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Hike #29 – Old Baldy Trail

Old Baldy Trail
Old Baldy Trail

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

  • Drive west 24.4 miles on 260 to the junction of SR 273 and turn right.
  • Drive about 8.9 miles south on 273 to the parking lot at Sheep's Crossing on the north side of the Little Colorado River before the bridge and park.

Trail: The first few yards of the trail is paved, the next is covered with cinders, and the main trail is dirt.

Trailhead and Directions: The trail begins at the west end of the parking lot. Follow the paved path, then the cinder path up the hill until the cinder path turns back to the east. Take the dirt trail that continues west. The trail leads to the summit of Mount Baldy that is in the Apache Reservation. Sometimes this section of the trail is closed. Check the bulletin board at the trailhead. No Map is needed as this is an out and back on the same trail.

Access: Hiking only. Not handicapped accessible.

Distance: The distance to the summit is about 7.5 miles, but most people walk only part way and return the same way.

Difficulty: The trail is narrow and goes over some rocky spots. It is a slow but continuous climb for most of the way, but gets steeper as you go past about 4 miles.

Features: The trail passes through alpine meadows and stands of Douglas Fir and Engelmann Spruce for most of the way. The river is along the south side of the trail and is accessible for fishing most of the way. Deer, beaver, muskrat, elk, and black bear are all present but rarely seen. Gray Jays, rarely Clark’s Nutcrackers, chickadees, nuthatches, Steller’s Jays, American Dipper, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, warblers in season, woodpeckers and sapsuckers, are all possible.

The scenery is spectacular and there are many flowers again dependent on season. Common are Silverleaf, Shubby Cinquefoil, Pussytoes, Owl’s Claw, vetch, grass pea, False Hellebore, geraniums, Orange Agoseris, Spurred Gentian, Fendler’s Meadowrue, and many other plants.

Connections: Old Baldy Trail 95 connects about one half mile from the trailhead and goes across the river and up the hill to its trailhead.

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