I got an early *(4:30 AM) "headlamp" start on the West Baldy Trail to beat the possibility of potential bad weather on the summit. In May, my wife & I climbed to within about a half mile of the summit but turned around when rain, hail, lightning, & "thundersnow" developed. We also were there before summer trail maintenance had removed numerous dead tree falls blocking the trail...this time the trail was in great shape.
Multiple attempts by telephone & email to get "permission" from the White Mountain Apache Tribe had proven fruitless...no call backs after leaving my telephone number...no email returns, etc
The "sign" I had seen on line indicating "no trespassing" was REMOVED! *(See my photo!)Does this mean you can NOW "legally" walk the well trod ridge path to the "true" summit? Was a NEW sign being constructed? I still do not know...
However, seeing no one all day, & seeing no indication of a "no trespassing" sign, just a VERY well used trail, I proceeded along the ridge line to the rocky, more southern, (apparent) high point. Apparently there continues to be some debate as to exactly where the "true" summit is, in addition to the location of the true "boundary line". I view it as "God's Country".
The entire summit ridge, regardless of my elevation, provided superb views in all directions. It DID cloud up on the return trek but a few sprinkles over the final mile only added some late summer zest to an incredible hike!
We went up and down the East trail and tagged both summits. Amazing area: green lush, forested and abundant wildlife.
I hiked this peak 3 times between 2005-2007. On the most memorable trip, my dog Milo and I did a 35-mile (approx) loop up the West Fork Trail and down the East Fk Trail, starting and ending from Greer. Early on the hike, as we passed through the Sheeps Crossing area and neared the wilderness boundary on the West Fork Trail, we encountered a small wildfire. I ended up dumping out my camelback to put it out, and then realized that we still had 20+ miles to go. This area has a lot of cows, and I did not have a filter, so I ended up walking up a small Little Colorado tributary uphill far enough that I figured cows wouldn't go, and refilled. The water was great. We made the summit with no issue, but as we crossed to the East Fork Trail the monsoon thunderstorms began to build, and we were soon in a lightning storm. This inspired us to move quicker, and we quickly worked down to larger timber and the less exposed portions of the trail. We made it back to Greer, where my girlfriend and other dog met us about a mile from the truck. We stopped at Molly Butler lodge and enjoyed a couple well-deserved beers. This is a high-quality long loop if you're looking for a more serious day hike. I miss the White Mountains!
Went up East Baldy Trail to the summit, then down West Baldy Trail, and returned on Phelps Cabin Trail. Perfect weather, and I didn't see anyone else all day.
Three of us completed the state of AZ county highpoints together. One was from Holland, there was myself and Rick Hartman who completed the AZ state county highpoints for the second time around. Also in our group was Bill Jacobs from Prescott who had already completed the state and this was his second visit and John Mitchler from Colorado. We went up the east trail and enjoyed the fall colors. We went to both summits.
Day one of my AZ/NV HP tour. What a treat!! The meadows were breathtaking. Couldn't believe AZ could be this green! Considered tagging Baldy Peak, but didn't want to push my luck. Trail has been rerouted to come up north side of mountain in order to avoid the Reservation Boundary (I believe). Went and tagged the Greenlee Cty HP as a thunderstorm was starting as well.
Nice hike, saw elk and the airplane. This completed the CoHP's of AZ for me.
Long hike but beautiful country. Used the West Fork (Little Colorado River) Trail. The valley is full of big meadows and gurgling waters. The elk would occassionally bugle from deep in the woods.
Add 2 miles RT for trail detour due to road construction on 273. There were also dozens of trees down across the trail. Some had been there for quite some time.
Hiked in and out on west fork trail. Baby Molly got to
ride a lot in child carrier. We went back the EZ way
with whole family in 1999.
Great long hike in the forests led to the timberline and expansive views in all directions. We summited as high as we could legally (The summit with the "O" on it on the Baldy topo), and could easily see the summit within the reservation.
Wonderful trail and checked out the plane wreck too. The rock formations down lower on the trail made for great pictures.
A beautiful fall hike!
Have gone both routes (6/24/00 & 9/19/04). I think I like the southern route better (called East Baldy Route), which we did in 2004 in a steady rain. Elk heaven. Camped at the Winn CG and stayed awake all night due to the other-worldly elk wailing. My reports
A very nice hike on a clear winter day with no other hikers out on this day. There is hardly any snow or ice on the mtn so for now this one can still be done under fall like conditions. Imagine that, an 11,000 foot mountain with marginal snow in December. We don't see that in WA. Anyway, the reservation-forest service boundary is rather feebly marked. I was unable to discern with the naked eye if the Baldy knob or the other contour is higher so I visited both. Stopped at Los Dos Molenos in Springerville which is a good option for post hike grub.
I made it. I thank God I am still alive. Read more in the report.
Steady 8 mile ascent to peak. Exactly 3 hrs up and 3 hrs down. Accidentally trespassed on apache sacred ground at summit. Weather was perfect.
Beautiful hike/climb. Started at 0600 to avoid the afternoon monsoon storms. The loop was about 17 miles approx. The wrecked airplane on the East Baldy Trail is very interesting.
Always on the east baldy trail, did the loop once, but prefer the east trail. i also find its less crowed. dont miss the downed airplane.
Arizona continues to amaze... To all of you who would believe that this place is a mere sandbox littered with cactus plants and rattlesnakes, I recommend a visit to the Arizona high country. If I had been dropped in by helicopter I would swear I was in Wyoming.
The hike to the summit of Baldy was uneventful, despite a bit of trespassing on reservation territory. Our bold move onto res land was followed by eight members of a local hiking club, so obviously the top is not heavily guarded by men with shotguns. Make the judgement call as you like, but I saw no signs telling me to go away or get out, and I sure as hell was not going to hike for two hours only to get a view of the summit only a few hundred yards to the south.
Camping in the Ft. Apache wilderness area, was definately the highlight of the trip. There seem to be awesome spots to pitch your tent around every bend in the trail. Our stand of firs had a creek running right through it. Killer to see so much green just a few ours from the true desert.
This is a beautiful day hike in the summer. The trail is mostly flat with a couple stretches of elevation gain via switchbacks. The loop is worth doing, but if you had to choose only one trail, do the East Baldy Trail. It offers the cool looking rock formations along the way.
Unfortunately, I must have missed the sign that marks the reservation boundary, because I just kept going up and before I knew it, I was at the peak already. That's my excuse anyway (and happens to be true).