Hike the West Baldy Trail

Greer, Arizona

4.5/5
based on 2 reviews

Details

Distance

14 miles

Elevation Gain

2000 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Jeremy Meek

One of the best near-water hikes in Arizona! Especially splendid in autumn when changing leaves grace the mountainsides.

The West Baldy Trail is one of the most beautiful (and popular) hikes in Arizona. It is reminiscent of many alpine hikes you might find scattered across Colorado. The trail follows the Little Colorado River most of the way and the sound of trickling water complements the gorgeous mountains and grasslands. Even if you’re not completing the full 7-mile hike, there are many places along the first segments of the trail that provide great picnic spots and day lounging areas. Summertime hikers will bask the multitude of multi-colored flowers that fill the meadows. Those who climb the mountain in autumn will enjoy the golden aspen leaves that highlight the trail.

From AZ 260, take the AZ 273 south for about 7.5 miles. The parking lot and trailhead will be on the right (west side of road). The well-defined trail is about 7 miles one way. The first portion of the hike gradually climbs next to the meandering Little Colorado River. The majority of the elevation gain comes later on with switchbacks climbing through dense forest. After a 2,000 ft climb, East Baldy trail joins the West in a saddle below the summit of Mt. Baldy.

Technically, the summit of Mt. Baldy is off limits—it is on the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s land.  Some websites and trail guides warn that your backpack and gear might risk confiscation if you are found on that trail. I’m not suggesting confiscations may not have occurred at some point in history, but it is easy to just get a permit from the tribe and do it legally. 928-338-2500

If you’re looking for a bit longer hike, consider tackling the West Baldy and East Baldy circuit via the crosscut trail. If you are hiking in summer, beware of fast-building monsoon storms. Get below treeline if lightning threatens.

There are a multitude of options if you want to camp in the area. For a developed campsite with flush toilets and showers, check out the Rainbow Campground at Big Lake. If looking for a more rugged camping experience, the Gabaldon Campground is immediately adjacent the East Baldy Trail. A path connects the campground to the East Baldy Trail and the crosscut trail can be used to reach the West Baldy Trail.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app

Features

Chillin
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Hike the West Baldy Trail Reviews

We walked the first part of the trail (2.5 miles in and 2.5 miles back) with 7 kids and 3 adults. We walked through patches of wild irises, Aspen, blue spruce and beautiful meadows near the stream. There weren’t any picnic tables, so we ate on a blanket at the start of our tour and only took a few snacks and water bottles along for the actual hike. It’s a great outing for young explorers looking to discover a natural environment.

Second time doing the west trail, started running into down trees about 4 miles up. The last 2 miles were a chore, many down trees to go over under or around, still snow at the top. I know the trail crews do the best they can. Still a great hike I started at 6:00am and never saw a person till coming back down, did see a porcupine and many elk tracks. It took me 7 hours round trip including lunch but I’m in pretty good shape. Finished with a lot of scrapes from down trees. Still a great hike but I prefer the east trail

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Backpack East Baldy Trail #95

Hike the Government Springs Trail

Hike the Thompson Trail

Pacheta Falls

Hike to Escudilla Mountain Lookout Tower

Blue Ridge Cave Trail