This is one of my favorite hikes in the White Mountains. Actually, I do have several favorites, but this area is especially dear to me. Mt. Baldy is the third highest peak in Arizona and about 40 miles away from the town of Pinetop. This sacred mountain is shared with the White Mountain Apache Indians and sits at 11,200 elevation. The east fork trail of Mt. Baldy is 14 miles round trip and halfway up is a lookout point that friends and I fondly call, “Moonscape” or Amberon Point.
In the summer, as you start this moderate level hike through a leaning wooden gate, your eyes are graced with an abundance of color and textures, much like a Monet painting of a field of wildflowers. And this is just the beginning, because not more than a 1/2 mile in, the Little Colorado River playfully meanders and glistens in the sun.
Hidden along the river, a small wooden cross painted white with pink flowers honors my Mom and Dad who passed away in 1997 and 1998. It will always be a comforting spot to visit. About 4 miles in, on a steep slope lay remnants of small plane. Actually, the wings are the only thing left, but you can’t miss it as it isn’t too far off the trail. At the top there is an awesome view of the White Mountains forests and surrounding landscape. Best to start early in the morning and bring rain gear, as the monsoon rains come in the afternoon. Summer and Fall are the best times to visit.
Travel east on Highway 260 toward Greer, until you reach AZ 273 (going to Sunrise Ski area.) Turn right and continue down this road past Sheeps Crossing, the West Baldy parking lot and a single land bridge until you see a East Baldy sign on your right.