Length: 7 miles roundtrip (just a segment of the total trail)
The Tonto National Forest is definitely a remote area! Turning off the main highway (SR 87), you immediately encounter a small, rough dirt road. To get to the trail head, you must follow this road for 8 slow miles. I don't exactly think my Hyundai Elantra was designed for this type of road! That vast majority of the other vehicles I encountered were SUVs or trucks...although I did see a couple other small cars...and my Elantra did survive the trip - even if it did come back with quite a bit of mud caked on the sides.
Anyway, the original plan was to hike the East Webber Trail; however, time did now allow us to actually make it far enough into the forest to actually hike this well-hidden trail. These are the directions to the trail as listed by Phoenix magazine:
"Follow Highline Trail #31 for a quarter mile to the Geronimo Trail 240 junction. Go right at the junction and follow the trail for 3 miles to the end where in intersects with the East Webber Trail #289..."
Now, that sound relatively easy....until you realize how difficult it is to find the correct intersection. It was also VERY difficult to judge when you've traveled the 1/4 mile and the 3 miles for the trail intersections. (And, as anyone who's ever driven along trying to find a street in 2 miles knows, that 2 miles is going to seem like 20!) I wish we had known that the intersection were both going to be clearly marked with trail signs. (We accidentally turned off of the Highline Trail too early and ended up walking a 1/2 mile out of our way!)
Although, we never made it to the East Webber Trail as hoped, the 3 miles along Geronimo Trail did provide a good view and a challenging walk. The trail was pretty much on a straight incline on the way in, so coming back out was much easier. The mountains and pines also made for a nice getaway from the desert environment of Phoenix and Southern Arizona. This trail also provided a great deal of isolation (in our 4 hours on the trail, we saw but one other couple!)
For my pictures of the Tonto National Forest and the Geronimo Trail, click here.