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Hike #45 – Panorama Trail – Southeast

Location: From the Pinetop Post Office on SR 260, drive 2.7 miles west on 260 to the Porter Mountain Road traffic signal and turn right on Porter Mt. Road. Drive around the rotary, down and up the hill, past the turn to Scott Reservoir, for 1.7 miles and turn right on Porter Mountain Road. Drive 3.2 miles east on Porter Mountain Road and then left into the Panorama Trailhead #635. Turn immediately right and park in the large dirt/cinder parking area.

Trail: The whole Panorama Trail system is mostly dirt roads suitable for four-wheelers, but there are several trails restricted for use by any motorized vehicle. The trails are dirt with large rocks and some areas of loose cinders and rocks.

Trailhead and Directions: The trailhead is by the large bulletin board on the east central side of the parking lot. Walk this flat and wide dirt trail north for 0.5 miles where you will come to a T. Take the right fork and walk southeast and then north now on a slight uphill incline for another mile, or farther if you wish. The last half mile climbs up the side of a prominent hill. You can stop and rest on a downed pine log and return the way you came.

Access: This trail is accessible for hikers, bicycles, and horses. No motorized vehicles and not handicapped accessible.

Distance: This described hike is 3.0 miles, but you can stretch it out as much as you wish.

Difficulty: The last half mile of the trail goes up some steep grades, but overall it is an easy to moderately difficult hike.

Features: The first mile is all in an open Ponderosa Pine – Gambel Oak forest with very little understory. You can see a long way through the trees. The last half mile is even more open with no pines, but some junipers and Pointleaf Manzanita bushes. Once up on the side hill, you can look back and see the whole of Porter Mountain with its array of antennas for communication and television. You can also see the large cinder pit part way up the mountain where hunters and sportsmen practice shooting their rifles and handguns. As you continue to climb, you can see farther out to the west and northwest to the long line of wind generators on the horizon and the extensive flat high mountain desert country. The usual pine forest birds are present but we know of nothing special here. The area is quite dry and flowers are not abundant. Elk, Mule Deer, Badger, chipmunks, and Abert’s Squirrels are present but often hard to locate. Usually early morning on weekdays in summer is the best time to hike this trail as shooting is less probable.

Connections: The extensive Panorama Trail system is accessed from the parking area. The Flume Connector that takes you west to the Timber Mesa trail system is a short distance north on the main entrance road.

Panorama Trail – Southeast
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