Arizona Hiking Gallery
Ballantine Trail Hike
Tonto National Forest, AZ
March 22, 2009
Gallery contains 54 photos
Gallery last updated: 5/16/2009

This hike was a 5.5 mile out-and-back hike from the intersection of the Four Peaks Rd (FR 143) and the Cline Cabin Road. I hiked down the Cline Cabin Road to the Cline Trailhead and, after some difficulty finding it, hopped onto the Ballatine Trail, Trail 283. (Topo maps show the trail as the Pine Mountain Trail.) I followed this sometimes overgrown and hard to follow trail to a pass on the eastern side of Pine Mountain. The hike was on the upper portion of the Ballantine Trail as opposed to the lower portion of the Ballantine Trail which I last hiked in January 2009.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 1
At the start of the upper Ballantine Trail 283, shown on some maps as the Pine Mountain Trail, from the Cline Trailhead off of Four Peaks Road.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 2
Near the start of the hike the trail crosses the small sandy and boulder strewn Pine Creek.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 3
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) growing beneath branches of a dead shrub.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 4
Rock formation along the Ballantine Trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 5
Rock formation along the Ballantine Trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 6
Pine Mountain behind a trio of Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 7
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 8
Galls decorate the branches of a shrub oak.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 9
A view looking back across a dry valley toward Mine Mountain.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 10
Another rock formation along the Ballantine Trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 11
The trail climbs up through a pass on the eastern shoulder of Pine Mountain (on the left).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 12
Stemless Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 13
Closeup of the heart shaped petals of the Stemless Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 14
Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) added a splash of color along the trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 15
I had fun photographing this Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida) and the ants with pollen covered heads feeding on it.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 16
Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 17
Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida) and pollen covered ant.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 18
Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida) and pollen covered ant.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 19
Ant on Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 20
Ant on Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 21
Ant on Euphorbia (Euphorbia lurida).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 22
An old dry agave flower head reaches into the sky.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 23
Closeup of agave flower stalk.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 24
Closeup of a thistle bud just beginning to open.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 25
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 26
Closeup of Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 27
Dried flower stalks of agave (on left) and desert spoon (on right).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 28
A view of Four Peaks with a bit of snow still left on the northern slopes.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 29
Seed filled scat almost matches the granite rock it sits upon.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 30
Boulder covered hill to the east of Pine Mountain.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 31
Looking back out over the valley I've climbed out of toward the Superstition Mountains on the horizon.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 32
The Balantine Trail as it nears the top of the pass.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 33
Believe it or not there are a few pine trees here on the slopes of Pine Mountain. This one loaded with pine cones.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 34
Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) among the rocks.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 35
Pine cone.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 36
Caption for IMG_8011

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 37
A circle of lichen makes its home on a granite rock.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 38
The trunk of an old Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 39
A pile of boulders near the top of the pass.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 40
A balancing rock in a field of boulders.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 41
Lichen covered boulder.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 42
Lichen covered boulder provide a foreground for this view of the forest on the north side of the pass.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 43
An old decaying log along the Ballantine Trail a short ways below the pass. I ate lunch here before turning around and heading back.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 44
A lot of quartz rock was found along the upper parts of the trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 45
A dead tree alongside the Ballantine Trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 46
Teeth line the edges of agave leaves.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 47
A view of Four Peaks.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 48
A dead tree alongside the Ballantine Trail.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 49
The flowers of Gregg Ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii). Also known as desert ceanothus or wild lilac, it is a member of the buckthorn family.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 50
Boulder covered hillside.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 51
An old cement water trough.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 52
Four Peaks towers above the surrounding landscape.

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 53
Lesser Yellowthroat Gilia (Gilia flavocincta).

Ballantine Trail Hike: Image 54
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) mingle among charred branches.

All images Copyright ©2009 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.