East Fork Baldy Trail Ninetyfive is a 14 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Eagar, AZ that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
A wonderful hike! I would suggest anyone try to get this one in. The basic lay o' the land is 2 trails (East, #95 and West, #94) from highway 273 to the 'summit' with a 3.5 mile connector near the base. The connector basically follows the road but up in a much nicer environment. We choose the 7 mile east trail based simply on a recommendation of our campground (Winn Campground) hostess. We traversed meadow, forest and rock...no scree! Most sites list this as a moderate with strenuous spots hike. I sort of agree but lean more towards just moderate. There are a few spots that remind you that you've been above 10,000 feet all the way but it's all fairly easy. The altitude and the distance (7 miles one way) take it out of the "easy" category. The trail is well defined and obviously well used. We saw a total of 11 others during our hike. Statistically, it took 4 hours up w/obligatory crique spots and hydration breaks, 3 hours down. Shoes on the trail at 0620, back at the truck at 1400. We spent about 30 minutes at the reservation boundary which is as far as you can legally go towards the summit. According to my GPSr, the summit is about .8 miles south. Elevation at the TH was 9388', 11177 at the RB.
Most of this hike is through forest. It was windy during the morning, a bit uncomfortable both in velocity and temperature. We weren't exposed to the wind for any real length of time. A medium weight jacket was sufficient. The hike down was pleasant even with the temperature hitting the low 80's since we were in the shade most of the time. Only a light breeze on the trip back.
This area was spared by the Wallow fire but it is being devastated by insects. There are areas that are truly heartbreaking to walk through. We saw no wildlife except the occasional squirrel and birds. It is incredibly dry right now but there is a very small trickle of water near the top. About a 1/2 mile from the RB we came across the aircraft wreckage. I hadn't realized it was there and it was actually quite emotional.
All things considered, this was a great outing. Camping in the area ranges from tent with basics to full blown RV hookup. There are several lakes to fish with boat rentals available. A small visitor center was staffed by 2 very knowledgable USFS people.
The only disappointment was not being able to actually summit. There is one site that states you can summit if you obtain permission from the Apache. While this statement might have been true back when it was written, I found, after 3 days of trying, that the Apache bureaucracy is as messed up as our own. Don't count on getting anywhere with them.
This hike can be done as a 17 mile loop starting at either #94 or #95 trailhead, going to the reservation boundary, down the "other" trail, then using the connector trail to get back to your starting point.