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Madera Peak, AZ

Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.8 of 5 
no permit
70 10 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,500 feet
Elevation Gain 2,147 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,299 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4+ hours
Kokopelli Seeds 17
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
10  2020-12-09 thirstylizard
9  2014-10-04 sbkelley
5  2012-08-27 JuanJaimeiii
9  2011-06-19 johnlp
12  2010-05-25 ppickhart
25  2007-09-21 PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,659
Trips 1,751 map ( 9,078 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Apr, Oct, May, Mar → Early
Seasons   Late Winter to Early Winter
Sun  5:37am - 7:21pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2021 Telegraph Fire266.7 mi**
🔥 2011 Frio Fire4k
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles
**possible voids inflate figure

have some Madera
by PrestonSands

This description is of a hike to the top of pine-covered Madera Peak, which forms the northwestern corner of Arizona's Pinal Mountains. The hike follows a barricaded and incredibly steep 4x4 access road from the Warnica Springs Campground near Miami to the peak's 6647-foot summit. Although the climb up is tough, the hike's outstanding and unceasing views of all of central Arizona are more than enough reward. Hikers will earn their peak bag on this one.

The option for a shuttle hike exists if you follow forest road 580 south from Madera Peak to forest road 651 (the road to Pinal Peak).

Start your hike at the locked gate at the entrance to the Warnica Springs Campground. The main road (forest road 906) continues on to the campground. Just behind the gate, a rough road takes off to the left. This is forest road 580; it is marked by a sign that says "primitive road-unsuited for public use". Start hiking up this road, which immediately begins climbing up the chaparral-covered mountainside. About a quarter-mile in, the road forks; go left.

For the next mile, the road climbs steadily, all the while immersing you in increasingly wonderful views of Globe, Miami, and distant mountain ranges. The rounded summit of Madera Peak looms high above, with its rich carpet of ponderosa pines. As you climb higher, the vegetation changes from scrub oak to manzanita, with some ponderosas on the north-facing slopes.

Around the 5500 foot contour, the road starts its first wickedly steep pull, that terminates on a little pine-covered bench, where a couple of small campsites can be had.

Now the road jogs west and soon lands on a ridgeline, which it follows to a hilltop at 6200 feet. From this lofty vantage point, one can now see the forested bowl of upper Steven's Gorge, the Superstition Mountains, and the lush, rolling green mountain tops of the western Pinals.

The road becomes a bit more primitive as it rolls along the lightly forested ridge top and soon makes a steep drop to a saddle at the base of Madera Peak itself.

Now the road begins a second wickedly steep climb, straight up the pine-clad north face of Madera Peak. It's really more like a snow-less black diamond ski run covered in loose pebbles. Spectacular top-of-the-world views provide a distraction, though. After a 500 foot climb in only a quarter of a mile, the road suddenly reaches the top, next to a lone tv tower. This is a false summit, the actual top of Madera Peak is a short distance to the south. From the tower, you can look down the mountainside and see how far you've come.

Continue following the now greatly improved road to a road junction in a saddle, just 0.1 miles to the south. Turn left at the yield sign onto an old pine needle covered road, and follow it a short distance through the tall pines to an open area at the top of Madera Peak.

At the end of the road, you are greeted by some weathered concrete footings with a large oak tree growing in the center. These are the remains of Madera Peak's 40-foot tall wooden fire lookout tower. Nestled among some rocks at the base of the oak tree is a half-rotted summit register in a glass jar. Views from the top of the peak are limited, due to the forest.

Once you have had your fill of this sky island, head back down, and be careful on those steep sections. They are especially treacherous coming down!

The current Official Route does not follow the original 21-point flight pattern. If you are able to follow the above guide and record the journey, please post the route.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-09-23 PrestonSands
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    guide related
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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From the highway 60/highway 188 junction in Globe, head west on Highway 60 for 2.75 miles to the Adonis/Keystone Street stoplight. Reset your odometer and turn south on Adonis. At 0.25 miles, Prospect Avenue takes off to the right. Keep going straight. Adonis soon makes a hard switchback to the left and comes to a 5-point intersection at 0.35 miles. Go straight up the unmarked street (not Sunset Street).

At 0.6 miles, where Maquey Street takes off to the left, the road turns to dirt and is now marked as Cherry Flats Road. Follow Cherry Flats Road. At 1.7 miles, there is a fork to the Jones Ranch. Stay right. Follow Cherry Flats Road (forest road 906) to where it ends at a locked gate (4.2 miles from the highway). There is a "Warnica Springs Group Reservation Area" sign here. Park here, and walk past the gate. Turn left and start hiking up the lesser traveled road, marked by a "primitive road-unsuited for public use" sign.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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