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Pinal Peak & Pioneer Recreation

N33.282097  W110.819982  Elevation 7,792
10 miles south of Globe
Gila County, Arizona, USA
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Pinal Peak



Pinal Peak and Pioneer Recreation area are both located atop the Pinal Mountains about 10 miles south of Globe.


There are several routes one can take from Globe to reach the peaks.  I'll present the route with the least amount of gravel roads.


From south-central Globe

  • Immediately east of the bridge on Hwy 60 that goes over Pinal Creek and the railroad tracks, exit south onto Hill St. (N33.392512  W110.782031).  This is about 1 mile east of where Hwys 60 & 70 split from each other; and, at the southern sharp bend in Hwy 60.
  • Follow Hill St. south about 3 blocks to the stop sign at Broad St.
  • Turn right onto Broad St. and then immediately left, crossing over the railroad tracks.  You should see a small sign for Pinal Peak.
  • Immediately after the railroad tracks, turn left onto Jesse Hayes Rd.  After a few blocks, the name changes into Pioneer Rd.
  • Continue southeat on Pioneer Rd. for 0.9 miles to where the road forks into Ice House Canyon and Six Shooter Canyon Roads.
  • Veer right onto Ice House Canyon Rd. and continue 1.8 miles to a more subtle fork in the road.  Here, you must choose your destination. (N33.359087  W110.785495)

For Pinal Peak...

  • Veer right, following the "main" road.  The name changes at this point to Kellner Canyon Rd.
  • Continue 2.8 miles SW on Kellner Canyon Rd. to where you'll encounter a mini crossroads.  Continue left (ssw) on the "primary looking road".  (N33.341306  W110.825055)
  • Continue another 9.5 miles atop the mountain to another fork that is signed with mileage to "Pinal Tower" and "Recreation Area".  (N33.288523  W110.830198)
  • For the recreation area, go left and continue 0.8 miles to the parking area and picnic tables.
  • For the towers, go right and continue 1.1 miles to a parking area with trailheads.  (N33.282097  W110.819982)

For Pioneer Recreation area...

  • Turn left, which appears to leave the "main" road.  The name of this road is still Ice House Canyon Rd.
  • Continue 2.0 miles ssw until the paved road turns into gravel.
  • Continue south on this same gravel road 4.8 miles to the Pioneer Recreation area with picnic tables and campsites.  (N33.282432  W110.796673)
  • Continue south another 1.1 miles to a small parking area that offers a great view over the southern basin. (N33.269635  W110.802092)
  • A nice trail heads east from this parking area.


After you leave Globe, each of the roads to Pinal Peak and to Pioneer Overlook turns into a good, wide gravel road.  The last 12 miles to Pinal Peak is gravel as is the last 6 miles to Pioneer Overlook.  Keep in mind that "good" is relative.  These roads are easily passable with any passenger car.  The only points of consideration are (1) these roads snake around a great deal and (2) they can be bumpy from washboards.  These roads are also very dusty.  Lastly, the nervous, queasy passenger may not like these roads since there are no guard rails and the edge of the road can drop off quickly.


Road conditions quickly deteriorate if you to take one of the many smaller side roads that leave the primary roadway, which is FR 561.



(1) There are minimal services atop Pinal Peak, other than a few restrooms and picnic tables.  If your car breaks down (like the family I met recently), your only recourses are to (a) knock on the door of the few summer cabins present or, (b) wave down a passing vehicle or, (c) hope you can get cell phone reception to call for help.  Help is 1.5 hours away.


(2) The road to Pinal Peak is a dead end, except for the 4-wheeling desert tracks that spawn off the primary road.  The road to the Pioneer Recreation area and the overlook does continue over the mountain, but it extends down into the desert towards private ranch land.  If you don't have a topo map and/or GPS, you may want to avoid pursuing that adventure.


3) Many of the side roads that are marked by the forest servce (e.g., 221 !!) may attract your curiosity.  Unless you have high clearance, good tires, a strong engine, and adventurous bravery, you should reconsider taking these roads.  They become very narrow -- narrow enough that branches scrape both sides of your vehicle; and, the slope will be steep enough to cause loss of traction and to spin out.  Once that happens, you may be forced to back down the hill around a curve in hopes of making a faster run at the hill.  Often, there is absolutely no place to turn around for at least one or two miles.



The upper elevations (5,000 - 7,700 feet) make the late spring and summer months the best time to visit this area.  But, even the summer beginning in mid-June will still be hot in the foothills and upper areas during the middle of the day.


The Pinal Mountains don't offer anything out of the ordinary for upper Arizona elevations, but, they do offer a close-to-Phoenix birding locality to find Grace's, Virginia's, Black-throated Gray, Red-faced, and Olive Warblers along with Painted Redstarts.  Hepatic Tanager, Bridled Titmouse, Yellow-eyed Junco, and Black-chinned Sparrows are also typical.



Summit Post

Arizona County Highpoints




Pinal Peak

01 January 2001 - 22 June 2010





Pinal Peak