East Baldy Trail #95
The trail follows the East Fork of the Little Colorado River through a long meadow. Click here for printable information and map.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||Open, with advisory TRAIL NOT CLEARED OF HAZARDS, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK|
|Best Season:||May through October. Snowdrifts often block the upper portions of the trail as late as June.|
|Water:||Carry your own water or purification equipment and do not drink untreated water|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
|Information Center:||Springerville Ranger District
TTY: (928) 333-5397
General InformationParking: Accommodates Trailers
There are two trailheads, both off AZ 273. The main trailhead is on the north side of the East Fork of the Little Colorado. This used to be the Phelps Trailhead. A secondary trailhead is located at Gabaldon Campground. The trails merge within a quarter of a mile of their respective starting points.
- Please sign in at the trailhead register
- Please follow low impact camping techniques and leave no trace of your passing
- Group size limits are 12 for hiking and riding and 6 for camping
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
The two trails merge near the wilderness boundary. The trail follows the East Fork of the Little Colorado River through a long meadow. The river has several pools created by beaver dams which are usually good fishing spots. If you don't have a fishing pole, or even if you do, maybe what you'll catch is a glimpse of a beaver going about its daily tasks. If you don't see one of these large, shy rodents, you can always console yourself with a variety of wildflowers that blanket the meadow from late spring through the summer.
After following the meadow for about a mile and a half, the trail enters the timber. Here it begins to climb, and what a climb it is. The trail winds through a maze of sandstone boulders and stands of mixed conifer. In a half mile of climbing, you will gain 800 feet in elevation. As if this were not enough reason to catch your breath, try the view. A reward usually comes to those who strive, and your reward will be a truly panoramic view. This view includes portions of the White Mountain Apache Reservation, Big Lake, Crescent Lake, a sizable chunk of the Black River Valley, Escudilla Mountain, the Blue Range and on into the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Few vantage points on the Forest offer a view like this. Hopefully you brought a camera.
From this point, the trail follows a ridgeline on a continuous uphill grade, though it is a far more gradual climb that the one you've just been through. As the trail climbs, it alternates between timber and bare, rocky areas. About seven miles from the trailhead, this trail merges with the one from Sheeps Crossing. The two come together in a saddle below Mt. Thomas, nearly to the top of Mt. Baldy. The summit of Mt. Baldy is located on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation and is closed to all non-tribal members. From this point you can choose to continue on to Sheeps Crossing, about seven miles away, or to return the way you came. Many people like to hike up one trail and down another and make their lives easier by parking or shuttling their vehicles at each of the trailheads
USGS Maps: 279NE, Mt. Ord, AZ; 280NW, Big Lake, AZ.
|Difficulty Desc.||Moderate, with some strenuous portions|
|Elevation desc||9,300 feet to 11,200 feet|