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Horns Of Dilemma, AZ

no permit
244 16 0
Guide 16 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.3 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,809 feet
Elevation Gain 271 feet
Accumulated Gain 420 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 5.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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1  2018-12-30 jacobemerick
4  2018-08-26 clayncallaway
25  2018-04-05 CannondaleKid
7  2017-11-29 jameslcox44
34  2017-10-14 adilling
21  2016-12-03
40  2016-03-20 CannondaleKid
5  2016-02-26 hikingaz2
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
It's in the Goldfields, surprise, it's a bushwhack and a darn good one with a great destination.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

    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
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I woke with no clue where I would hike, so I just packed up and headed out, making the first few decisions randomly, something like if this light is red, I'm turning right and soon found myself heading east toward Apache Junction. But where to?

    Ok, I knew about the ongoing construction on Apache Trail and thought I'd see how far it had progressed, so chose to drive north to just before vehicles were being stopped by a flagman, then find a spot to park and hike from there.

    The flagman was at Milepost 207 and there just happened to be a spot I could pull off. I'd never started from there before so it was just a matter of 'head west' and see what happens. It wasn't long before I came up with the idea to go to the Horns of Dilemma.

    Great! Only I wasn't paying enough attention and continued west instead of north along Willow Creek. And of course, with no plan, I didn't have a waypoint for the Horns so did the guess-by-gosh approach... and paid for it. :doh:

    Soon I was surrounded by canyon walls and had to decide, go back to Willow Creek, or find some way to climb out, somewhat in the general direction of the Horns.

    I chose the devil I didn't know... and yes, it turned out to be a devil of a climb. I not only was wearing the wrong clothes for passing through cat's-claw and the other assorted wait-a-minute thorny brush, I was wearing the wrong boots for the terrain. Once I was out of the canyon, I was faced with continuing to the Horns down a very steep slope, or find another less-steep but longer route. Having already messed up my recovery with a fall three weeks ago (and paying for it) I chose to seek an easier route.

    No such luck... I just wasted a mile of wandering checking out various drainages, only to find them even more sketchy. So... back to the steep slope immediately across from the Horns. It was more stressful than anything, having to continue planting a hiking pole each step to keep from sliding down the loose pea-gravel. Just a few times when the ground began to give way and I just sat down to keep from falling and I made it down.

    By the time I was immediately below the Horns I was ready to head for easier terrain so skipped the last climb and headed out along the drainage, eventually linking up with the semi-official trail to/from the Horns until Willow Creek, then took the shortest route up and over the ridge then decided which route to take back where I began.

    After reaching the ridge as I began scanning for a route, I noticed a bighorn sheep above and some distance from me. My first thought was to get closer, but with so much open terrain between us I figured it would take off before I could get much closer, so settled for taking a few full zoom shots.

    At that point, I thought there was only one bighorn, but the moment I put my camera away and started to move, whad'daya know, there's another one. Shucks, I missed it! But when I got home and looked through the photos, there it is!

    Be sure to check out the photoset and tell me whether you think the bighorn is missing a front leg or not... it sure looks like it. And of course, when the second sheep moved, it took my attention off the first so I didn't see if it moved normally or hopped away. Just something to look for next time I'm in the area.

    Oh yeah, Apache Trail... I reconnected with it just south of Canyon Lake Overlook so I don't know how far it's paved (to the lake?) right now, but it is NICE and smooth! But that may be a bad thing...
    I can already imagine one of the crotch-rocket crew taking a spill. ](*,)
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Wanted to check out the Goldfields Willow Creek so I threw a loop together that took us down the creek, across to the Horns of Dilemma, then back to the trailhead via Peak 2881. Not a bad loop if you enjoy canyon and off trail hiking. I wasn't sure what to expect from Willow Creek but we both really enjoyed it. The hiking was pretty easy and the routes around the 3 drop offs and the Narrows were straight forward, just remember right/right/left/right :) The hike across to the Horns was well marked where we had lunch. Now the tougher part of the hike started. We had hiked this 2 years ago which helped with the route finding. The cholla's were out in full force and both of us picked up several jumpers along the way. Luckily we both had long pants. The views on top of peak 2881 were fantastic. From the peak it was just a short way back to the Apache Gap TH. Great hike, great weather, solitude :y:

    My posted route is pretty good with the exception of the exit off peak 2881. We elected to drop off the south side which was pretty steep and loose. Best to back track down to the north and then take the route around the east side of the peak.
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Pretty much just a Sunday morning meandering hike that just happened to become a wide and lazy lasso loop around the Horns of Dilemma, checking out a number of caves and arches along the way.

    WARNING: A full 1/3 of the photos are of the Horns of Dilemma, albeit from a variety of viewpoints.
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Big decision today, needed a short hike our choices ---- Wind Cave or Horns of Dilemma---- :oplz: Picked up Rick and off we went, had our little slice of Heaven all to ourselves, except one little Friend we met. No haze everything clear as a bell. Finally got a glimpse of Poppies today. :)
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wandering in the Goldfields
    Another day I simply had no idea where I was going to hike until 30 minutes before heading out, and even then I almost changed my mind as I passed the turn to First Water... but I kept going up to FR 1821.

    The belated plan was to start just off Apache Trail from FR 1821, head west up Peak 2289, on to Peak 2631 then follow the ridge to Peak 2669, which I had climbed mid-June back in 2013. From there I hoped to descend to Bagley Flat and return on the same general route.

    But that 'plan' lasted all of 5 minutes... the moment I hit Willow Creek and looked up at 2289 I didn't like the route I had mapped out.
    Change #1: Ok, so I'll head out on the 'trail' toward Horns of Dilemma then swing south to catch the ridge.

    Change #2: But instead, I kept going along the wash to the northwest, by now thinking I may just wander out a ways before swinging north up Peak 2178, which I had climbed late February last year. I remembered the awesome views from there so figured it was a worthy second-choice.

    However, I was so engrossed in following the wash I missed my turn to 2178. It took way more effort than I expected to keep going in the wash, dropping down or detouring numerous pour-offs (relatively small at this point), pushing through the thick & thorny vegetation, several times having to climb quite some distance and drop back down to avoid the worst the wash had to offer.
    Change #3: Ok, so I missed the turn to 2178, I might as well continue on to the Salt River then maybe catch 2178 on the return leg. When I got about as close to the Salt as safely possible, I took a glance across toward Peak 2669 and wondered if I should go over there after all, at least for a view over Bagley Flat.

    Change #4: Let's do it... off toward 2669. That worked until I realized it took me 20 minutes just to cross two deep drainages and there were 2 more before 2669. Although the day started cool, the humidity again was enough to take its toll.
    Change #5: Forget 2669, just continue up the 2nd drainage up and over the ridge then make a bee-line for Horns of Dilemma and end this fiasco. Wait! It's close but slightly premature. Ascending this drainage was way worse than anything I had already encountered but with high walls on either side I was committed. Committed until I reached a 60-70' foot pour-off (I couldn't tell because I couldn't see the top of it.) and there simply was no going further up the drainage. Ok, NOW it's officially a fiasco.
    Change #6: This would cause the first change NOT solely of my doing but as a result of conditions forced on me. What do I do? Option 1: Go all the way back down and across the two drainages and back the way I came?
    Option 2: Find a way up the slightly less steep eastern slope and hope for a route around to the south, as I knew it was a very steep slope down to the original wash I was in.

    By now I had gone through all my food and fluids so one would think I should choose Option 1, the devil-I-knew over the one I didn't. However, the devil-I-knew, only this time heading back upstream was not something I cared to do, so I chose the devil-I-didn't-know and hoped for the best.
    Ok, let's go for it... It was so steep and loose, numerous times I slid down 5-10 feet while attempting to gain another foot or two. It wasn't a walk-in-the-park by any means, but what a relief when I finally made it up and found it possible to continue east along the upper slope. Although not as steep, it was very bit as treacherous as the loose pea-gravel on the hard surface rendered my hiking poles practically useless. But I can see the Horns of Dilemma now so I figured I've got it made.

    Huh? What's this? An arch I knew nothing about? Well I do now.
    I took a few photos and kept moving. Climbing a bit more to follow the ridge back down past Horns, at which point I just followed the trail used by most folks on the way to Horns.

    Done! I was so dry-mouthed by time I made it back to the Jeep, the 64 oz of cold drink mix went down pretty fast... almost all the way through it before I got home.
    Another rough-day-at-the-office and my left ankle took a beating again but when hiking, all's well that ends well.
    Horns Of Dilemma
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Apache Gap to Horns
    Started at the Apache Gap trail head off SR88 and hiked cross-country to the Horns Of Dilemma and then returned basically the same way. Great hike with great views of the Goldfields, Superstitions, Canyon and Saguaro lakes, Four Peaks, and more. Lots of loose rock made for some sore ankles, and both of us were pulling cholla spines from our boots and pant legs on multiple occasions. Temps warmed up pretty good as we neared the trail head on the return.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Park in the driveway area off on the west side of SR 88, just short of the driveway to the Mormon Flat Dam which is marked with a prominent mailbox at milepost 208.7 on Highway 88. Park here, There are no facilities. Start up jeep road to the west bear right and jeep trail quickly becomes a single track.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Oct 26 2010 5:42 pm
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