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Two Bar Ridge Trail - Tonto National Forest

Summary: A hike along Two Bar Ridge between Forest Road 83 and the Reavis Gap Trail #117; this is also a portion of the Arizona Trail.
Directions: From Phoenix, drive east on Highway 60 almost to Globe. Turn left (north) on Highway 188 (also listed as 88 on maps) and drive ~23 miles to just past milepost 239 and turn left on Forest Road 83. After 2.3 miles on good dirt road you'll reach a sign indicating the Cottonwood Canyon Trail is 2 miles to the left, Two Bar Ridge Trail is 4 miles. Follow this rough 4-Wheel Drive road 2 miles to the signed junction with a short, right branching spur road for the Cottonwood Canyon Trail. Continue straight at this junction and 0.6 miles later you'll reach a fork, stay to the right and begin climbing up a very steep road covered with sharp, loose rocks (I barely made it up this hill and wound up damaging my tires in the process). After another 0.8 miles the road will split with a brown plastic AZ Trail sign pointing the correct route to the left. Another steep hill and 0.2 miles later you'll reach the grassy parking area next to a concrete trough.
Road Conditions: 4-Wheel Drive (only!!)
Navigation: easy, though the path is a little brushy in places
Length: 7.6 miles one way, 15.2 miles out and back
Date Hiked: April 2005
Weather Conditions: Sunny, windy and warm
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the parking area (0 miles, 4500 ft), pick up the Two Bar Ridge Trail #119 (also the AZ Trail) which begins climbing moderately and soon enters the Superstition Wilderness. After 10 minutes you'll pass another Wilderness marker and sign indicating that the Tule Trail is 3 miles ahead. The trail levels out and winds its way along a hillside through a juniper/grassland life zone consisting of: one-seed junipers, beargrass, smoketree, prickly pear, scrub oak, soap tree yucca, sotol, agave and hedgehog cactus. The path meanders up and down then begins a moderate descent into a valley with views of Apache Lake in the distance to the right (west). After dropping about 500 feet the path enters a more forested area with pines offering occasional shade (the only shade you'll find on this hike). After a short walk through the valley, the trail ascends moderately to gain the ridge line once again until it eventually reaches the signed junction with the Tule Trail #122 (3.4 miles, 4850 ft). The path continues south along the ridge at an easy grade, occasionally following a fence line towards Two Bar Mountain (the craggy escarpment you'll see in front of you and to the left). As it nears this mountain, the trail bends right and begins a long descent, using a series of switchbacks, into a broad basin. At the bottom you'll cross two washes (the second of which was flowing when I was here) before beginning the steep climb up and out the other side. Eventually, you'll top out at a broad rocky valley, and the trail descends gradually as you move towards the head of the drainage. The path is a little faint in places in this section, but is cairned at regular intervals and not particularly difficult to follow. The path begins ascending gradually once again as it nears the head of the valley which is marked by a few pyramid shaped hills. As you approach the left most hill you'll reach a 'T' junction with the Reavis Gap Trail #117 which heads left and right (7.6 miles, 4800 ft). You can venture further into the Superstitions on the Reavis Gap Trail or use this as your turn around point and return the way you came (15.2 miles).
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author completed this hike solo at a moderate pace (I took many flower photos along the way) in 7.5 hours, spending 30 minutes or so exploring an archeological site.
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Typical view along the rigeline. Unnamed peak just west of the trail. Reavis Gap junction.
Archeological site. Potsherds (leave them where you
find them, don't display them on
rocks like those in this photo).