Connect with us


Hike up Above Mount Baldy Arizona For The Best Mountaineer Experience



A lot of mountaineers can relate to John Muir when he said: “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Unbeknownst to many, the activity is more than just a simple outdoor adventure as it can be a spiritual trip, too. Take refuge in the beautiful mountains and prepare for this high-altitude hike. We promise you, Mount Baldy Arizona will be one of your best climbs this year.

It’s Time to Ditch the Phoenix Heat for Mount Baldy in Arizona (It’s a Sacred Mountain!)

Mount Baldy may be the highest point in the White Mountains and the fifth-highest point in the state with a summit elevation of 11,409 feet. But it’s more famous for being one of the most sacred mountains to the Apache of Arizona. In fact, when the American pioneering explorer Captain George M. Wheeler visited the mountaintop in 1873, he couldn’t help but be in awe of its beauty. He reportedly described Mount Baldy Arizona as “the most magnificent and effective of any among the large number that have come under my observation.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, now is the perfect time to take on this high-altitude hike!

Hike to the Top and Enjoy the View

There are two known established trails for this mountain. These are the West Baldy Trail and East Baldy Trail. Each is a moderate 7-mile (one way) hike before it runs along a fork of the Little Colorado River. Hikers can anticipate a lush meadow, a beautiful pine forest, and challenging climbs before reaching the summit of Mount Baldy. The trails will eventually converge at a saddle around 11,200 feet elevation.

What trail to Mount Baldy Arizona should you take?

A tip for our hikers, take the West Baldy Trail if you want something more challenging (it gives a little more elevation gain) and if you prefer views toward the north and west. On the other hand, take the East Baldy Trail if you are about the amazing rock formations and a view toward the southeast.

Either way, both trails will take you high above the clouds and leave you with a memorable hiking experience.

How to Get There:

This guide is from the city of Show Low.

  1. From there, drive south and east on AZ-260 for about 40 minutes and just past Hon Dah and McNary.
  2. Then, turn right on 273 to the direction of the Sunrise Ski Resort.
  3. Continue the drive on 273 for about 8 miles, past the entrance for Sunrise. Once the pavement ends, you will be on the graded dirt road.
  4. If you are hiking in the West Baldy Trail, the turnoff is well-signed on 273. You can just proceed there and look for the Sheep Crossing Trailhead.
  5. If you are hiking in the East Baldy Trail, you will need to take another 4 miles down the road before seeing the Phelps Cabin Trailhead.

Note: There is also a 3.5-mile Crossover Trail connecting the beginning of East Baldy Trail with a point near the beginning of West Baldy Trail. If you want, you can make a loop out of the hike. It goes on for 18-19 miles and is ideal for a great day trip.

What Should You Expect From Mount Baldy Arizona?

You will find many ponderosa pines, white firs, lush meadows, and all kinds of animals such as deer, mountain lions, and black bears. You will also experience a cool, wet climate because of its temperature that rarely tops the 70s in the summer. For the first 2 miles, you will cut through a series of meadows and follow the West Fork of the Little Colorado River. Then, you’ll see the beautiful Mount Baldy wilderness that will give you a feeling of solitude.

You should also prepare to cross a stream and gear up for the series of steep switchbacks along the way. The ascent to Mount Baldy Arizona will take some time and you’ll be on a hillside with lots of fallen logs. These are the dead trees that fell victim to the bark beetles that clobbered the area during the height of the drought in 2002 and 2003. Bears are also frequent in this area, so stay alert!

Continue the hike and you’ll eventually see the merge of the West and East Baldy trails near the White Mountain Apache Tribe boundary. Note: Unfortunately, the summit is off-limits and is only open to its tribal members. The boundary is marked by wooden posts. Remember, this is sacred land so you should think twice about sneaking off to the summit. Fines and confiscation are imposed on those who dare trespass.

Don’t worry. You may not be able to reach the summit of Mount Baldy Arizona, but you can always enjoy Mother Nature’s simple beauty and absorb the healing energy of the mountain. If it’s any consolation, don’t forget that you’ve successfully climbed a sacred mountain. As a mountaineer, it’s one of the best things to be thankful for!

General Information: Hike via West Baldy Trail

Distance: 22.4 km
Rate: Difficult
Best Time: May to September

Have you been to Mount Baldy Arizona? Don’t forget to share your hike experience with us in the comments below.


A writer big on nature, travel, and dogs. If you can't find Errot with her furry pal, then she's probably out exploring.