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Twilight Peak 9320', AZ

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Safford
3 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,800 feet
Elevation Gain 520 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
30  2016-07-17 AZHiker456
12  2007-07-04 PrestonSands
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Aug, Jul, Sep, Jun → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:04am - 6:23pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
short, but sweet
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Southeastern Arizona's Pinaleno Mountains are a large and rugged range that include many unnamed peaks. While not the most prominent, the twin summits of an unnamed 9320 foot peak that sits on the ridge line south of Heliograph Peak certainly are distinctive. For the purpose of this hike description, I'll call the peak Twilight Peak, as it is near the top of Twilight Creek.

While exploring the ridge that runs between 10,020 foot Heliograph Peak and Ladybug Saddle on a blistering hot Independence Day, I came across a route leading up to the rugged summit of Twilight Peak. After enjoying the views from its rocky little apex, I headed back down towards the Swift Trail highway, which contours along the ridge about 500 feet below. Expecting a rough bushwhack while heading down, I was surprised to come across an abandoned but obviously man made trail leading back down to the highway. This little trail came to an end at the upper trailhead for the Shake Trail #309. Perhaps this was an abandoned upper segment of the Shake Trail. Who knows.

If you have just hiked the Shake Trail and want to tack on a peak-bagging finale, this little hike is conveniently located. Or just do it by itself, if you're into peak bagging.

While there is the abandoned trail leading up to the ridge line below Twilight Peak, this is basically an off trail hike with route finding required. Get off the peak quickly if thunderstorms are in the area!

At the pull off area along the Swift Trail at milepost 132.4, which serves as the upper trailhead for the Shake Trail, there are several cairns visible on the embankment on the uphill side of the road. I'm referring to the inside curve of the road. On top of the highest part of the embankment next to the highway there is a big cairn and a piece of pink tape in a tree next to it. The abandoned trail begins here, heading north and paralleling the highway. This trail is quite faint, but you will notice spots here and there where rocks were stacked to build up the trail.

After about 0.3 miles of gradual climbing, the old trail makes a switchback (32.63280 N, 109.84050 W). The old trail now turns southeast, gets steeper, and disappears just before reaching the top of the ridge line. Off trail hiking isn't too bad here. Just head uphill until you reach the ridge line.

There is a little rocky nub on the ridge line between the 9312 point and the 9315 point (see map). The going is a little easier if you stay on the east side of it, up against the edge of the Nuttall Fire burn area.

On the south side of the little rocky nub, there is a small, open saddle. A ramp-like ridge heads south from this saddle to the top of Twilight Peak. Follow it up. The off trail hiking is easy here, due to fire crews having cut a fire line along the ridge top. Very soon you'll be at the peak's bald granite summit.

Once you're on top, pull up a rock and take in the spectacular 360 degree views. There is a little register between some rocks here, so be sure to sign in. You are on the western summit, elevation 9320 feet. A rugged notch separates you from the 9315 foot eastern summit.

Enjoy, and don't fall off the top!

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2007-08-13 PrestonSands
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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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Twilight Peak 9320'
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This will be my 2nd to last trip up Graham to survey the Frye Fire damage.
Plan was to check out the Snow Flat area and spend some time down in the campground.

Snow Flat Rd 90% down to the campground Med severity burn. Mostly brown needles with a few black trees.
Snow Flat Campground 98% untouched ..... I couldn't believe it ..... it looked great!
Snow Flat Trail also looked great ..... some flooding and the fire did come down both sides of the canyon right up to the creek in some spots. Mostly brown needles, a few black trees up high.

I then spent a few hours back at the campground. I packed in a grill and cooked pork chops for lunch, practiced a few outdoor skills, wrote a little & just relaxed. I watched 3 deer drink from the pond and listened to turkey gobbles up in the hills (never spotted them).

Treasure Park from Snow Flat - There is now a permanent gate put up with a "forest closed" sign. I hiked just a bit up to the top of the hill to get a better understanding why. 100% black sticks as far as I could see and I'm sure all the way to Treasure Park. The worst hit area I have now seen on top.
After leaving Snow Flat I next hit up the Shake Trail.
There is a fire damage caution sign at the trail head for some reason?
Other than a bit of red slurry on trees the first 100 yards ..... this trail was untouched by the fire. I hiked it just to the "big meadow" a mile down and this area looked great, No Damage!
Back at the TH I crossed the Swift Trail and a bit up Twilight Peak.
Destroyed ..... 50% brown needles/50% black trees ..... I could barely make out the trail.

Was very happy to see Snow Flat & the Shake Trail as I've always seen them.
The back trail to Treasure & Twilight are sad to lose.
This is still very hard for me to deal with, I will actually be glad this year for the Nov 15th winter closure. 1 more trip up and I will be done with the top of the mountain until next April 15th after the winter closure is over.
It's like a big car wreck up there ..... I don't want to look, but I have too.

Wildlife - Another unbelievable day for deer, I counted 22 along the way. Many Abert's, heard gobblers, lots of butterflies & saw deer/turkey/coati/bear tracks at Snow Flat. Several javalina crossing the road lower down and a baby rattlesnake.
Twilight Peak 9320'
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Motivated by the day before rain I watched hit the upper mountain, I headed up high to the pines .....

Shake Trail - Started the day with an out-n-back down to the meadow hoping for the yellow sunflowers that usually fill up this area in summer. I was not disappointed, a good sea of yellow with much more to come!

Twilight Peak - From the Shake TH a walk across the Swift Trail took me up the "secret/hidden" Twilight trail. The trail has some new tape markers that made it a lot easier to find my way up to the saddle than my last trip! At the saddle, I decided on peak 9592 rather then Twilight. I payed the price on this idea bushwacking the ridgeline north to the highpoint I believe was 9592? There was blood, cussing & the "why" question on this never again adventure.

Ladybug Peak & Bear Canyon Trail - On the way back down I hit up the mandatory Ladybug Peak for this time of the year. True to it's name, there were thousands on top! Within minutes I had them in my hair, up my shorts & down my shoes. Signed the register, took my pics and climbed down removing ladybugs all the way down to the Bear Canyon spur.
I then out-n-backed upper Bear Canyon down to Dutch Henry to finish the day. Only had time for the short upper section, but any section along Bear will always be on my Pinaleno Favs list!

Sunset was had at Ladybug Saddle along with a nice little thunderstorm hitting north over the Gila Mountains.
Wildlife spotted - 4 Does, 2 Abert's, Turkey Vultures, Spiny Lizards, Fungus Beetles, Hawk, Many species of Butterflies & the highlight - 4 nighttime skunks running alongside my truck down the Swift Trail!
Wonderful day on Graham, painful day on Graham, rewarding day on Graham!
: rein :
Twilight Peak 9320'
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Made it up to the peak in about 45 minutes. Returned back down to the saddle and then hiked Northwest to peaks 9312 & 9340. Many game trails all over the area and I had a little trouble finding the main trail coming back down. Ended up just going straight down the mountain until I reached the Swift trail and back to my truck.
Twilight Peak 9320'
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What I now call Twilight Peak, or
"Pinaleno Ridgeline" exploration hike part 1

While exploring the ridge that runs between 10,020 foot Heliograph Peak and Ladybug Saddle on a blistering hot, gnat infested Independence Day, I came across a route leading up to the rugged summit of Twilight Peak. I decided I'd better check it out.
It was super hot, even at 9300 feet. It was 90 degrees in the shade of a 3 foot tall aspen growing out of the rock, where I had my lunch. Sweet views from the top, at least as good as nearby Ladybug Peak.
I felt the need to start a summit register. It's inside a very small plastic bottle, which is inside a ziplock bag, and stuck between some rocks on the summit of the 9320 foot peak.
Coming down was way easier than expected, after coming across an abandoned trail to follow.
The Pinaleno Ridgeline exploration was slow going and brutal, but it was a good day!

Permit $$

Coronado Forest
MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Safford, head south on U.S. highway 191. Turn west onto state highway 366 (Swift Trail). Follow highway 366 for approximately 18 miles to a large paved pull off area on the left (downhill) side of the highway (milepost 132.4). Across the highway from the pull off area there are several cairns visible on the embankment on the uphill side of the road (the inside curve of the road). On top of the highest part of the embankment next to the highway there is a big cairn and a piece of pink tape in a tree next to it. Start hiking here (see description).
1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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