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Pine Creek Narrows - Tonto National Forest

Summary: A short loop hike through the "Narrows" of Pine Creek near the town of pine. A short side-hike along a narrow ledge is also described. To complete this hike all members of your group should be good climbers. Shoes with good traction are desirable because the rock is extremely slick.
Directions: From Payson drive north on State Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) to between mileposts 266-267 just before the town of Pine. Turn left onto Bradshaw Road. Drive 0.1 miles to where the road splits and turn left. Follow this main road another 0.3 miles to a pull off on the right next to a rocky dry drainage.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Moderate
Length: 3.5 miles
Date Hiked: April 2007
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description:

From the parking area, walk across the dry wash to a gate that will let you through the fence (please close it behind you). Turn right and follow the road as it parallels the wash downstream. After a short distance, the road ends at the creek. Rock hop and bushwhack down stream. Some climbing is required to negotiate a few boulders and avoid pools if you are trying to keep your feet dry. After a bit of walking, the brush abates and the canyon enters a very pleasant section of narrows which also features some climbing (note: the rock in this canyon is polished smooth and is very slick, use care). Eventually, your progress will be blocked by a big pool. It is possible to climb around the pool on the right hand side (facing down canyon) using a fixed piece of webbing as a hand line to get up one particularly tricky section. Just beyond the pool, you will reach a drop of about 40 feet that can not be descended without a rope. Backtrack a short distance and climb up and around on the right. Just below is a steep scree slope on the right that can be used to make a loop hike. Climb the rocky slope about half way to the top, then bend left and work your way up to the steep cliff face on the left and a prominent ledge which runs mid-way along the cliff. When you reach the cliff you will locate a prominent climber trail (the cliff face in front of you is known as Isolation Canyon in climbing circles). Before hiking out, it's worth a detour to follow the use trail left along the small ledge. Those with good eyes will spot bolted climbing routes up the cliff face. When the ledge peters out, return the way you came and follow the trail as it climbs steeply up and out of the canyon to the top of a mesa. The path is a bit faint in places, but cairned at frequent intervals as it travels across the mesa, then drops off the other side to rejoin Pine Creek at a spot you crossed earlier in the day. Turn left and retrace your steps back to your vehicle.

Rating (1-5 stars):
The author completed the loop described, with a detour to the indian ruins in 2.5 hours.
Maps: Click here for a map of the hike.
Books: None used
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

"The Narrows" of Pine Creek. The tricky climb around the pool.

The canyon as seen
from the ledge.
The ledge (note hiker).