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Hike #2 – Forest Road (FR) 221 off Pinedale Road

Forest Road 221 off Pinedale 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 rejoin 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 1.4 miles and find a gravel road with several bulletin boards and the number 221 on a post.
  • Drive about 0.3 miles along this rough road and find a flat camping area on the left. Park here.

Trail: All the trails are rough dirt and gravel roads. All loop hikes require bushwhacking across grasslands.

Trailhead and Directions: The trailhead is simply the road you drove in on. Walk to the west and down the hill to the northwest. There are many options.

  • Option I: You can walk to the north along this road over the hill in the distance and continue as far as you wish and return.
  • Option 2: You can walk the Option 1 road to the top of the hill and bushwhack along the ridge to the west. You will have to cross through a fence and then come to the Option 4 road where you can turn left and come back down and cross to the east on the Option 3 road over to Option 1 road and back to your car.
  • Option 3: You can walk from the car on the main road and take a left at the first major turn-off (Option 3 east-west cross road). This road goes through a fence gate. Continue on this road until it intersects with a larger road that runs north-south. Turn left (south) and walk until you come to a metal water tank and an iron gate in a fence line. To return to your car, you will have to bushwhack through the grass and between juniper trees to the east and not go through the gate. If you go through the gate, you can walk another quarter mile to the south past the gate, then turn left and bushwhack back to your car by heading in a slightly northeasterly direction. You will have to crawl under the fence.
  • Option 4: If you walk to the north (right) after crossing the east-west cross road, you will come to a hill and you can walk over the hill and as far as you wish and return. Or you can walk to the top of the hill and bushwhack along the ridge to the right (east) and return on the main road (the opposite of #2).

Access: Hiking, bicycling, and four-wheeling on the roads. Horses could easily do the bushwhacking but cannot get through the fences except at gates. This area is used by hunters in the fall for elk and deer. Not handicapped accessible.

Distance: As far as you wish to hike. This distance of #3 above is about 1.6 miles. A short hike to the north over the first hill and down the other side and return (Option 1) is about 2.6 miles.

Difficulty: Walking the roads is easy. Bushwhacking is relatively easy as the trees are widely separated and the ground is not too lumpy. You may have to walk over dead trees downed after the 2002 Rodeo-Chedeski fire.

Features: The whole area is open with scattered One-seed Juniper and Ponderosa Pine. You can see long distances and hopefully might see a few elk but they are usually hiding in deep timber away from the roads. The usual forest and grassland birds are present including chickadees, nuthatches, a few woodpeckers and flickers, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Cassin’s Kingbird, Western Scrub-Jays, Chipping and Vesper Sparrows, possibly Juniper Titmouse, Hepatic Tanager, juncos, meadowlarks, and more.

After the summer monsoons, the grasslands can have many species of flowers like Sanddune Wallflower, Red-root, Winged, and James’ Buckwheat, Indian Paintbrush, Manyflowered Ipomopsis, Common Chicory, Two-tone Owl’s Clover, Hopi Tea Greenthread, Fremont Mahonia, Western Spiderwort, verbena, vetch, gum weed, and more.

Connections: None. Hike #3 Capps Ranch Road is a short distance northeast on Pinedale Road.

FR 221 off Pinedale Road
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