Apache County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Baldy

Date: June 23, 2007
Author: Scott Peavy

The East Baldy Trail #95 was selected due to closures in and around the West Baldy trailhead for roadwork being done on Highway 273. I had no issues getting to the East Baldy trailhead by following Highway 261 near Springerville south 20 miles to Crescent Lake. I then turned right (west) on Highway 273 and followed it for 5 miles to the trailhead at Gabaldon Campground. This portion of Highway 273 is mostly dirt and is only open Friday through Sunday due to the road maintenance.

I had left Gilbert at 4:30 am and I was on the trail by 9 am. The area has many scenic attributes including lush open meadows, dense forest cover, large exposed rock slabs, impressive hoodoos and even a plane crash site. The exposed rock areas provide scenic views overlooking Crescent and Big Lakes. The trail maintains a low to moderate grade for it's entire 7 mile length up to the junction with the West Baldy Trail #94. Near the trail junction is the "Fort Apache Indian Reservation Do No Enter" sign. The sign, meant to deter hikers from continuing to the summit, is not on the reservation boundary line shown on the topo. Beyond the sign, the worn path heading south to the 11,400 foot contour north of Baldy Peak also does not cross the reservation boundary. I proceeded to the summit and topped out at about 11:30 am.

Great views exist in all directions from the summit. After visiting the rather large summit cairn and signing the register, I made a quick dash to Baldy Peak. For what it's worth, my altimeter oscillated between 11,412 and 11,416 feet on both summits. I then made my way back down to the trail junction and returned via the same route. I got back to the trailhead by 3 pm and was home by 8 pm.

Climb statistics: Total round trip distance was 15.7 miles which included the side trip to Baldy Peak. The elevation gain was about 2,300 feet. Hiking time not including summit stay was 5 hours 37 minutes.