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I did this hike on a Tuesday morning and only encountered two other small groups while I was out. A nice, quiet hike with incredible desert views and plentiful saguaro. As other reviewers have noted, going counterclockwise will get the hardest part of the hike done first and then a nice descent for the second half. There is a self pay fee at the trailhead where you are asked to put three dollars in an envelope and keep the receipt for proof of payment.

What makes a trail 5 stars for me is always the vistas. This one really has it all.

hiking
1 day ago

Short and sweet OR keep going down into the San Tan Valley side for a loop back. This one has two steep rocky sections. The view at the top before swinging around the mountain is amazing. You can see the entire East Valley on most days.

End of Picket Post "HIKE" notes:
* Don't SOLO hike this one ever again, with others okay.
* Add small foil type emergency blanket to kit
* Bring more water
* Better hiking poles needed (Cross Country ski poles don't cut it as they don't collapse)
* 5 - 6 Hour hike was correct Two up and three down
* Start early. Hiking headlamp added security and less rush coming down. :)
* Gloves, Long Pants, Shirt, and tweezers for prickers help.
* More rock climb than hike midway. (Although I have feeling there must be an easier trail somewhere. lol)

one of the longest trails iv’e ever done. start early because it will take you all day and bring a lot of water/food. also i was the only one on the entire trail so i’d recommend hiking with someone in case anything happens. it was as peaceful as can be and extremely scenic. it sure is an extensive trail but the view at the end is totally worth it.

App map is not current. F.H. opened new Adero Canyon Trailhead mid November 2018. Lower Sonoran trail is shown on my map. Narrow and In your face trail. I have done loop 1 lower to upper Sonoran is about 3.5 miles.

hiking
7 days ago

We combined Goldmine with the shorter route of San Tan & Dynamite. I’m glad we did. While Goldmine has that steep climb that gets your heart pumping San Tan & Dynamite take you on a decent walk around the mountain. There are some beautiful views and other than Goldmine the hike is pretty clear. We met several people who do this hike daily and a couple the longer route to train for the Pacific Coast Trail.

Did this trail back in September when it was about 101º outside and I like to call this experience my "Hell Hike." Went with a large group who were experienced and knew the way, otherwise I would've gotten lost. The trail isn't well marked. There's essentially no shade on the trail and make sure to bring plenty of water too. Just grueling in the heat; I had to take many breaks and spent way too long in the sun (ended up being around 6 hours). The trail is lightly trafficked - I don't remember seeing anyone else at all. However, this experience is mostly my fault, as I had never been on a hike in Arizona - I would NEVER recommend a beginner on this hike and learned this the hard way. I was sore for 3 days after, too. However, now that I'm a frequent hiker and the weather is in the 60s, I would definitely love to go back and try it again, and I'm sure I would have a better hike (and I can't wait to leave an updated, better review then).

Ford Canyon Loop, Counter Clockwise. This is a very scienc and secluded trail. I didn't see anyone from about 1/10 of a mile prior to the warning sign, until the junction of Willow Canyon and Mesquite Canyon trail intersection.

It's very desolate and the wash is 2 miles long of boulder scrambling to sand walking and climbing a few near vertical walls. You need at least 3 quarts of water if it's in the low seventies to a gallon or more if above mid seventies. This is not a hike for the causal hiker and is for experienced hikers only that have traveled off trails before.

A hiker died five years ago on this trail. You can read about it here. From what i got out of the story, they had plenty of water and started at 6:30am on a summer day. The temperature rose to triple digits which resulted in a heat related illness that progressed to the death of one of the hikers.

http://archive.azcentral.com/community/surprise/articles/20130625arizona-hiker-death-white-tanks.html

Some spots have exposure and the two walls are not difficult however a fall would result in injury.

Plan at least 4 to 5 hours for the loop which is around 10.0 miles long. This is the hardest trail in the White Tanks Park. Not a trail to be caught after it turns dark even with a headlamp, if your in the wash.

With all the warnings out of the way, this is a great trail, because of the solitude, scenery and varied terrain to hike and boulder hop through. It's suggested to not hike this trail alone. If you do, use a tracking program so a reliable person can be tracking you.

A good prep is to do Goat Camp Trail to the 4 or 5 mile marker starting from area one, as a out and back hike.

Another is the full loop on Mesquite Canyon Trail which starts and ends at area seven and is 8.6 miles and gains 1,580'.

The suggested way for Ford Canyon is to hike counter clockwise. The reason it's easier to climb up rock then climbing down. Also your done with the hazardous part at 5 miles meaning your less tired when going through the wash.

This Trail is tricky. Most people hike right straight up the bottom of the canyon in the middle. It is best on the way up to stay to the left and follow the ridge, same thing on the way back down stay to the right and follow the ridge. there's a little hiking in the middle Canyon but watch for the trails veering off.

I did a solo hike yesterday, going up it was a little difficult finding the trail. Great scenery, beautiful views from the summit I will be going back soon.

Gorgeous hike with an amazing sunset while I hiked back down! I don't agree with the person who said you cant take a small car down to the trail. I did it just fine. I've also taken my little car all the way down the 88 to Roosevelt Lake.

It was a beautiful hike! Some very steep incline and loose rocks. Definitely a challenge.

Two sections of uphill hiking (if coming from the Thompson entrance) make for a great workout! Great views of San Tan Valley too! Highly recommend.

Very fun hike, lots of scrambly off-trail areas.

hiking
13 days ago

A nice challenge to get more difficulty & length than the Gateway Loop. It’s a steady incline for a while until you get to the switchbacks. Although it is steep, there is no “climbing” using your hands so it’s not as hard as other trails. I only saw 8 people today on this trail (after you get past the loop), so that was magical! Took me 3 hours which included a couple of breaks to enjoy views and a snack at the top. Def need good hiking shoes as this is rocky!

Terribly marked trail, but overall a TON of fun. Amazing views from the top and some climbing required. It's easy to get lost on the way down, so make sure you have adequate time for sunlight.

+1 for hiking it CCW, staying right at the fork to do the north section of the Elephant Mountain trail before the Spur Cross section. You will be facing the best views the whole time going this direction and you'll do the harder section earlier.

Beautiful Hike but came to kind of a dead end and hard to follow Trail. Later found out that was as far as we could go without more advanced hiking skills and equipment! We were a tad frustrated, but didn’t risk our safety. Nice Workout Too!

hiking
21 days ago

This was an exhilarating and challenging at the same time. I did this counter clockwise and so glad I did. Actually, I felt like I got the hard stuff out of the way first, and enjoyed my descent down after all the climbing I did. The views are incredible! Don't forget to stop every once in a while and turn around to see the sweeping desert views. Start early as this takes a while to do. Recommend this trail to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline keyed up!

I could not find the turn off from Peralta Canyon Trail to go up Weavers Needle. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful hike and I enjoyed it.

GO COUNTERCLOCKWISE! The first 3 miles is a fairly gradual but steep incline to the saddle, everything from there is a breeze. Clocked in at 7.5 miles total, got off trail a few times but we think that’s mostly because we were admiring the scenery. So beautiful, watch out for jumping cactus around the saddle area... they line the trail for a good mile!

My husband, 23-year old son and I ended up hiking this trail by mistake as we were intending to actually hike the Picketpost Loop Trail (which is an intermediate trail), but we took a wrong turn. I agree that this Picketpost Summit trail is definitely a “hard” difficulty rating, but it was fun and the scenery very pretty. It was hard to find the trail at times, so the cairns definitely helped, in fact we left a few of our own. It was also very technical, required scrambling and rock climbing. Once we realized we were on the wrong trail, we decided to turn back since we weren’t sure what to expect, then after researching discovered we were shy of the summit by only 1/2 mile ... but with a huge elevation gain in that last part alone! It was tough and a bit scary in parts, so I can only imagine the last section before the summit must be super challenging. Now that we know what to expect, we definitely plan to go back to make it to the summit next time.

Great quiet trail with views. Sections are steep and loose. Do it counter clockwise and add Dragonfly trail at end for 8+ miles total and creek with big cottonwood trees to cool down.

hiking
24 days ago

Hardly any signs or markings once you get on Bell Pass to help you gauge where you’re at, and there’s no clear summit or stopping point to turn around if you just want to go out and back. But beautiful views, not crowded, and overall decent hike. Plenty of parking. Took over 2 hrs.

Great hike. Amazing weather and scenery. The hike gets so much better once you link up with the windgate trail and leave the crowds behind on the gateway loop. I recommend going clockwise on this loop. The views over the back side of windgate towards the four peaks area are pristine and the hike from windgate to bell pass is quite and peaceful. Highly recommend this hike. Came out to almost exactly 10 miles on my Apple Watch (5.5 miles back from the point where you meet bell pass trail on the east side of the mountains).

The first 2 miles are very easy. Beautiful scenery and lots of greenery unlike a lot of AZ trails. There are lots of signs of wild life along the way.

It’s fun and long! Will definitely take up most of your day! Take lots of water! Lots of boulders. Stay Hydrated!

Rocky in some parts and tough climb at end but worth it.

UPDATE 12/1/18: AZ Republic published this informative article about the Labarge Canyon Trail: https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/arizona/hiking/2018/11/28/arizona-hike-labarge-canyon-superstition-wilderness/2080146002/.

I second these two reviews: "Lots of boulder hopping on the (Labarge Canyon) creek bed and you really need to know how to find your way because the trail isn't always well marked - so keep your wits with you.," and " Some of the loop portion really shouldn’t be called a trail - it’s nearly impossible to figure out where to go without gps." Next time I would take the balloon segment starting on the boulder canyon side because you can better plot your path through Labarge Canyon as you descend from Battleship Mountain. You've got a clear view of the entire canyon then and can see the flatter riverbed on the west side. 11.1 miles from the Canyon Lake parking lot. For me this was difficult.

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