Sunday, May 8, 2011
Pinal Peak 05/07/11
Icehouse Canyon Trails
Mileage - 13.27
Time - 4:34
AEG - 3770ft
Once again, Phoenix hit the 100 degree mark on Friday, so Bob and I threw some ideas together for Saturday to evade the heat and get in a challenging hike at the same time. As always, I love exploring new areas and occasionally hear from friends in the hiking world about how great these trails are, so it was time to see for myself.
Even though Pinal Peak sits at number 11 on the prominence list in Arizona at 7848ft, the trails themselves were the highlight of this trip. Four different routes including Kellner Canyon, Six Shooter, Icehouse Canyon, and Telephone Trail #192 begin in the high desert at 4500ft from roughly the same trailhead. They quickly ascend into a dense forest of manzanita bushes, which fades into the cover of tall pines and aspens. The higher we climbed, the more impressed I became with the terrain, plant life, and micro-climate that unfolded before us as we battled the steep hills.
Five miles later, and over 3,000ft of gain, Bob and I reached a road leading to our first summit (Signal Peak), and then past the recreation area to an end at Pinal Peak. If you're looking for solitude, don't expect to be alone near the peak. The recreation area and cabins draw numerous people looking to do the same thing as us, find cooler temperatures. Even with all the activity up top, the trails were barren, we did not see another hiker the entire day.