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Ballantine Trail and Cabin Day Hike
Four Peaks Wilderness
April 8, 2023
by Li Li
     GPS Map    
by Li
group A
Trailblazers on the trail in the four peaks wildness.
Anna, Diane, Tom, Terry, Michael, Li, Tamar, Cindy, Ron.

Arizona’s mountains were filled with wildflowers this year thanks to Mother Nature’s much-needed rains this winter, making the Ballantine trail picturesque! Wildflowers with different colors, shapes, and species covered the mountains. The weather was perfect in the morning although it was a little warm in the afternoon. Nine trailblazers started the adventure at a steady speed into the beautiful Ballantine Canyon. Besides fully bloomed wildflowers, we were also encountered with interesting rock formations all along the trail. Various different shaped stone creatures greeted us at every turn and introduced.

Leading us into the super bloom. [photo by Tom]
Some interesting rocks. [photo by Li]
Many, many flowers. [photo by Ron]

It was quiet climbing at the beginning of the hike, though we got a nice surprise when we ran into the Peralta Trackers hiking group on the trail. One of them took a group picture for us on the top of the hill. After passing the iconic Boulder Flat area, a few of us optioned to go back before the trail turned to the left on the Pipeline trail. The remaining four of us decided to continue toward the Ballantine Cabin.

Stone throne. [photo by Li]
Looking over the fields of flowers. [photo by Cindy]
The brittlebush in the super bloom. [photo by Tamar]

About one mile from the trail junction we reached the historic cabin which stood quietly in the middle of the mountains. Inside the cabin, things were kept in surprisingly good shape considering it has been abandoned for so many years. I could not find any history of the cabin but it seemed like it had been there for quite some time since the stove and some of the objects left there were the products of the 1920’s. After looking around a bit, we took a long lunch break inside the cabin to cool off from the warm afternoon. After lunch, Ann and Ron parted from us, returning to the Pipeline trail and then to Ballantine trail to finish the hike. Tom and I continued on the trail heading north before turning east to reach a concrete tank. From there we bushwhacked towards the south to connect with the Ballantine trail again. It took us a while since there were no trails on this part besides the occasional animal track here or there and the path was filled with overgrown cat claws which made it a little difficult to cross. Though after 40 minutes of struggle, we finally reached a big open field and the area was stunning!

At the cabin. [photo by Tom]
Inside the cabin. [photo by Tom]
Tom in the fields of poppies. [photo by Li]

The right side of the mountain was sprawling with towering mature trees, and speckled with various interestingly shaped rocks. It was almost as if nature's architect had sculpted the very stone of the mountain into statues for our eyes to admire. The gorgeous scenery presented in front of us made our bushwhacking completely worthwhile, especially because nobody was on the trail except us. Wanting to savor the sights, we took a small break and soaked in the surroundings of Mother Nature's wonderful creation. After a snack break, we passed a barbwire fence and corrals, heading west on a path to the Ballantine trail. This part of the trail was a little hard to follow as It seemed like no one had been there for a while. Three years ago when we did this trail we saw many people on this part of the trail but today there was not a single soul except for us. The once clear path had become unrecognizable.

Interesting rock formations. [photo by Li]
Fairydusters along the trail. [photo by Li]
An arch in the hills

On our way back we saw only one couple with a dog going up the hill but we couldn’t complain as that meant that we were able to take in the silent majesty of the Ballantine Canyon in complete solitude and without distraction. We made it to the trailhead at around 5:00 PM. Overall we hiked a total of 11.5 miles with 2,333 feet of elevation change in 7 hours. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Easter weekend.

The desert has many different flowers this year
Large Saguaro on the way to the parking lot. [photo by Cindy]
Note: these links are temporary. Look at the pictures while you can.

→   More pictures, by Tom
→   More pictures, by Cindy
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona updated May 7, 2023
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