Wrightson's little brother
When most people travel to the Santa Ritas, they go for the high point, 9453ft Mt Wrightson. That leaves gems like McCleary peak for the rest of us. At 8357 feet, McCleary doesn't get the attention of Wrightson, but it is a fantastic destination.
This hike leaves from the Roundup trailhead at the end of Madera Canyon road. Start out on the Super trail. Follow the Super trail 1/4 to 1/2 mile until you see a well defined route on your left(north). This is the unofficial "Pipeline Route". Follow this steep, narrow, but well defined route as it follows a pipeline until it dumps you out onto the Kent Spring trail near Sylvester spring. Follow this VERY steep trail(more like a jeep road) approx 1 - 1.5 miles until you reach Kent Spring.
There is a trail junction at Kent Spring. The left fork is the Bog Springs trail. The right fork is the unsigned Four Springs trail. Go right to get on the Four Springs trail. The Four Springs trail climbs steeply up and countours around towards Pine Saddle. At about 1.5 miles you reach "Shovel Saddle". This is a great rest spot with shade and pine needles to rest on. The unofficial name of "shovel saddle" comes from an old rusted Shovel stuck in the ground right off the trail. Continue on the Four Springs trail another .5 - 1 mile until you come to another saddle. This will be the departure for McCleary peak.
On the north side of the saddle, look for a route climbing up to the north. The route is not particularly well-defined, but it is followable. There are a smattering of cairns to help you out. Keep mostly to the top of the ridge and you should be fine. The top is a rocky exposed summit with great views of the rest of the range and the surrounding area. Go back down the way you came.
Continue on down the Four Springs trail as it switchbacks its way down the burned slopes. After about .5 miles you come to the Crest Trail junction. Take a right here. Follow the Crest Trail about 3.2 miles as it makes it's way to Baldy Saddle. From there it is another 4.5 miles back to your vehicle via the Old Baldy trail.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.
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