Pine Creek Loop And Ballantine Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tortilla Flat, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This is a fun little loop trail. It's close to the Phoenix area and has some pretty incredible views from the top of the hill. Pine Creek was running strong when I went which made the 2nd half of this really nice as well. The trail up the hill is narrow and was in rough shape and really washed out in some places but it won't stop you from enjoying yourself. The Pine Creek portion of the trail is in better shape and made for a fun downhill romp. I went on a Thursday evening and didn't see another person on the trail the whole time.
Nice little afternoon trail.
I did the longer part of this trail, heading further east a few miles past the 1.5 mile marker (did most of the 14.5 mile loop). Once you get up to the beginning of the actual Boulder Flats area the trail is worn and poorly maintained. They let cattle run around there so you end up getting confused quite easily (especially if you stray off even a few hundred feet).
DO NOT do the 14.5 mile loop during the summer unless you have ample sun protection and PLENTY of water (something I didn't do, haha). I can easily imagine older persons or unfit individuals succumbing to the heat. There is no breeze for the greater part of the summer months and it's low altitude. You'll be getting valley heat.
I actually ended up getting totally lost, having to scale the giant boulder-encrusted hills. Was fun, but probably almost died from heat stroke (109 F, hehe).
I recommend Barnhardt trail instead. It's a harder trail but far more varied in terrain. You won't be missing much here at Ballantine, unfortunately.
kind of a long drive from Phoenix. Fun trail but it is very narrow. the loop is an easy hike of about 3 miles. Half way through the loop there are 3 additional trails ranging from 3 to 11 miles.
I only did the loop, and my goodness - this trail was HARD to find! Half the time I was just following people's footprints hoping I was on the right path! But the view was great and the hike wasn't too difficult.