Mitchell Peak, AZ

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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,171 feet
Elevation Gain 780 feet
Accumulated Gain 830 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.15
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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12  2008-01-20 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 May, Sep, Oct, Apr → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:29am - 7:18pm
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Nearby Area Water
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A lonely peak that no one will bag
by PrestonSands

Out in extreme eastern Arizona along the winding Coronado Trail lies 7951 foot Mitchell Peak. Its rocky, rolling summit is the highest point between the town of Clifton and Rose Peak to the north. As can be expected, views from the top are outstanding.

This off-trail hike requires a fair amount of bushwhacking on steep, rough terrain, so expect slow progress. The route shown on the included topo map is the route I took; however, you could start a little ways north at H.L. Saddle and follow the ridgeline from there to the peak for a 2.6-mile round trip hike.

Starting at the Sardine Saddle Picnic Area along highway 191 (the "Coronado Trail"), walk north to the mountainside where the H.L. Canyon Trail #11 begins. Head straight up the ridge into the brush, and try to stay on the southwestern slope. Early on, you will cross an unmarked trail that connects with the H.L. Canyon Trail at H.L. Saddle. This connector trail appears to follow the grade of an old wagon road. A little later, you will cross a barbed-wire fence. A fire burned away much of the brush on this section of the ridge, sometime in the not too distant past, making for a slightly easier ascent.

After about a 600-foot climb, you will be on Mitchell Peak's ridgeline. Far below, the Coronado Trail twists away into infinity. Follow the ridgeline to the northeast. Now the route is in a pine forest, with occasional breakouts of large juniper trees and chaparral.

The ridgeline route negotiates several rocky knolls on its way to the peak. Use your best judgment for getting around these rocky outcroppings, but try to avoid the precipitous southern exposure.

After hiking about a mile from the Coronado Trail, you will arrive at the summit. Just like on the ridgeline, there are almost limitless views in all directions. Hundreds of canyons that feed Eagle Creek and the San Francisco River wind through the rugged terrain thousands of feet below you.

When you have seen enough of eastern Arizona, return the way you came. Just avoid that southern exposure. It's nasty!

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2008-01-29 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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Safford, head east on Highway 70/191. 10 miles from Safford, the highway splits, turn left onto Highway 191 and follow it for another 23.75 miles to a highway junction known as 3-Way (old drive-in movie theater and store). Turn left to remain on Highway 191. From the 3-Way junction, head north for approximately 31.4 miles to the signed Sardine Saddle Picnic Area on the right (east) side of Highway 191. (see hike description).
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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