register help

Apache Leap, AZ

no permit
306 22 1
Guide 22 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior E
3.4 of 5 by 5
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,000 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4+ hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
13  2015-02-12 jameslcox44
29  2015-01-24 Nightstalker
71  2014-11-17 FLYING_FLIVER
17  2014-08-07 JuanJaimeiii
45  2014-02-12 kingsnake
35  2014-02-12 Stoic
7  2013-01-12 chumley
7  2013-01-12 VolcanoCLMBR
Page 1,  2
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
Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:12am - 6:21pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Kiss it goooodBYE
by PrestonSands

This is a description of an off trail hike up the east side of the sprawling cliff known as Apache Leap. It is by no means the only route up to Apache Leap. Most of the shallow canyons on its east side should provide do-able off trail routes. You can also create a loop by taking a different canyon back to your starting point. Potential hikes here are limited only by your time and enthusiasm.

Mileage listed is an approximate minimum distance for any hike up the east side. The entire area is basically a vast, trail less boulder field that is covered in chaparral and cat claw mimosa, so expect slow cross country travel.

Major mining activity may be in Apache Leap's near future. There is currently a flurry of exploratory drilling being done on the east side of the Leap. As a result, accessing Apache Leap may not be possible in the coming years, so hike it while you still can, if you have any desire to do so.

Hike: There is a decent sized pull off area along the Magma Mine Road (forest road 469) near its junction with forest road 315, that makes a fine starting point for any hike to Apache Leap. You can also drive or hike south along Forest Road 315, to access other canyons that lead southwest to Apache Leap. I chose to park at the pull off, and hike further along FR 469 to a gently sloping canyon on the left, at the 4040 foot contour. Initially narrow and full of potholes, this canyon soon opens up into a shallow, boulder filled valley. A continuous series of small cairns marks a route that follows the creek bed up the bottom of the canyon. The cairns are not entirely necessary as the canyon's terrain is fairly open, but they do seem to lead away from the worst patches of cat claw. The canyon sides here are lined with bizarre rock formations carved from cemented volcanic ash.

After a mile or so the canyon gets a little steeper, and the cairned route soon tops out on the rim of Apache Leap, at around 4700 feet. At this point, the route turns south and the cairns continue along the top of Apache Leap. I was satisfied with reaching the edge, so I did not continue further, but rather made my way over to an open, rocky knoll to enjoy the view of all points south and west. The Superstition and Pinal Mountains are the skyline attractions up here, while highway 60 runs through the town of Superior and the rugged maw of Queen Creek Canyon, some 2000 feet below. A peek over the edge of Apache Leap reveals a sheer drop of over 500 feet.

According to legend, Apache Leap is the site of a mass suicide of Apache warriors sometime during the early 1870's. The story goes that the U.S. Cavalry attacked a group of Apaches camped on top of Apache Leap, and a battle broke out. The Apaches were eventually driven to the very edge of the enormous cliff. Rather than surrendering, the Apaches chose to leap over the cliff to their deaths.

Have fun, enjoy the view, and don't fall off!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2007-12-25 PrestonSands
    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
    Apache Leap
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I planned to hike Preston the Yeti's route up to Apache Leap, along the rim for 2.5 miles to the highpoint, 4875 ft, back track a half mile, down a canyon for .75 miles to a corral, pick up a jeep trail to FR 315, then a couple of miles back to the trailhead. I figured about 8 miles and 2000 AEG. I had posted a date on my Apache Leap wish list. Stoic saw it, sending me a PM, and so I had a partner.

    We met up at Buckboard City Cafe for breakfast, getting to the trailhead about 0800. Besides the Magma Mine itself, there was a lot of mining activity along FR 315. Just below the trailhead, it looked like there was an exploratory drill, and mining trucks were driving up and down the FR. (By the time we returned, at 3:30, another drill rig had gone up about a half mile south.) During the course of the hike, we found literally dozens of PVC claim markers.

    It's been over six years since Preston laid down his route, so while trying to stick to it, we also needed to find ways around recent growth. It was a steady ascent, but nothing too strenuous. Definitely lots of grab & stabs. (Stoic wore shorts! :stretch: ) Between boulder hopping, grab & stab avoidance, and much photography of the awesome rock formations, it took us a couple of hours to get up to the rim.

    What an awesome view! Superior, Picketpost Mountain, Arnett Canyon, Flatiron, Weavers Needle, Queen Creek Canyon (including both bridges), Pinal Peak and -- I swear -- we could see as far as Camelback. :o After at least 30 minutes of rim photos, we started following some cairns just behind the rim. Even with the cairns, it was slow going. We were averaging about 1.0 mph, total time, maybe 1.6 mph walking time. We'd gone 3.5 miles in 3.5 hours. Some quick algebra told me if we did the whole loop, at best we would not be back to the trailhead until 5pm. And all those miles, at least 3.5 to the corral, would be bushwhacking, cairns or not. I didn't want to negotiate that in fading light, so between us we decided to bail down the canyon immediately south of Preston's ascent route. Let us call it :pk: Canyon, for reasons that will become obvious when photosets are posted.

    :pk: Canyon was much more scrambly and grab & stabby than Preston's ascent. It also had a lot of pools, some a few feet deep, and several areas of audibly heavy bee activity. There were even more claims in :pk: Canyon, and even some cairns, which were especially useful as we got further down canyon. We exitted :pk: Canyon by the exploratory rig about 3:30 p.m. If we had continued along the ridge, we *might* have just got the highpoint by then, let alone started to work our way back, so, yeah, we chose wisely. ;)

    So, great views, cool rocks, and much stabbiness. :D


    My wonderful :roll: new Garmin 62S gave me 6.52 miles and 1087 AEG. Stoic's iPhone4 app gave him 5.59 miles and 1000 AEG. I uploaded my track to Route Mgr, and it said only 4.61 miles and 1065 AEG. :-s My 62S might well be long, but I think Route Mgr is short, so I will compromise and go with Stoic's distance. :D Either way, it felt like a lot more ...
    Apache Leap
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    After Picketpost since we were so close, we wanted to take the short jaunt out to Apache Leap before the day's light waned. Magma Mine Road is now a paved superhighway. We parked at the turnoff for FR315 and headed down to the pond before making our way up the drainage toward the leap. There was still and inch or two of snow in all the shaded areas, and lots of ice on the rocks. Azpride slipped on an icy spot and after that 9L decided it wasn't worth trying to get to the leap.

    The manzanita was thick and tough, and the best routes were either snowy, icy, or just water. None of which were particularly fun to fight through. We headed up on the sunny side of the slope to avoid the snow and ice, but the progress was basically impossible, so we decided to play on the boulders for a while before just giving up and heading back to town. A nap on the couch over a couple of football games completed a pretty good day!
    Apache Leap
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After Wendi being sick and being concerned that nasal symptoms hadn't past yet, and after missing the recent Picketpost Mountain hike we decided this was a good compromise. Wow! How beautiful this area was, gorgeous, and down-right spiteful! Man this terrain is tough.

    A few things have changed since the hike description was done the most notable is that there is an actual mine in the middle of it. It looked like those in the know used a new road to hike into the area, or climb/rap some of the cool formations in the area.

    We started off pretty optimistic about 2.5 mile hike figuring we follow with a Boyce Arboretum chaser. But we did not even complete this hike. So far the year is not off to a good start but if these our complaints than this is going to be an excellent year.

    The rock looks like sand paper but some how I slipped very first thing resulting in my hand feeling and looking like it went through a meat grinder, and my middle finger was basically doing what a middle finger usually does but only to my soul. It took the brunt when my hand jammed into the rock and ached every time I used it, which was often on this hike. I never seen so much Manzanita, but whatever the pointed serrated leafed bush that grew right along with was killing us. Us being the stupid people who came out here in shorts. I pulled out the pruners in short order but tried my best to find alternate routes instead but it was dead end after creative breakthroughs. Lots of highs and lows. The lowest was getting to the new mine, and the road to it. There was a family with a LOT of kids. I don't know how you let kids (4-10)run around in this mess but good on them. I know if I had kids they would being hang off 500' foot cliffs and jamming their hands into meet grinders. The new mine made us start second guessing ourselves, the persistent winds, the screaming kids, and the easy exit provided by the new mine road proved too much for our senses.

    We'll be back with pants, without runny noses, and a new entry point. I'll try and get the new turnout and road point on here. It is definitely one of the more uniquely beautiful places I have yet seen. Wish we could have gotten to the cliff so we could at least mourn the loss of the News Year's Picketpost hike.
    Apache Leap
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I arrived at the east side of Apache Leap, where I was greeted by miners in pickup trucks driving back and forth down the Magma Mine Road. There was a sizable drilling operation going on a little ways down the 315 road. So I headed away from it and hiked up an unnamed canyon near the Magma Mine to the top of a hill on the edge of Apache Leap. I started to go further south along the top, until a mountain lion blocked my path about 400 feet away. It hid in a bush and watched me. So I retreated a few hundred yards to the north to check out an overlook. The creature then reappeared again, just a few hundred feet away. It's following me. Great :? So I took some bad telephoto shots of it, and some shots over the edge of Apache Leap, before heading back down the canyon, all the while watching my back. Aways down I stopped to examine the mountain lion shots I took. Aw, man, it was a coatimundi :lol: I wanted it to be a mountain lion. Great hike, though!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Superior: From the highway 60/highway 177 junction in Superior, go east on highway 60 for 3.9 miles to the signed Magma Mine Road turnoff, at milepost 231. Turn right (south) on Magma Mine Road (forest road 469), and follow it for 1.5 miles to a parking area on the left side of the road, just past the turnoff for Forest Road 315.

    From Globe: From the highway 60/highway 188 junction in Globe, head west on highway 60 for 16 miles to the signed Magma Mine Road turnoff, at milepost 231. Turn left (south) on Magma Mine Road (forest road 469), and follow it for 1.5 miles to a parking area on the left side of the road, just past the turnoff for Forest Road 315.
    help comment issue

    end of page marker