt roads that may have puddles, sand, and rocks.

Trailhead and Directions: From any of the sandy dirt roads leading off of Black Canyon road, walk east and cross the usually dry Black Canyon wash. There are roads paralleling the wash between the Forest Service area and one-half mile to the south. And there are roads that go up into the hills where you can walk by opening and closing fence gates.

Access: Hiking, bicycling, horses, ATV’s, jeeps, 4 x 4 vehicles. Not handicapped accessible. Best to hike during mid-week.

Distance: As far as you wish to walk.

Difficulty: Easy as most of the roads are on level ground. Some lead higher in the hills. Not recommended after heavy rains as there may be running water in the wash and the roads will be full of deep puddles, wet sand, and clay.

Features: The area is mostly open pine and juniper forest at about 6,550 feet elevation. The upper areas were burned by the Rodeo-Chedeski fire in 2002. The usual open forest birds are present like woodpeckers, hummingbirds, chickadees, jays, robin, bluebirds, House Finches, and Lesser Goldfinch. We found many singing Spotted Towhees, a family of Townsend’s Solitaires, and several Rock Wrens.

Flowers can be abundant with Indian Paintbrush, Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, Hooker’s Evening Primrose, Hopi Tea Greenthread, Sand Dune Wallflower, Northern Bedstraw, Hill’s Lupine, Coreopsis, Vetch, Stansbury Cliffrose, Pony Bee Balm, Horehound, Winged Eriogonum, and many others. The rock face on the eastern side is fascinating with Cockerell’s Stonecrop, other flowers and ferns.

Connections: None.

Black Canyon
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