Phoneline Trail

MODERATE 1 reviews
#4 of 6 trails in

Phoneline Trail is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mammoth, Arizona that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
882 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

river

views

wildlife

over grown

Desert grasslands, different loop options, river valley view From the parking lot you'll jump onto the trail and within 10 yards the trail splits. You can take the Phoneline Trail to your left or continue on down the trail to the Cherry Valley Wash (where you'd take a left once you get to the wash). Either trail takes you to the same place (see map). Both trails parallel one another until you hit an intersection. You have the option to go straight along the wash or take a right and climb out of the wash. The trail to the right runs below and alongside phone lines. The straight trail travels through the wash and eventually you'll come to another intersection, take a right, climb out of the wash, and the trail will intersect with the trail under the phone lines. Along the trail under the phone lines there are a few junctions marked with signs where you can add loops to your hike which gives you a lot of options and flexibility. The trail markers are more frequent and noticeable when you're hiking in the washes.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a scenic and somewhat challenging hike. The Phoneline trail is not at all clearly marked once you get to the first wash. Make sure you have your app open or have a map. There was quite good cell coverage for about 75% of the hike (I use Sprint). When you are in the canyons and washes, cell service was sketchy as expected. The Phoneline trail is just a road built back in the day to install and service the power lines and poles. The road is pretty easy to follow, but really overgrown with tall grasses and thorny Palo Verde bushes. I wore shorts for this hike, YOU SHOULD NOT - big mistake on my part.

After the Phoneline Trail ended, I caught the Arizona Trail to the Windmill Trail. These trails were extremely easy to follow and clearly traveled frequently. The Windmill was very cool and iconic! I did a little research and the windmill was likely installed in or around the 1930's. It still turns (creaks a little) and moves with the wind. There were two picnic tables and a nice bench there. It was a good place for photos and a snack.

From the windmill on was quite a challenge. You hike IN THE WASH for at least a mile. Probably not a route you would want to take (or could take) during monsoon season. The regular trail resumes, but almost missed it because the homemade sign (laminated paper) was badly faded. From this point on and for all but the last 2 miles, the trail is in extremely poor condition. The trail is overgrown with grasses, Prickly Pear cactus, and Palo Verde bushes. The trail is extremely hard to follow and I made several missteps. You must look very carefully for the rock piles periodically which people were nice enough to stack so people like me did not end up bushwhacking through the high desert.

The last part of the hike was following the Arizona Trail and part of the Phoneline trail just like I had done on the way out. This would be a MUCH better hike if the trails were clearly marked and rehabbed a bit. There is stunning scenery, deer, javelina, coyotes and probably a lot more out there. It is a VERY worthwhile hike if some time would be spent trail marking. I assume the overgrowth on some of the trail is due to lack of use. Fix the signage and the traffic will follow.