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Hike #46 – Joe Tank Road

Location: From the Pinetop Post Office on SR 260, 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 3 miles on 260 passing through the traffic light for Old Linden Road, down the hill and up the other side. Look for the Bison Ridge Development on the left. At the top of the hill, turn left on Joe Tank Road that runs above and behind the Bison Ridge housing development. Drive west on Joe Tank Road. Where the pavement ends is the entrance to the Caballos Trail system 638. Continue on the dirt road for a total of 0.9 miles from SR 260 and take the right turn on to FR 136 that is Joe Tank Road. This road runs three or four miles west on an almost level ridge. Park anywhere off the road (there are many side roads) and walk on the road.

Trail: Cinder/fine hard packed gravel road.

Trailhead and Directions: There is no trailhead as you can park anywhere along this road where there are dirt roads leading left and right. Just allow room for a jeep or four wheeler to get by. There are two major roads running south (see map) that cannot be driven in a standard sedan. Usually there are very deep ruts and after a rain, they are impossible to navigate. Stay on Joe Tank Road!

Access: Hiking, running, bicycling, horses, cars, ATV’s, jeeps, 4 x 4 vehicles. The road is usually hard and flat enough to accommodate a wheelchair if desired. The road is used by hunters in fall. It is always best to hike during mid-week.

Distance: As far as you wish to walk.

Difficulty: Easy as most of the road is on level ground.

Features: The area is mostly open Ponderosa Pine, juniper, and Gambel Oak forest at about 6,450 feet elevation. The road runs along a ridge so roads left and right drop down hill. To the right (north) you could hook up with part of the Los Caballos trail but we do not know which of the many roads to take. On the left there may be RV dry camping in summer. Part of the way you can walk to the “edge” and look over the valley floor below.

The usual open forest birds are present like woodpeckers, sapsuckers, hummingbirds, chickadees, nuthatches, jays, robin, bluebirds, kestrel, House Finches, and Lesser Goldfinch. Roadside flowers vary with season but are not abundant. Cooley’s Bundleflower is common along with several species of Asteraceae. We found Penstemon deaveri here one year. Elk, deer, horses, even goats, along with Abert’s Squirrels can be seen.

Connections: The Los Caballos trail system #638.

Joe Tank Road
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