I’m not in the best shape. Looking at me, you may think otherwise, but I’m definitely out of shape. Let’s just say I need to do more cardio, but right now I’m limited due to some issues with my right hip. Anyways, I’ve been telling Matt that I want to spend more time exploring our beautiful state because nature bring us both so much serenity. After asking some of my friends for suggestions, Matt and I took the three dogs to the Pine Trailhead in Pine, AZ. It was easy, quick and perfect.
I’m very far from being a pro hiker. In an attempt to get in better shape without killing myself, I’ve been looking for hikes that don’t require a lot of climbing and are shorter than three miles. This may sound like nothing for some of you, but we all gotta start somewhere! I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a complete hiking amateur. Plus, I have three small dogs who aren’t used to hiking so we’re starting easy.
Directions to the Pine Trailhead
Take the Hwy 87 North out of Payson (which is about 90 minutes from the Phoenix valley). The trailhead is literally a straight shot through Payson. You will drive about 15 minutes north of Payson. The drive is gorgeous and you’ll know you’re in Pine when you start seeing all of the pine trees! Go figure, right?! You will pass Old County Road on your right, although we didn’t see any signs. (Yay Google Maps). Just about a minute ahead you will see a sign on your right hand side that says ‘Pine Trailhead.’ It’s hard to miss. All you have to do is turn onto the road and it takes you straight to a huge parking lot with restrooms. From there you can go on several different trails.
Once you get into the parking lot, enter the trail right next to all of the signs. There are some very helpful maps there. You’ll start on the trail and walk for about .6 miles and you will come across a fork in the trail where you can head left or right. We went right to take the shorter trail. If you go the route we did, just keep walking and it will take you back to the parking lot about .9 miles later! Super easy 🙂
The Highline Trail via the Arizona Trail
Did you know that the Arizona Trail is a whopping 790 miles long? Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for that quite yet 😉 So instead we opted to explore a small portion of the Highline Trail. The entire Highline Trail is 19 miles long. You can access many trails from the Pine Trailhead, but we chose Highline. It was rated as “easy” and there was a small loop we could travel on.
My Review of the Highline Trail
Matt and I loved this area of Highline Trail and so did Wynston, Khloee and McKenzie Rae. We had gorgeous weather, which always helps the experience. The trail was a flat dirt trail and the initial .62 miles is a steady uphill walk. I’m not going to lie – I struggled to breathe at first. I’m not used to the altitude. But once we leveled out and started to descend, my breathing went back to normal. Now, there is no climbing with the Highline Trail and you won’t really be able to notice that you’re going uphill. Your indications will be the view and any respiratory trouble 😉
The trail is fairly open but surrounded by pine trees. It was magnificent. Matt and I have a thing for pine trees so we may be a bit biased. My only complaint is that it’s a bit close to the highway and we were able to hear cars. Sometimes it got quiet, other times it was pretty loud. There was a moment where I stopped and heard nothing but the birds. It was such a serene moment!
I would recommend the Highline trail for kids, dogs and people like me who are looking to start with an easy hike. It’s not much of a work out so it can be truly recreational. The hike also has a few places where you can branch off onto longer trails. Khloee did end up getting some burs stuck between her paw pads, so that’s something to be weary of.
I was expecting the Pine Trailhead to be super busy on a day when it was sunny, 67° and a weekend. There were less than 10 cars in the parking lot. We passed one large group of people, and saw a couple of people here and there. There were very few people, which we really appreciated. The entire area was free of litter. You can tell the trails are kept up nicely.
The length of the Highline Trail was approximately 1.5 miles round trip. It took us about 45 minutes or so. The physical trail, length and ease make the Highline Trail a perfect option for someone who’s looking to take a leisurely hike.
I plan to continue my hiking journey on the Arizona Trail with some of the other trails available at the Pine Trailhead. Recently we also checked out Monument Peak. It was definitely longer and more difficult. Check out my review here.
Basic Overview of the Highline Trail
Length: About 1.5 miles
Time: About 45 minutes.
Difficulty: Easy, beginner
Pets: Leashed dogs welcome
I would recommend the Highline Trail via the Arizona Trail to anyone! It’s especially wonderful for those who are looking for something easy but beautiful! I’m looking forward to going back and discovering some of the other trails along the Arizona Trail.
Have you been to the Pine Trailhead or any trails in that area?