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Keyhole Arch, AZ

no permit
186 23 0
Guide 23 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
2.5 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,950 feet
Elevation Gain 288 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.94
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic & Peak
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
3  2017-12-10 caragruey
62  2017-01-08
Arches & Top Hat via Hackamore
7  2014-12-24
SE Goldfield Loop
5  2014-01-31 eagleslanding163
29  2013-12-18 TheNaviG8R
3  2012-09-28 gummo
5  2012-03-12
Blue Ridge - Goldfield Mtns
5  2011-12-28 azvino
Page 1,  2,  3
Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 247
Photos 7,293
Trips 1,818 map ( 15,596 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Unlock the treasure
by AZLOT69

This loop can be accomplished in either direction. These directions and the flow of events are presented in a clockwise fashion.

From the trailhead marked "Bulldog Canyon Off Road Area" begin your hike by crossing the gate and walking on the road which is called Packsaddle Road at this point. Ahead lies the remains of an old stone quarry. The road curves left, stay on the road. A little over one third of a mile from the gate the road starts to curve right at the southwest corner of the gravel pit. On your left is an old jeep road with a brown forest service sign which says "Area Closed" , this pertains to motor vehicles and is your trail. Follow this jeep trail to the left then bear right at the first junction. Now heading northwest you will almost immediately notice some old mining ruins on your left. This is part of the old Goldfield mining district. Take a look at the old concrete and steel remains and as you look beyond you will notice tailings from mining activity. If you have the time, you can meander around and find a few mines in this area. Be cautious and don't enter as they can be dangerous.

Back on the old jeep road, you are headed towards peak 2297. Peak 2297 will be your reference point for the rest of the hike. The hike will loop around peak 2297. Another nice side trip would be to bag peak 2297, just continue straight ahead.

About 100 feet northwest of the mining ruins on the jeep road going towards peak 2297 is a large cairn on your left, take this trail. In another 100 feet bear right in the wash. Watch for cairns moving through the wash. This area has been spared from some recent wildfires and sports mature vegetation. Very quickly there is no sign of civilization and other than the occasional mine whistle from the Goldfield ghost town, you feel miles away from anything.

There are several paths, but stay on what should be obviously the main path and note peak 2297 on your right. When you come to a large wash, bear right in the wash. A short time later you will see a large cairn on your right. Bear right on this trail. You will be in and out of small washes as your defined trail continues. The trail takes a steady climb heading towards the saddle ahead. At the saddle there is an intersection. To the right is the shorter loop. To the left, the longer loop can be completed by bearing right at each subsequent intersection.

From the saddle, taking the shorter loop to the right will start a descent. While rocky and steep in sections, take your time and look to your right. You will note an unusual rock outcropping referred to as the Green Thumb. To the right of the Green Thumb on the opposite side of the wash is another rock outcropping which houses Keyhole Arch, which can clearly be seen now. Your descent continues into a wash and out up to another trail. Turn right and follow to a slick rock wash at the bottom of the hill. You have lost sight of Keyhole Arch but it is in the rock outcropping above you to the right. From this slick rock wash you will note a family of four saguaros. This would be your be approach if you wish to go up and visit, perhaps crawl through Keyhole Arch. This is a bushwhack, be aware for snakes.

Return to the trail or stay in the slick rock wash and head towards the Green Thumb. The trail passes left of and the wash passes right of the Green Thumb. Both come out to a jeep road at the northwest corner of the original gravel pit. Peak 2297 is still on your right as you walk Packsaddle road back to the trailhead.

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.

2008-03-01 AZLOT69
    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
    Keyhole Arch
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Had a little break in the weather, only 100 degrees (LOL) so me and the pooch headed for this trail around 5pm. Packsaddle road is right off of the Apache Trail, well before you really get into the thick of it. Its easy to miss so try and use your GPS.

    The road leading to the trail is unpaved after a short time. Good condition for most any vehicles, just watch the potholes. If you have a 4WD, you can actually go beyond the gate. There are TONS of jeep trails going all over the place. Jazz and I hiked from the gate, following the trail guide. The roads do get very rough so you may have to decide how far to go in your vehicle.

    Without meaning to, we went in the opposite direction as described, counter-clockwise. I guess its just as well cause the arch is much closer to this end. You will need to follow your map cause there are so many jeep trails you can easily get off on the wrong one. That being said, the trail I followed was not really going along the road at points. I had to bushwhack some to get back on. Do not go off the road/s. You will not be able to get far if you do, as I found out. Because I wasted so much time re-routing back, we didn't make the whole loop. We only had limited light and it was still pretty hot so we made it up to what I believe is the prominent rock formation, Green Thumb. From there I can easily see the Keyhole. I'm not sure if it was a real arch, seemed more like some boulders fallen together making a keyhole in the middle?

    NOTE: The area is beautiful, and quiet, that is if there are no ATV's out. I didn't see or hear any for the first hour. Then I heard the ATV's much before I saw them. This area is obviously an ATV heaven. Unfortunately, there are signs of past gatherings in a huge open area where a fire pit was filled with odd things like a car engine, lamp, and other junk. Too bad really.

    Since it was the middle of the summer, I guess I was spared hordes of ATV's but since they are so loud, even one will instantly destroy the peace. I'd still like to go back sometime and finish the loop cause it is a gorgeous area with the majestic Superstition in constant view.
    Keyhole Arch
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    SE Goldfield Loop
    Nice hike in the Goldfield Mountains on Christmas Eve Day which included a mix of trail, road, and off-trail hiking. Had lunch at Cottonwood Spring area which was like an oasis in the desert. Really enjoyed the Blue Ridge area, the hike up Top Hat, and the trail portion of Bulldog Canyon.
    Keyhole Arch
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I don't know how far I really got because I lost the trail. I wasn't that far from the top of the peak when I lost it, so I must have missed a turn somewhere. So - I just continued up the peak and then went down the other side of it. Saw the arch and Green Thumb. Beautiful area with great views of both Superstitions and Four Peaks. Will try again when I have someone with me!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Highway 60 to Apache Junction exit 196, SR 88 ( the Apache Trail )north to milepost 199, turn left on Hackamore, 1.5 miles to trailhead.
    128 GB Flash Drive... $14
    help comment issue

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