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Rogers Trough Loop #2 - Tonto National Forest

Summary: This hike creates a loop from the Rogers Trough Trailhead using the West Pinto Creek, Pinto Peak, Fire Line, and Reavis Ranch Trails.  An optional detour to view a circular wall ruin on Mound Mountain is also described.
Directions: From Phoenix drive east on Highway 60 1.8 miles past Florence Junction and turn left on Queen Valley Road. Drive another 1.8 miles and turn right on Hewitt Station Road (Forest Road #357) which immediately becomes well graded dirt. Drive 3 miles and turn left onto FR #172 at a brown sign pointing the way to Superstition Trailheads: Woodbury 11 miles, Rogers Trough 12 miles. After several miles the road crosses a dry stream bed then begins traveling through a high walled canyon. Keep an eye out on the left hand side in this area for a small natural arch (featured in David Meunch's AZ photo book). After 9.3 miles you will reach a sign for the Woodbury Trailhead 1.5 miles left, Rogers Trough 3 miles to the right. Stay right on FR #172A and drive the remaining 4 miles (not 3 as the sign indicates) up this rather steep road to the large parking area and trail head.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Moderate, I got turned around a few times because several junctions were unsigned - but I didn't have the advantage of this detailed trip report to guide me
Length: 19.9 miles, add another 2 miles if you want to visit the ruins on Mound Mt.
Date Hiked: March 2003
Weather Conditions: Warm and sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: The trail starts between the two rust brown posts at the end of the parking lot. After about 5 minutes you'll come to a signed junction with the right branching West Pinto Trail (0.2 miles). Turn right, walk past the corral (close the gate behind you) and begin the short but steep climb up to a saddle of Iron Mountain. At the saddle you'll pass through another fence and then begin descending moderately down the other side, as the path winds its way along the east slope of the mountain. The path soon bends right and begins a steep descent of a chaparral covered ridge into the valley below, where it begins to follow a wash at a more gentle grade down stream. The path crosses the wash a few times before climbing out on the left and traveling along the slope above. It's an easy downhill stroll on a well maintained path (very different from the first time I did this hike, and had to push through a thicket of scrub oak the entire way). The trail eventually crosses to stream right, and after some more walking, drops down into an area labeled as Oak Flat on the map (there are good camp sites in this area). After crossing a wash you'll arrive at a signed junction with the Spencer Creek Trail #275 (6.4 miles). Turn left at this junction and follow the wash downstream for a minute or two. When you see a sign for the West Pinto Trail #212 (which continues straight and back the way you came) look for cairns that cross the stream (there is a corral on the opposite bank that will help identify this junction). Turn left and cross the stream. The junction is unsigned, but you are now on the Pinto Peak Trail (note: the Beartooth map does not depict this section correctly, follow my directions above instead). A short distance after passing the corral, the trail begins climbing steeply with views up to the red dome of Pinto Peak above you. The trail skirts the peak to the south & continues climbing as it passes through a fence line. Eventually the path descends a short distance to cross a wash, only to resume climbing at an even steeper grade on the other side through an area consisting almost entirely of scrub oak, sugar sumac and manzanita. Finally you will reach a saddle and fence line, only to descend down the other side into the valley below (the trail is a bit overgrown along this section). Once down on the valley floor, the trail winds its way down the drainage of Campaign Creek on one side or the other (or even right down the creek itself). After following the creek for a ways, keep your eyes open for a forested area with prominent camp and fire ring. When you reach this spot, look for cairns that exit the camp on the left. This is the unsigned junction with the Fire Line Trail (10.5 miles). Turn left on the Fire Line Trail, which immediately begins a steep climb through the chaparral on a sunny path. The trail climbs up to a saddle, descends a short distance into a wooded area, then continues its steep ascent. When the trail levels out after this second climb, you will pass a well cairned trail which branches left. This ~1 mile spur trail leads up Mound Mt. to a large circular ruin & makes an interesting side trip if you have time to spare. Continuing from this spur trail, the Fire Line Trail is easy, flat walking. After passing through a meadow, the route begins descending along a particularly eroded section of trail. You'll then pass through a wide open section of chaparral before dropping down into a valley and the signed junction with the Reavis Trail #109 which goes right and left (13.9 miles, not including the 2 mile side trip to the ruins). Turn left and follow this pleasant little path as it winds its way through riparian areas, pine forests and grasslands (just as you enter the grassland you pass one of the biggest alligator junipers the author has ever seen). The path eventually begins climbing a bit more moderately up to a low saddle, then begins descending on the right down into the drainage of Grave Canyon. It's easy walking the entire way as you continue down canyon, crossing the wash a few times in the lower canyon, before arriving at the signed junction with the right branching Rogers Canyon Trail #110 (18.4 miles). Continue straight on the Reavis Trail which bends left and begins climbing up the drainage of Rogers Canyon. It's a moderate climb, but if you're doing this as a day hike like I did, the uphill will be tiring. The path crosses the stream bed a few times as it skirts Iron Mountain to the west. Finally you will come to the signed junction with the left branching West Pinto Trail you had taken earlier (19.7 miles) and a short distance later your car (19.9 miles).
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author completed this trip as a day hike on two occasions. The first time the author and his wife hiked the loop the opposite way as described above. On this first trip, the West Pinto Trail was horrendously overgrown with scrub oak, and we ended up finishing the last 4 miles in the dark. On my most recent trip, I hiked the loop described above solo, at a quick pace, with a side trip to the ruins. The hike was completed in 9 hours.
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
View of the valley from Iron Mt. Rock walls on the side trip.