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Hike #3 – Capps Ranch Road

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

  • Drive west 9.2 miles on 260 to the traffic light at Woolford.
  • Turn left on Woolford and drive 1.2 miles to the four way stop.
  • Turn left on Whipple Street and drive 0.8 miles to join 260.
  • Turn left on 260 and immediately get in the right lane, and turn right on 260 (Clark St) at the traffic light.
  • Drive 12.7 miles west on 260 to Pinedale Road.
  • Turn right on Pinedale and drive 2.0 miles to Capps Ranch Road on the right.
  • Turn in, cross the cattle guard and decide which hike you wish to take:
    • Option 1: Park in the open space on the left and see Option 1 Details below.
    • Option 2: Continue 0.6 miles on the gravel road and keep left where the main road swings right to private property. There is a post numbered 9890G marking the road on the left you should follow for 0.1 mile where the road forks. You can park and walk from here, or take the left road and go an additional 0.2 miles to another fork, where again you can park and walk. Or you can take the right fork and go another 0.4 miles where you will come to a gate. Park off the roadway and walk through the gate and see Option 2 Details below.
    • Option 3: Drive a total of 1.2 miles on Capps Ranch Road, keeping left where the main road turns right to private property. Watch out for the mud holes and continue for about half a mile and park on the left and see Option 3 Details below.

Trail: Dirt roads, rocky jeep roads, bushwhacking through juniper-pine grasslands.

Trailhead and Directions: Capps Ranch Road runs east and then north branching multiple times in a large area partly burned by the Rodeo-Chedeski fire in 2002. You can start walking from the parking spot mentioned in 1. above, or you can drive east and up the hill, bearing left where the road to the ranch goes right. From here, you can park anywhere off the road and walk the roads as far as you wish.

Option 1 Details: A short challenging hike is reached by leaving the car at the parking spot by the entrance to Capps Ranch Road, then walking the main road about 150 yards to the first road on the left that goes up the hill. This road continues winding up hill for about 0.7 miles and ends at the top of the ridge. You can retrace your steps or bushwhack to the west and back down the hill through junipers, pines, scrub oaks, and downed timber back to your car, a distance of about 1.2 miles. See Map Capps Ranch 1.

Option 2 Details: The hike from the gate heads east along the left (north) side of a fence on the rough gravel road. The road swings north and leads to a cattle tank that may be dry or filled with water. Pass the tank and take the gravel road to the left. This road will eventually lead over the hills to the north, but if you go about 0.2 miles, then turn left across the park land of junipers and pines, and continue as you wish to the west, you will come to a fence. Follow the fence to the left (south) down the hill and you will arrive at your parked car. Taking this route is about 1.5 miles. See Map Capps Ranch 2.

Option 3 Details: From where you parked on the left of the main road, walk the same road to the east for about half a mile. You will pass plastic stakes with numbers 8 and 9 on them. There is one main road to the left. Turn here and walk a few tenths of a mile to a large cattle tank that usually has water. You can continue uphill past the tank and down the other side going as far as you wish. If you just walk from you car to the hill past the tank, it is about 1.2 miles. There is no map for this hike.

Many of the hikes on Capps Ranch are signed with blue diamonds and some with orange diamonds that indicate access by four wheelers. As long as you can remember where you left your car, you can walk many miles on the gravel road system.

Access: Hiking, bicycling, horses, high clearance vehicles, four wheelers. Not handicapped accessible. This area is used by hunters and woodcutters in fall.

WARNING! After rains, some of the roads can be muddy and there are a number of enormous mud holes on some roads. Most of these can be driven around. Or you can just park and walk from there. Some of the roads have become deep leaving a high center so a high clearance vehicle is needed. You can get up and straddle the ruts or just leave your car before these areas and walk from there.

Distance: As far as you wish to hike.

Difficulty: Easy walking, the only challenge being the loose rocky jeep trails that head up the hill sides. The roads will be muddy and slippery after a rain. Deep ruts and puddles form so best not to hike here after a rain.

Features: The area is open grassland with scattered One-seed and Alligator Junipers, Ponderosa and Twoneedle Pinyon Pine, scrub oaks, barberry bushes, and many flowers in season such as Prickly Poppy, Indian Paintbrush, Narrow-leaf Penstemon, Many-flowered Ipomopsis, buckwheats, Rough Menadora, Ragleaf Bahia, asters, iris, and many other species. Elk and Mule Deer are common here but hard to spot during the day. Antelope Jackrabbits and ground squirrels are present. Open country birds may be present like Western Meadowlark, Vesper, Black-throated, and Chipping Sparrows, rarely Lazuli Buntings, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Western Bluebirds, and House Finches. Western Scrub-Jays and Juniper Titmice can usually be found in the woods.

Connections: The four-wheeler trail runs throughout the ranch area, crosses Pinedale Road, and continues many miles to the west.

Option 1

Capps Ranch Road Option 1
Download Map

Option 2

Capps Ranch Road Option 2
Download Map

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