History: The Battle of Turret Peak in south central Arizona was one of the pivotal fights that broke the backs of the Apaches and Yavapais in their efforts to resist white encroachment into their lands. Fought on March 27, 1873, the battle of Turret Peak formed part of Gen. George Crook's Tonto Basin campaign to force the Apaches and Yavapais to submit to reservations. Capt. George Randall, leading a small force including Apache scouts, surprised a rancheria ensconced near the crest of Turret Peak. The battle at Turret Peak proved to the Indians that there was no sanctuary from the soldiers. Two weeks later, most of the Apaches and Yavapais surrendered to Crook at Camp Verde, Arizona.
Hike: From your parking spot head east up Bishop Creek. Following the creek is fairly easy going as you walk under large sycamores, junipers, and the occasional ponderosa pine that wasn't burned in the Cave Creek complex fire. There are many places that would be suitable for an easy backpacking trip. You will cross an extension of FR44 two more times on your way up Bishop Creek, and although it's possible to drive up to the final road crossing and start your hike there the road is fairly rough and you'll have some new custom AZ pin striping on your truck.
At 2.5 miles turn right, headed east, at an unnamed wash with a lone cottonwood standing about 100 feet up stream, coordinates N34'14.947 W111'52.822. You should see Turret Peak straight ahead behind the cottonwood. Follow this wash up until you hit a Y intersection. Keep left and follow as far as you can. When you come to another Y intersection it's up to you how to get to the top of the peak. I went left and bushwhacked my way up to the southern portion of the peak. There is no defined trail so just pick what line looks best. Near the summit there is a final bit of easy rock climbing to gain the top.
Once on top you'll be on the southern portion of the peak, where the summit carin is. You'll be separated from the larger northern portion by a large rock outcropping. You can just hug the west facing side of the rock outcropping to make your way to the northern portion of the peak. Enjoy the views and remember the history of the summit, where at least 2 dozen Indians were killed and the Native American resistance in Arizona effectively ended.
From the top you can either go back the way you came or take the center slope of the peak down, directly below the rock outcropping, back to Bishop Creek. I found taking the wash much easier, but coming down the center of the peak gave some different views and you get to see a section of Bishop Creek that wasn't so badly damaged in the fire. Either way once down one could make a long day hike and follow Bishop Creek all the way up to Pine Mountain, or just return down the creek to their car.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
To hike From Phoenix: Drive north on I-17 to the Bloody Basin exit. Head east on a well maintained dirt road through the Agua Fria National Monument and into the Tonto National Forest. Turn left at the second turn off for FR44, marked FR44A on most maps. The road gets much rougher here, you'll need your 4x4. Park where the road meets Bishop Creek at the bottom of a large hill.