National Forest Foundation

West Pinto Creek Trail Restoration

Supported by REI

West Pinto Creek, just east of Superior, Arizona, is a popular recreation destination on the Tonto National Forest. Miles of hiking and equestrian trails in this area allow access to beautiful scenery and the Superstition Wilderness, a 160,000-acre landscape of rugged desert plants, haunting canyons and dramatic volcanic upthrusts. With 180 miles of trails, the Wilderness is one of the most popular backcountry destinations in Arizona.

This popularity extends to the West Pinto Creek trail system, including the 9.75-mile (one way) West Pinto Creek Trail, which passes through the popular Oak Flat campground and leads into the eastern portion of the Superstition Wilderness. These trails experience significant use but limited maintenance. This ever increasing use has resulted in erosion, which degrades water quality and negatively impacts the recreational experience. Because the trail runs along West Pinto Creek and Haunted Creek, both tributaries to Pinto Creek, which runs directly into Roosevelt Lake Reservoir, this erosion and subsequent sedimentation is a serious management concern. 

In 2017, the NFF and partners implemented activities that reduced erosion and sediment runoff along approximately 26 miles of trails in the West Pinto Creek area. Youth corps and volunteers rehabilitated trails by restoring proper trail design and improving drainage characteristics. The youth corps teams worked on the most remote and difficult rock work needed to replace steep trail sections that encourage high velocity runoff and erosion during rain events. 

Both volunteers and the youth crews also rehabilitated and mulched the numerous user-created trails that criss-cross this area to prevent further use and impacts to the watershed. With the direct support of REI, the NFF addressed five miles of the West Pinto Creek Trail. Other funding partners supported an additional 21 miles of trail improvements to complete this multi-year effort.

Accomplishments:

  • 7 partners included in project
  • 26 total miles of trails built or maintained (5 with direct REI support)
  • 138 volunteers involved in project, including 54 youth
  • 10,057 volunteer hours


Project Updates

July 2017 Project Updates

Conservation Legacy Crews in action on West Pinto Creek Trail in July of 2017.