The Mountains of Arizona •
Pine Mountain • Bargaman Flat • Mogollon Plateau
• Coconino National Forest
• Coconino County

Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
The summit is briefly visible through the lower trees
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
Rock formation along the ridge
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
The summit is just up ahead
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
The rocky summit ridge
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
Look north at Mahan Mountain and Bargaman Flat
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
The actual summit rock
Pine Hill Bargaman Flat, Arizona
View of the mountain from FR-294, just barely

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Date: July 10, 2021 • Elevation: 7,996 feet • Prominence: 536 feet • Distance: 2.5 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 560 feet • Conditions: Hot, with clouds and a breeze


Ambiguity alert: there are two summits named Pine in the immediate area. This Pine Mountain is south of Bargaman Flat and about 5 miles northeast of Happy Jack, while Pine Hill is about a dozen miles to the north, east of Mormon Lake.

I was driving back to Payson from Flagstaff, and would be passing by this hill, which was of interest to me because it has the most prominence of the various hills in this area I have yet to climb. The hill itself is like the others in the area: long sloping sides, covered in thick forest. I did not leave Flagstaff until nearly noon, the day very hot all over the southwest. The temperatures in Flagstaff were in the 95-100 F range, which is record-breaking for Flagstaff. At least this wasn't Death Valley, which hit 130 degrees today.

As I drove southbound on Lake Mary Road, I debated whether to hike it today or wait until later and come up early in the morning. The temperature gauge in my car crept downward, so that by the time I was in the Happy Jack area, the gauge read 91 degrees outside. That was tolerable. Also, there were clouds amassing, the start of the day's thunderstorms. Cloud cover would be welcome.

I eased onto Coconino Forest Road 294, signed for Bargaman Flat. I went in, the road pretty good except for a few short rubbly sections. In about ten minutes I was near Bargaman Flat, a circular meadow devoid of trees located south of Mahan Mountain and northwest of Pine Mountain. The Flat appears to be a depression and may sometimes hold water if it rains heavily.

I drove the road as it looped south of the Flat, then slowly gained uphill eastward to a saddle. Here, a scanter road heads south toward Pine Mountain. I drove in this road briefly, parking below a tree. It was 12:55 p.m., and very warm. My car's temperature gauge kept bouncing between 91 and 94 degrees. I changed into my hiking boots and got my pack together, mainly a lot of cold drinks, and started hiking without much delay.

I walked the track a half-mile, passing a gate along the way. The track then splits, both halves roughly encircling the hill. I left the roads here and started uphill.

The ground was mostly open, with grass, twigs, low brush and plenty of downed logs and branches. I was mindful of snakes. The forest was mostly ponderosa and sometimes densely packed together. I had with me my trusty roll of pink surveyor's ribbon and tied flagging to tree branches whenever I felt it wise. I was on the hill's northwest ridge, but keeping a straight line path was difficult. I followed open lanes and game paths and for the most part, had no problems with encroaching brush or scratches. Along the way, I weaved through a couple large rock outcrops, which were interesting to view and broke the monotony of the trees.

Soon, I was closing in on the summit. The forest was very thick here. I found lanes through the trees then achieved a ridge, no real idea how close I was to the summit. Up until now, I was mostly in shade within the trees and this helped take the edge off the heat. However, on the ridge now, I was exposed to the sun and it was very intense. I hoped I was close to the top.

A rough path leads onto rocks, and surmounting these, saw a ridge of these rocks running about a hundred feet and nothing higher nearby. I knew to look for an ammo-box at the summit. I hiked to the obvious top-most rock and tagged its top, a little perplexed not to see any strong boxes. But I found it. It had been buried rather well under a cairn of rocks. I signed in and snapped a few images, mainly of Bargaman Flat, and surrounding hills. The summit elevation is 7,996 feet, so when I stood up at the top, my head would have been at 8,002 feet. By now, the clouds were getting puffier. Above me, it was mostly blue skies with a stray cloud now and then. To the south toward the Mogollon Rim, it was a sheen of gray, the storms already taking hold there.

I retraced my route nearly exactly, untying the pink ribbons as I exited. While getting lost on this hill would be difficult, I did not want to be going down a wrong ridge and add distance to my hike. I was soon back to the road, and soon thereafter, to my car. It was 2:25 p.m.; I had been gone 90 minutes.

The last half mile was in the sun with no shade to cover me. I usually do fine in 95-degree weather for a couple miles, but then I sometimes crash faster than normal if I am not careful. I could feel a crash coming on. I could feel the heat radiating from my body. I got into my car, drank some liquids, got changed and started driving out quickly. Just then, clouds appeared and provided shade, and even dropped a light sprinkle. I was feeling better already.

From here to Payson was another 50 miles. Traffic wasn't too bad for a Saturday and I could keep a good 60 m.p.h. pace. Once down off the Rim and into Strawberry and Pine, traffic picked up all the way into Payson, which is typical. I was home by 3:30 p.m.. Later today, a couple giant thunderstorm cells passed through Payson and provided entertainment and a 20-degree drop in the temperature.

Pine Mountain lies close to the Arizona Trail, and I think I crossed it on my hike. The log book at the summit held many names so it gets climbed relatively often, most likely hikers on the Arizona Trail looking for a viewpoint. The hike itself was enjoyable but nothing memorable. I probably would not have normally climbed it in the heat, but today presented a good opportunity and I am glad I hiked it. In the past 18 months, I have climbed a couple dozen of the ranked hills and peaks on the Mogollon Plateau, roughly everything north of the Rim and south of Mormon Lake. There remain a few I have not climbed and seeing how things will be playing out in the near future, I may not be making the effort to come up here as often for these lower bumps. Thus, Pine Mountain serves as a nice way to close out my short tenure of hiking up here on the Mogollon Plateau.

(c) 2021 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.