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 Vulture Peak, AZ
Description 86 Triplogs 1 Topic
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
Difficulty 3.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 4.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,500 feet
Elevation Gain 1,155 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,340 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.9
Interest Peak
Author Joel Hazelton
Descriptions 15
Routes 2
Photos 817
Trips 388 map ( 1,878 miles )
Age 29
Location Phoenix, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
17  2015-01-10 Nightstalker
15  2014-05-15 gummo
13  2014-04-16 gummo
14  2013-04-20 zukerrach
5  2013-02-08 Karen Moseley
8  2013-01-01 Randal Schulhaus
9  2013-01-01 Preston Sands
13  2013-01-01 kingsnake
6  2013-01-01 BobP
15  2013-01-01 chumley
3  2013-01-01 Barrett
22  2013-01-01 Outdoor Lover
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Backpack - No
Seasons - Autumn to Spring
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
2.2  Dana's Arch
4.1  Vulture Mine
8.0  Hassayampa River Preserve
8.3  Joshua Forest Scenic Parkway
8.7  Constellation Road Mining District
11.4  Sophie's Flat
[ View More! ]
     Automobile Remains/Wreckage
     Azimuth Mark
     Holiday Spirit
     Reference Mark
     Summit Register Log
     Black-Throated Sparrow
     Cactus Wren
     Common side-blotched lizard
     Curve-billed Thrasher
     Gila Monster
     Greater earless lizard
     Harris Antelope Squirrel
     Huntsman Spider
     Speckled Rattlesnake
     Turkey Vulture
     Western Diamondback Rattlesnak
     Zebra-tailed lizard
 American Carrot
 Bajada Lupine
     Barrel Cactus - Compass Barrel
     Barrel Cactus - Red
     Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus
     Bigelow Ragged Rock Flower
     Bladderpod Mustard
     Blue Dicks
 Blue Paloverde
 Booths Evening Primrose
     Broad-Leaved Gilia
   California barrel cactus
   California barrel cactus
 Common Bedstraw
     Coulter's Lupine
     Desert Chicory
     Desert Marigold
 Desert Snowberry
     Desert Wishbone Bush
     Engelmann Prickly Pear
     Esteve's Pincushion
     Fairy Duster
   Foothill Deervetch
     Johnson's Pineapple Cactus
     Many-Headed Barrel Cactus
     Mexican Gold Poppy
     Miniature Wool Star
     Mustard Evening Primrose
     New Mexican Thistle
     Owl Clover
     Prickly Pear
     Red Maids
     Scarlet Bugler
 Sleepy Catchfly
     Small-Flowered Eucrypta
 Small-Flowered Milk Vetch
     Staghorn Cholla
     Star Solomon's-seal
     Teddy Bear Cholla
     Twining Snapdragon
     Whispering Bells
     Wild Buckwheat
     Wild Heliotrope
   Woolly Daisy
     Yellow Paloverde

Short and STEEP
by Joel Hazelton

You have two options with Vulture Peak. First option is a quick workout hike up to the saddle. This is a 0.8 mile 800 foot elevation gain. Your second option is to start from the back trailhead. This tacks on 1.4 miles each direction and a beautiful stroll in and out of washes up to the second trailhead at the base of the mountain.

From the lower passenger car accessible trailhead, the trail begins flat and wide. In a couple hundred yards you drop into an unnamed wash and then promptly climb back out. At this point my sister and I started to feel our lunch of Filibertos. It's not a good idea to eat greasy Mexican food before you hike. Anyway, from here you travel over a couple hills and through the bottom of a wash before you hit the upper trailhead. The trail is extremely easy to follow as it is well marked with very large cairns the entire time at the bottom of the wash. Once you leave the wash, the road to the upper trailhead is visible and you reach the parking lot in about a minute. From the upper trailhead (only accessible with a 4wd vehicle) you will begin your ascent. Actually, you've already climbed 200 feet, but you can't really feel it. For some reason, the first stretch of trail from the upper trailhead was the most difficult part of the hike for me. It is not a very steep grade, but it is relentless, and the ground was very soft and muddy from the previous night's storm. It's not long before the real climb begins, though. Once the trail really starts to go up, you gain elevation very quickly through a series of tight switchbacks that become steeper and tighter until you reach the saddle. I would say this is about a 700 foot climb in .6 miles. Since it was so wet this particular day, there were several spots of water trickling off of the boulders above the trail into small pools on the ground during the portion just below the saddle. At the saddle, you get great views of the back of the White Tanks to the east, and views of, well, I don't really know to the west. It's a good view, though.

The actual summit of Vulture Peak will be to your left when you are looking towards the White Tanks. It's tempting... The trail to the top is not maintained and is very STEEP. Like, hand over foot type. It sure is fun, though. Just make sure that you can get back down anything you go up. The route to the top is pretty straight-forward. You basically follow the narrow gully up. At one point you have the option of going straight or veering off to the right (It sounds vague, but you'll know). We chose to go right because it looked less steep. It worked very well, but I'm sure either direction is fine. At the top you get wonderful views all around. I didn't know anything to the south or west, but the Bradshaws, White tanks, Estrellas, Vulture Mountains, and Hieroglyphic Mountains dominated the other directions. There is a geo-cache with a logbook and some random other stuff that's pretty fun to look through. Stay up and enjoy the views for a while, but make sure to head down before it gets dark. Footing is fairly tricky and some of the rocks are loose, so you want plenty of light to get back to the saddle. It's only a couple of hundred vertical feet though, so it only takes about 10 minutes. The hike from the saddle back to either trailhead also takes no time at all. At your car, look back at the mountain you just climbed. That was easy! Really, though, it is easier than it looks.


Directions Preferred Months Oct Nov Mar Apr
Water / Source:None
Preferred StartEarly Cell Phone SignalHigh Points Sunrise6:22am Sunset6:50pm
Road / VehicleInfo is below 'Directions to trail'
Fees / Permit

To hike
From Phoenix, take the 60 (Grand Ave) west to Wickenburg. Just shy of Wickenburg, stop at the rest stop and take a look at the Hassayampa River, which is pretty much perennial at this point. Once in Wickenburg, veer left onto the 60 at the intersection of the 60 and 93. The 93 will take you north to Prescott. Continue about 2.5 miles on the 60 (over the Hassayampa, which is usually dry at this point) until you reach Vulture Mine Rd, which will be a stoplight. Turn left and follow 6.7 miles to the turnoff for the Vulture Peak Trail, which will be marked well going either direction. Follow the well maintained dirt road through the parking lot about a half mile to the trailhead. If you have a 4wd vehicle, follow the dirt road an additional 1.4 miles to the upper trailhead. The lower trailhead is accessible by any passenger car.
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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.
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