Pine Creek Loop And Ballantine Trail

MODERATE 71 reviews
#25 of 123 trails in

Pine Creek Loop And Ballantine Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fountain Hills, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,502 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

If you do the whole thing, it’s closer to 7.2 miles. It’s a good work out. The trail is pretty rocky

My wife and I booked ourselves a half day in the wilderness without the kids and decided to explore Ballantine off the 87 midway between Payson and Phoenix. I love how easily accessible this trail is to any vehicle - the parking lot is literally right off the highway. From the trailhead I recommend the climb up to the right but the alternative is to begin the loop clockwise to the left but that follows closely with the highway for the first half mile or so. I had previously hiked 8.8 delightful miles here in January and knew immediately that I’d be revisiting!We expected mild temps but not rain, so when some serious clouds presented themselves on our drive in, Emily remembered we had some ponchos in the center console so we packed them just in case. I always stash a large trash bag for emergencies, but let’s just say the poncho was a huge step up and was used for 2/3 of our hike! In hindsight I would have packed the proper rain gear considering I’m always hoping for rain! Although our first 30 minutes were dry, once the rain started it basically continued for two hours! We weren’t deterred by the rain - the skies were beautiful, the air fresh and cool and crisp, and the snakes stayed underground! Additionally, the colors are so much more vibrant and enhanced by the rain that it’s a shame to not see everything wet! We hiked about 2.5 miles per AllTrails and decided to turn back and complete the loop to he car - I like the loop but you can avoid the stretch along the freeway if you just return the same route you came.... but then you miss seeing Pine Creek and other new scenery! The final 30 minute stretch was dry and sunny so our clothes had a chance to dry before our trip back to the Valley. We encountered one other hiker, but that was expected since this was a weekday. If you can book 4-6 hours trip time you’ll get deeper into the wilderness which I definitely recommend as the scenery is awesome!

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
2 months ago

Went counter clockwise (right trail) then went for 3 or so miles down Ballantine (didn't seem like much was different / going on / leading to something. Trail has an okay / moderately challenging grade. Paths are either Sandy, Rocky, or gravely. Brush encroaches on all sides. The grass and cactus will easily bite you if you aren't careful. I was constantly picking grass seeds and brambles out of my socks. View is good. Nice mountains on occasion. Saguaro and cacti aplenty. Some real good wild flowers. The path is sometimes strict because of bushes...we got trapped by a rattlesnake and had to go quite a ways to go around.

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

Pretty trail with cool rock formations. I went 7.2 round trip miles and did not reach “the boulders” quite yet- was maybe a mile off. Trail was HOT, as there really is no shade. Ran out of water and I had 2 liters with me, so bring extra if it’s hot out. The trail is quite rocky so I’d anticipate that some may find it on the harder side of moderate and a bit tough on knees on the way down.

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

3/10/19 beautiful. no shase, wear protection. once you get to the three way site. if you take a left. about 3/4 mile. there's a creek off trail down the hill to the right. crowded trail. dog friendly.

3 months ago

My dog and I only went about a mile in, but it was beautiful and the wildflowers are in full swing. If you're a Texan, you'll appreciate that there are bluebonnets everywhere! Highly recommend for a highway drive rest stop.

hiking
4 months ago

This was nice morning hike on a Saturday to get away from crowds. There was only 2 other cars at the TH and one was packing up to leave. It was nice with just Cooper and me, but about 1/4 mile or so up the Ballantine we turned back. Lots of boulders to hike through and seems like snake territory. Didn't want to risk that alone with the pup. We did finish the loop and that was nice. Good views of the creek and running water. Will come back with human company next time and finish the trail.

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Nice trail. Counterclockwise approach seems the best. Some wild flowers. Beautiful creek. Only did 4 miles in.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked this yesterday. Took Pine Loop counter clockwise, Ballantine Trail up to Boulder Flat, and spur over to Rock Creek. Probably around 9 miles. Some snow still on the ground in the upper part of the trail and on the surrounding mountains, but going fast. Lots of water/seeps on the trail and Camp Creek, Rock Creek and Pine Creek all flowing with lots of water. Beautiful day in shorts and t-shirt. Some wildflowers out. I'll definitely go back again!

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this hike! Very beautiful area. We got a late start so only went out 3 miles and then back. Hiking back down the very bouldery Ballantine trail was not as much fun as going up as we really had to watch our step and baby our creaky old knees. We took the Pine Creek trail counterclockwise on the way up and wound up dropping 100’ to intersection with Ballantine. Much rockier than north side of loop and we still heard the cars all the way till just beyond intersection. So will probably just skip the loop next time. Gorgeous sunny day. Not that many people on the trail. A few flowers starting to come out.

hiking
no shade
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

We hiked this trail on January 8th. We went 5 miles in, so ended up doing a 10 mile hike. The first mike was a little noisy, because of the highway, but once we got away from the road, it was beautiful. We were the only ones on the trail all day. We loved the saguaros and the boulders. We turned around at Camp Creek. We were surprised at how much water was in the creek. We would do this hike again. It was a new hike for us.

6 months ago

Fun trail once you get beyond the sound of the freeway. The boulders are interesting to explore around.

6 months ago

We hiked this around Christmas and found it to be a moderately difficult trail as rated. Tons of large saguaros. No toilets at the trailhead

hiking
7 months ago

Nice easy trail that provides a decent elevation gain when you’re looking to get in a fairly quick hike just outside Fountain Hills.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike. Not crowed. For a faster ascent start the loop counterclockwise at the trailhead. Then proceed up the Ballantine Trail from the loop intersection. Interesting boulder formations the farther up you go. Watch for the resident diamondback on the north loop.

hiking
7 months ago

very beautiful views but a lot of traffic noise.

7 months ago

Nice incline. Cactus forest. Great view.

hiking
10 months ago

Views are spectacular and the loop is well marked but once we were two miles out past the loop and towards the boulder field the trail was harder to find, over grown and washed out. Still an incredible hike and one I will do again. Did a total of 9 miles today. Bring lots of water when the temperature is high.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Nice trail once you get away from the highway. Definitely take the trail to the left unless you want a pretty hard workout.

hiking
Sunday, March 04, 2018

This is my go to work out loop! I start to the right. Great views. If you have extra time continue on the trail pass the loop sign and the views just get better.

hiking
Monday, February 05, 2018

I thought this was a great hike! If you're doing the loop I would start with the trailhead on the right if you're looking for more of a work out, as the trailhead on the left is gentler. It's also really nice to come down after you've worked your buns off to gain the elevation! Awesome views. We continued the trail beyond where the loop turns back for a little while and we're really happy we did. Highly recommend!

horseback riding
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's strange that this trail description doesn't encompass the premier feature in the area which is the Cline Cabin just on the other side of the ridge beyond where this trail description ends. That "side" trip adds another 2 miles and well worth the trip. This is a fun trail for hiking but it should be noted that the deteriorating granite breaks down into little ball-bearing like gravel that makes the trail a little slippery, even for foot traffic. I don't really understand why several people said they got lost. The trail, especially as described, is pretty much impossible to get lost as the path is well-defined. I rated this trail for horseback riding. The Ballantine trailhead designates the trail as horse-friendly but that isn't so. The narrowly rutted granite trail is really hard for horses to navigate. I completed it on my horse, going all the way to the cabin, but not without my horse suffering several nicks and cuts.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

I haven’t hiked in 8months. So I wanted to get back into hiking shape again. I choose this trail and I thought it would be easy. I hiked from the trail head to boulder flats. Views were great and the amount of quiet time was excellent while hiking mostly up hill. I had a great time out there. I just wish I was in better shape to go further.

trail running
Friday, March 10, 2017

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.

Load More

Featured Trails