Friday, October 16, 2009
HINKLE SPRING TRAIL From its shaded, riverside access point to the high pastures above Blue River Canyon, the Hinkle Spring Trail #30 is a gateway to a seldom-seen tour of one of the most remote areas of Eastern Arizona. The trail, which is still used to drive cattle from the canyon floor to rim-top grazing areas, has some faint, difficult-to-follow segments marked only by tree blazes and occasional rock carins. This provides a good excuse to slow down and savor the sights. Ducking in and out of canyons and forests, the upper portion of the trail features outstanding views of the eastern reaches of the Blue Range Primitive Area. In addition to the route-finding requirements, hikers will encounter a few steep switchbacks and some fallen trees, before reaching the reliable waters and corral of Hinkle Spring, the turnaround point for this trip. LENGTH: 9 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 5,700 – 7,220 feet GETTING THERE: From Alpine, drive 3.5 miles east on Highway 180 to Blue River Road (a.k.a. Country Road 2104 or Forest Road 281). Go south on this good dirt road and continue 21.3 miles to the signed trailhead on the left side of the road. Those with a high clearance vehicle can opt to ford Blue River and park further up the road.