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Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns, AZ

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Guide 37 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Loop 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,922 feet
Elevation Gain 685 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,260 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.8
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack No
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11  2019-05-18 DarthStiller
16  2019-04-12
Peak 3108 Ridgeline Plus
2  2019-02-26 hikerdw
16  2019-02-17 DarthStiller
12  2019-02-13
Pass Mountain Loop Trail #282
1  2018-11-16 jtaylor
10  2018-10-28
Pass Mountain / Peak 3004 Loop
18  2018-03-11 jamminaz
Page 1,  2
Author OhOh7
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 2
Photos 1,591
Trips 81 map ( 435 miles )
Age 83 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:09am - 6:34pm
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5 Alternative
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Suddenly no trail!
by OhOh7

Note: Some may refer to this as "Fish Rock Loop".

Another adventure into the Goldfield Mountains. Lots of old jeep roads and faint trails throughout the Goldfields. Although the trailheads are labeled most of the trails are not. The one we took today is called "Peak 3004 Loop". This route is about 5.5 miles RT but almost 2 miles of it is bushwhack. There are a few cairns but many stretches without. I must give a WARNING about this route. If you do not have a sense of basic directions and a little bit of landmark knowledge you could run into some trouble. Also again I refer to the book Goldfield Mountain Hikes by Ted Tenny.

This hike starts at the Meridian Trailhead (directions and coordinates below). There are two trailheads there. One of them goes NW to join the Pass Mountain Trail that you can take either clockwise or counterclockwise for about an 8 mile circle. The other is called the Bulldog Saddle trail and goes north and then NE up to the visible saddle. This is the right one for Peak 3004 Loop. The trail starts out fairly smooth as it follows an old road. Then watch for the trail to narrow down and go NE toward the saddle. The trail is actually quite defined but very rocky and does climb almost 700 feet to Bulldog Saddle. Once you reach the saddle the views are astounding of the Salt River Valley. The reason this trail is called Bulldog Saddle trail is that most hikers turn around here to retrace back to the trailhead that would make a 3 mile RT.

Here is where the fun starts. The trail down the other side of the saddle starts out rather defined but gets fainter and fainter until it fades out. From now on you use landmarks for your hike and head NW until you can see Pass mountain and the trail cut into the SE side that is very visible. Your route is to get to the Pass Mountain saddle to join that trail that will complete the circle back to the Meridian Trailhead. You need to be somewhat familiar with the Pass Mountain Trail plus the general location of peaks 3004 and 2290. These are marked on the USGS Quad maps for Apache Junction and Stewart mountain.

After you pass Peak 3004 you have a choice of taking the high road or the low road. This means going the high side NW to get to the Pass mountain saddle or going more north down to the major wash, then SW up the wash to the Pass Mountain Saddle. We selected the high road and I found it to be somewhat difficult in places crossing a few washes and one particularly steep one. However we made it to what looks like cave in the base of Peak 3004. Close up it looks more like someone tried to mine there as it only goes back in about 20 feet and looks very man made.

When you reach the Pass Mountain saddle (there is a defined trail from that cave like place) you begin to switchback down back to the trailhead about 2.1 miles away. The hike is classified as being fairly easy but considering the climb to the saddles, the bush whacking and crossing some washes on the high side it proved to be rather taxing but very enjoyable. Great views and lots of fun in wild country so close to Apache Junction. If you go on this loop be certain you know the landmarks and general directions to get back to the Pass Mountain trail. I have tried to label the few photos.

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2007-10-25 OhOh7
    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
    Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns
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    I did this hike as a combination of the Ridgeline 3108 Loop Hike and the Peak 3004 Loop Hike. We started from the Meridian Trailhead, went east for a around 1.5 miles on an easy-to-follow trail, and then began the ascent up to the Peak 3108 Ridgeline. On the easy-to-follow trail, we saw 6 deer, including a nice size buck who stood and stared at us for at least 10 minutes. As we began the ascent to the ridgeline, there were a number of cairns that guided the way for a while. Past that point, I used the gps track that I downloaded from HAZ. It was a lot of fun hiking the ridgeline, and it involved a good bit of rock climbing. The views are awesome on the ridgeline, particularly at the top of Peak 3108, Temptation Peak, and Peak 3125(Note that Tenny's book calls this one Peak 3113). We climbed up Temptation Peak on the south side, and it looked a bit iffy to descend down the north side, so we descended on the east side.

    When we descended down Peak 3125 down to Bulldog Saddle, instead of going south back to the trailhead, we picked up the Peak 3004 Loop hike by going north down to the valley below Peak 3004, looped around up to Pass Mountain Saddle, and then took the Pass Mountain trail to the south back to the trailhead.

    The Peak 3108 Ridgeline hike was cool and was a lot of fun. There was nothing special about the Peak 3004 Loop hike, but it did enable us to get in a couple of extra miles.

    I wonder why this is called the Peak 3108 Ridgeline? Peak 3108 is actually a bit off of the Ridgeline, and both Peak 3125 and Temptation Peak (3,195') are higher.
    Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns
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    I haven't got the foggiest clue where I was today. All I know is that I wasn't on the Trail that I intended to be on. At least I found my car where I left it......

    Edited 01/28/12 Peak 3004 Loop (aka, Haven't got a Clue Trail) Ok, thanks to a Fellow HAZer, I can now do a Real Triplog. :) My original trip was supposed to be the Pass Mountain Loop. :oops: I parked at the Meridian TH and got out of the car. Right in front of me it was evident that someone had peed in the Parking Lot. :yuck: I contemplated picking up the Toilet Paper and before I made up my mind, a truck pulled up right over the top of it. Solves that problem, I'm not going under the Truck to get it. :roll:

    I should have taken that as an indicator of how things would go...Get to the Tonto National Forest Information Board and see that there is nothing on it. :-k Oh well, I have the GPS Maps and Description, I should be OK. :whistle:

    Get about 100 ft on the Trail and it splits, one goes West and the other goes North. One of these Trails does not exist in the Maps that I have. :doh: I knew from looking at the GPS Maps that I was going to go North, so I take the North Trail. Very nice Trail for a little while, pass a Rock that has Pink and Green Paint on it. It says "Fish Rock". Nice, someone's labeled a Rock. I continue up towards a Saddle and the Trail is getting full of extremely loose rock and is becoming tough. But being the novice that I am and not knowing which Mountain was Pass Mountain, I still think that I'm on the right trail. I finally get to the Saddle and take a small break.

    A group of about 6 people were ahead of me and I could hear them somewhere to my right up or around the Mountain, so I pick up a Trail from the Saddle and start following it. It goes up a little and then proceeds to start wrapping around the Mountain towards the Northeast. After just a little bit, the Trail starts getting really obscure and the Mountainside is getting steeper with some loose scree. All of the sudden I find a Cairn, so I must still be on the Trail. I keep going, but it's just not working out and I finally lose any resemblance of a Trail altogether and can't keep traversing because of a large drainage. I can hear and see people, but they are back to the South of me and alot higher so I figure they are climbing to the Peak. By this time, I am more than halfway up the Peak myself, so I figured WTH, I'm not backtracking what I just did, so I go straight up. :D

    I get to the Peak after sliding down a few times, but then I followed some Hoofprints for awhile and that helped. It actually was much easier than Peak 5024 due to the lack of Boulders and Hoodoos. Made it to the Top and met a nice couple from Chicago who were visiting. As I'm looking around, I spot the Real Pass Mountain Trail one canyon over from where we are. Great. :roll: I was talking to the Chicago couple and the guy says, "yea, I found this Trail on some map and it goes north, then west, and hooks up to another Trail. This Trail is called Fish Rock Trail on my map, but I don't have the Map with me." Pretty bad when the Snowbirds have better information than I do... :oops:

    I can see "Fish Rock Trail" below as well and it continues North just like the guy said. I take the "easy" way down from the Peak. There is a Trail down. It is obscure in parts, but well marked with Cairns and a few tree ribbons. I pick up the Trail heading North and it is very defined at this point. Once it gets down to the bottom of the valley it takes a turn to the West and now I'm pretty sure that it will hook up with Pass Mountain. Even if it didn't, I knew I could bushwack West and get to my "intended" trail anyway. The Trail I'm on is now getting more indistinct as I am crossing a large, green expanse at the base of what I now know is Peak 3004. This area is very green with lots of grass, but the grass is still very short, so there really was no "bushwacking" to be done. But sometimes the Trail just disappeared anyway. However, someone took a ton of time and built a bunch of Cairns, because there had to be at least 50 or more across this expanse, all the way to where it hooks up with Pass Mountain Trail. I actually surprised myself and with the help of the Cairns, never got off Trail. 8)

    After crossing most of the expanse, the Trail turns Southwest and starts heading back up towards the Pass Mountain Saddle. It finally intersects with the Pass Mountain Trail about 200 feet below the Saddle. I finish going up to the Saddle and see a Trail going back toward the East along the edge of the Mountain itself. I had seen what I thought was a Cave from below, so I decide to check it out. The "Trail" goes about 300 ft to the "Cave" which was not even a Cave, it was a dud. I take a break here anyway and enjoy the sweeping views of the Valley and Ranges before me.

    I get back on Pass Mountain, not even having the energy or time to do the original hike planned, so I go south back towards the TH. Nice Trail! Not even close to being Rocky like the "Fish" Trail was and it was a very pleasant descent. Get back to the "Y" that I had encountered at the Beginning of the hike, smack myself in the head for not looking at the Map and Topo better before I started, then arrive at the Car. The Toilet Paper was gone.... :lol:

    Just a note about this hike. The Cairns on the North side of Peak 3004 are very easy to follow now. But once the grass gets longer, a third of them may be invisible in the grass. The Trail that I started to follow that took me along the side of the East Mountain is part of the Ironwood Loop Route, which is described on this site and also there is a posted GPS Route for it. But even with GPS, there really is no Trail over on that side and it's a little hazardous. The Trail that I started on is described on this site as the Bulldog Saddle Trail. Fish Rock Trail or Bulldog Saddle Trail? Take your pick I guess....

    It was a fun trip and the views from whatever Peak that was, were very cool. I waved at Jack over on Flatiron, but I think he was busy.... :lol: : app :
    Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns
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    Was a little emabarrassed because we ment to hike the Pass Mountain trail. We went down the north side fo Bulldog saddle and the trail faided off. I thought it very wierd as I had been told that the trail was used by tons of people. Almost walked to Pass Mountain Saddle and decided to back-track. Realized after a little while that we were in the wrong place. Nice little hike though!
    Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns
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    The trail disappears on the backside like the description says. At one point I looked around and there were cairns in every no matter which way I went I was correct :D Fed up with following cairns from other lost souls, I made my own trail which turned out really well, found a new spring not on the maps, and continued on the rest of the way around the mountain.
    Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield Mtns
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    Chose to do this small loop instead of brave the crowds on the Pass Mountain Trail. Nice hike, I didnt see anyone until I met up with the Pass Mountain Trail at the pass then there were tons of people. The first part was really great and let me get some solitude, I ran into two very small streams, which surprised me a little, they will both be dry within a few days. Good intro to the Goldfields, I had been putting off hiking there for quite some time, but got to do it today.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Highway 60 turn north on Signal Butte, turn right on Southern (east) to Meridian. Go left (north) on meridian to the end of the road where there is a small parking lot with the two trailheads.
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