Location

  • Pine Trailhead to the Mogollon Rim

Length

  • 20.2 miles

Southern Trailhead: Pine Trailhead

Access

Drive south of Pine on AZ 87 for 0.6 miles and turn left (east) to reach a large parking area and the trailhead.


Northern Trailhead: FR 300 Trailhead

Access

From the intersection of AZ 87 and AZ 260 north of Pine, drive east 2.6 miles on AZ 87 then turn right (south) toward FR 300. Go 0.1 miles and turn left onto FR 300. Avoid the frequent side roads and drive 12 miles on FR 300 to a turnoff on the left (north) at a historical marker for the Battle of Big Dry Wash. This is where the AZT crosses FR 300. Turn left and follow a power line 0.3 mile to General Springs Cabin. The road curves right to a small parking area and the trailhead.


Trail Route Description

East from the Pine Trailhead the trail climbs two long, gentle switchbacks ending at an open area overlooking the eastern front of the Mazatzal Range. Working its way east along the Highline Trail (#31), it skirts the southern edge of Milk Ranch Point, passes a nice camping site at Red Rock Spring and crosses Webber Creek at the Geronimo Trailhead. Excellent creek-side camping locations are to the right, a few hundred yards south of the creek crossing. Continuing east, the trail crosses Bray Creek and then comes to the Washington Park Trailhead. Here the trail crosses a utility road, passes a trail register and drops to a steel bridge across the East Verde River, a small stream at this headwaters location. Across the bridge and left around a quick S-turn the AZT departs the Highline Trail for the Colonel Devin Trail (#290), marked by a sign on a very stout post. The trail continues north along the east stream bank through tall pine, alder and walnut trees, crosses a small puncheon bridge, another steel bridge and one more puncheon bridge before climbing through the rocks and joining the utility road. Near the base of the steep ascent to the Mogollon Rim the trail turns sharply right. A few hundred yards ahead at a switchback the faint Tunnel Trail (#390) departs the AZT. The AZT continues climbing the Mogollon Rim where the passage terminates at FR 300 near the Battle of Big Dry Wash historical marker.


Difficulty

  • Moderate

Season(s)


Water

Water may be found at Red Rock Spring, Pine Spring, Webber Creek, Bray Creek, North Sycamore Creek, Chase Creek and Pieper Hatchery Spring


Notes/Warnings

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • Over 17 miles of this passage follows the well-established Highline Trail in the Tonto National Forest. Designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1979, this historic trail was established in the late 1800’s to link various homesteads and ranches under the Mogollon Rim.
  • North of Washington Park the trail passes the junction with the Tunnel Trail. The Tunnel Trail leads to what remains of the failed attempt to build a 3,100 foot tunnel through the Mogollon Rim for carrying ore from Globe to Flagstaff.
  • For more on the Battle of Big Dry Wash, download the January 1931 Arizona Historical Review from http://hdl.handle.net/10150/623320 and see “The Apaches’ Last Stand” by Will C. Barnes, page 36.

Resources

  • USGS Topographic Maps: Kehl Ridge and Dane Canyon.
  • Earth Tracks – Mogollon Rim West map.
  • Arizona Highways – Rim Guide Hiking map.
  • Highline Trail brochure from Payson Ranger District – Tonto National Forest.
  • Tonto National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.
  • Day Hikes & Trail Rides in Payson’s Rim Country by Roger and Ethel Freeman,
    Gem Guides Book Co., Baldwin Park, CA., ISBN 1-889786-24-1.

For more information


Current Passage Info

New York man rescued after hitting heavy snow during Arizona Trail hike

KTAR News (March 16, 2021) by Kevin Stone A New York man hiking along the Arizona Trail was rescued after unexpectedly getting stranded in deep snow 12 days into his trek, authorities said. The 41-year-old started his excursion in Superior on March 2 and had been camping out along the way, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in a press release. He was well-prepared for the long-distance hike but hadn’t planned for the extreme weather he hit in Coconino National Forest, according to the release. He’d reached the General Springs Cabin on the Mogollon Rim, about 110 miles north of his starting point, when he realized he couldn’t safely continue and called for help. The cabin is located off a forest service road north of Payson that’s closed to traffic because of the winter conditions. Coconino County Search and Rescue Units out of Flagstaff set out to find the man, using snowmobiles and a snowcat, a truck-like vehicle with a tank-like track designed for snowy terrain. The rescuers found the man at the cabin in good condition. They transported him to State Route 87 and then got him a ride into Payson. The Arizona Trail is an 800-mile path...
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Repairing the AZT’s Highline Passage

Repairing the AZT’s Highline Passage

Anyone who has visited the Highline Passage of the Arizona National Scenic Trail over the past few years will remember the ditch that bisected the trail near Geronimo Spring. The chasm has grown deeper and more dangerous with every storm, creating a significant safety hazard for trail users. Thanks to funding from the State of Arizona and a collaborative effort from Bauer Built Trails, American Conservation Experience, Flagline Trails, Tonto National Forest and the Arizona Trail Association – the problem has been fixed! Using heavy machinery, tons of boulders, downed trees, local soil, ingenuity and determination, the crew removed the old metal culvert that was the source of the problem, backfilled the drainage with rocks, and built fresh tread over the top of it. Despite numerous challenges associated with coronavirus and the strict protocols in place for keeping everyone safe while working outdoors, the small crew worked tirelessly on the project for over one week. The end result is impressive and will be a welcome improvement by all trail users who hike, run or ride along the Highline Passage. When tackling problems like the Geronimo Blowout, the Arizona Trail Association aspires to find a solution that will last 50 years...
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Passage 26 – Highline

Eagle Scout candidate Noah and his crew (Dad, Grandfather and friend) replaced the decayed sign west of Mail Creek.  After some confusion locating the appropriate trailhead, the crew gathered up the tools and hiked the 1.6 miles to the sign.  The remains of the old sign were dismantled and removed, and the hole dug for the new post.  Nature provided a nice stout juniper post at the site; the gang trimmed it and cut it to length and prepped it for the sign, then tamped it home. A nice piece of work on another fine day on the Arizona Trail!  Thank you Noah! The next generation of trail stewards.    
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PASSAGE 26—HIGHLINE

With the recent improvements to the AZT/Colonel Devin trail, the sign at the trailhead was looking pretty shabby in comparison.  Indications were that it was over 25 years old, and it showed it.  The FS agreed to provide a new one if ATA volunteers would install it.  What a deal! A stout natural post was harvested near Pine and hauled to Washington Park.  Roger and Joe worked digging the post hole while Shawn started preparing the post—chamfering the top and flattening the side where the sign is attached.  It was slow going but we had a shady spot to work in.  A tamper bit for the jackhammer worked perfectly to tamp the large post into the hole. The crew then installed two “equestrian bypass” signs near the lower bridge in response to comments that the trail junctions are confusing.  Having worked there so much for three years we wouldn’t know what it looks like to someone seeing it for the first time, so we took their word for it. Topping off the day was a walk to the upper bridge to check for and remove poison ivy, and to move some logs out of sight.  The crew returned to the...
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Passage 26—Highline

July 26, 2018 In early May, ATA was alerted to a new fence across the Arizona Trail near Bray Creek.  This was a first—fences don’t often just appear across an established trail, let alone a National Scenic Trail, so with a touch of skepticism the segment steward hiked out to confirm and see what could be done.  Sure enough, four strands of shiny barbed wire crossed the trail at the slick rock saddle a few hundred yards west of Bray Creek. After several emails and phone calls between ATA and the Forest Service staff, and another inspection trip, the upshot was that FS provided an ATA Supergate and ATA agreed to install it. Then the Forests closed. The project picked back up when the rains came, the forests opened, and volunteers were available on the tail end of the Happy Jack gate project. A huge concern was whether the necessary holes could even be dug in the sandstone slickrock.  One of the fence builders, encountered on the second inspection trip, said he had dug a hole in the stone with a crowbar.  He said it took all morning but it could be done.  Based on that we figured we would...
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Flickr Photos

Photos from the Arizona Trail Association’s Flickr galleries, for this specific passage. View the entire Flickr account.

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