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Hike #5 – 637 Shortcut Trail

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

  • Drive west 9.2 miles to the traffic light at Woolford and turn left.
  • Drive 1.2 miles to the four-way stop and turn left on Whipple.
  • Drive 0.8 miles on Whipple to 260.
  • Turn left and drive to the traffic light.
  • Drive 2.9 miles southwest on 60 towards Globe past the speed limit sign for 65mph to the top of the hill.
  • Turn left on FR 300, the Rim Road, and proceed about 100 yards to the cinder parking lot on the left.

Trail: The trail is a rough sandy road.

Trailhead and Directions: The trail starts next to the kiosk bulletin board in the northeast corner of the parking lot. In summer 2015 the whole first third of this trail was severly thinned. Logging roads run over the whole area. You have to look carefuly for the blue diamonds as some of the trees with markers were removed. Follow the trail that has blue diamonds marking the way down the hill and past the large open area on the left that may be partly filled with water (Hansen’s cattle tank). In some years it is bone dry; in other years it is very wet and the whole area may be covered with yellow Coreopsis or Golden Aster flowers. Continue to the T and go left for an easier hike up hill. Walk the main trail ignoring the several recent logging roads up a rise and through the (now very open) pine woods until you come to a right turn marked with blue diamonds. Turn right here. If you go straight you will end up in a small residential community. Follow the blue diamonds up through the woods, now about 0.75 miles from the trailhead, where you will see a marked trail turn to the left. Go straight ahead following the blue diamonds with the yellow “washer” on one or both nails. Soon there is a wooden sign saying “shortcut.” Follow the shortcut trail to the right. The main trail goes straight, but blue diamonds go in both directions. After you turn right and continue up the hill you are heading southeast. Follow this trail upwards keeping to the right at any side roads or trails. You will reach the summit after about half a mile. The trail then goes down the steep hill to the west for about half a mile. Keep right as the trail bends right and continue on the main trail to the north. Don’t turn left on any of the unmarked trails. Continue until you come to the T where you first turned left. There is a sign here saying “trailhead.” Turn left and follow the road to the west past the open meadow back to your car.

Access: Hikers, bicycles, horses, four-wheelers. Not handicapped accessible. While we have seen four-wheeler tracks, we have never seen anyone driving on this trail over the five years we have hiked it.

Distance: The total distance from your car around the loop and back is 3.03 miles.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate as there is a gradual ascent and a rather steep descent over rough roads that are partly washed out.

Features: The trail passes through a thinned Ponderosa Pine forest with lots of dead and down trees. Once you start to climb, the hillsides are covered first with Fendler’s Ceanothus, a spiny shrub, and then with Pointleaf Manzanita with its pink bell-shaped flowers followed by green then red berries. Flowers can be abundant depending on season: New Mexico Groundsel, Filaree, Hill’s Lupine, Larkspur, Milkvetch, Bigelow’s Rubberweed, Arizona Gumweed, Showy Goldeneye, Pink Windmill, Birdbill Dayflower, Western Spiderwort, Mexican Woolywhite, and many other species. Acorn, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers are expected along with the usual forest species of chickadees and nuthatches. Black-throated Gray, Yellow-rumped, and Grace’s Warblers nest here. We have seen Clark’s Nutcrackers near the beginning of the trail but they are very rare. Elk and wild horses may be present along with Abert’s Squirrels.

Connections: This short cut is part of the extensive Buena Vista Trail 637, a 10 mile loop. You can also access the Chihuahua Connector trail that crosses highway 60.

Trail 637 Shortcut Map
Download Map

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