Baldy Peak Area Road Closures
Date: October 12, 2006
Author: Rick Hartman
As of August 2006 AZ-D.O.T. is doing a major "Reconstruction and Realignment Project"
on State Highway 273, just past the Apache Nation's Sunrise Ski Area.
SR-273/FS Road 87 are closed at the USFS/Reservation boundary, some -2- miles short of the
popular WEST Baldy Trailhead route.
The road is posted and steel gated and the USFS and A-DOT have forbidden vehicles
and pedestrians on the route (and some 250 feet on -both- sides) 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.
Heavy fines are threatened to those who ignore the closure.
This project is expected to last some 18 months to two years.
According to the USFS this also affects the Sheep Crossing Trail that is off of State Highway 260.
Realize there is no access to Mt Baldy from this side.
A temporary route is available, as the Project start was delayed and FS Road 409
will remain open, if briefly. This FS Road takes you to the EAST Baldy Trailhead
which is approximately a 15 mile R/T hike. How long this will be available is unknown,
thus anyone planning to use this route is advised to call the USFS Station in Springerville at
(928) 333-4372 to determine if the FS Road 409 route has been closed due to the construction.
One could consider this route if closed as the locked gate will be located approximately
a mile from the Gabalon Campground.
Note: the USFS warns that the Baldy Summit is closed to all,
as it is a Native American Religious/Sacred Site.
To access the EAST Baldy Trailhead, take SR-260 WEST from Eager, AZ.
At SR-261 go SOUTH 10.4 miles and turn RIGHT onto FS Road 409 (dirt)and follow this
13.1 miles to the Stop Sign. Make a RIGHT turn and go 0.1 mile and turn LEFT
into the Gabalon Campground, going 0.3 mile to the EAST Baldy Trailhead at
the far end of the Campground.
Addendum - Adam Helman
I have received detailed, official documentation of these closures from Rick Hartman.
The following items are of note as abstracted from that literature -
- The road closures apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- "VIOLATION OF THIS PROHIBITION IS PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $5,000
FOR INDIVIDUALS, $10,000 FOR ORGANIZATIONS OR IMPRISONMENT OF NOT MORE THAN
SIX (6) MONTHS, OR BOTH. TITLE 16, USC SECTION 551."
- The road closures are scheduled to last through December 31, 2006; but shall
remain in effect until actually rescinded.
Update October 16, 2010:
The USFS staff in Springerville, AZ at (928) 333-4372 (8-4:30; M-F) advise that SR-273 is still
under major construction (this from the Apache Reservation's Sunrise Ski Area eastward to both
the West and East Mt Baldy Trailheads). Although the road is is paved from the
reservation boundary now, there is some 8 to 10 miles of major re-construction within the
USFS area and travel delays are a certain.
It has been four years, and another winter is nearly upon them;
so it is unlikely that they will complete the project within the next 12 months.
The USFS recommends that no matter which TH is utilized for Mt Baldy,
hikers should access them from the east. Thus continue to access the Trailheads by SR-260,
either EAST or WEST (near Eager, AZ), by going SOUTH on SR-261.
Remain on this road for 10.4 miles and then turn RIGHT onto FS Road 409 (dirt)
and follow this 13.1 miles to the Stop Sign and what is now paved road
(the completed section of SR-273!). Turn RIGHT ("west") and (now) go past the
Gabalon Campground by 1/2 mile to the NEW "East Baldy Trailhead".
If desired, you can continue farther "west" on the newly paved SR-273 road to the
"West Baldy Trailhead". It was our experience that the construction crew shut down at
3:00 PM and the entire route was open thru to SR-260, this is how we left the region after our summit.