register help

Big Jim Trail, AZ

no permit
23 36 0
Guide 36 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.5 of 5 by 15
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,802 feet
Elevation Gain 1,100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5.0 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.3
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
8  2019-01-13
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes Mill peaks
9  2019-01-13
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes Mill peaks
15  2018-03-08
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
9  2017-12-16
Hieroglyphics - 3465 Pikes & Mill
22  2017-12-13
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
15  2017-04-09
Walkin' Jim Trail at Cottonwood Creek
32  2017-02-20
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
8  2016-02-27
Peak 3465 - Hieroglyphic Mountains
Page 1,  2,  3
Author bobhike
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 4
Photos 6
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:17am - 6:26pm
Official Route
10 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Canyon Wrens Sing
by bobhike

This hike is an extension of the Walkin' Jim Trail. As you drive north on Castle Hot Springs Road on your way to the trailhead look out to the northwest, and you'll see a particularly dramatic peak. It's called Pikes Peak. I like to think of it as Jim's Peak in honor of Walkin' Jim Stoltz who, after decades performing songs of the earth and some 28,000 miles of wilderness walking, has now passed on (September 3, 2010).

You'll see a saddle just east of the peak. That is where the trail ends. I hope someone will scramble to the top of Jim's peak, and let me know how it goes. I've never done it. I have documented this trail as a one way trail using the north side of the Walkin' Jim loop trail for GPS purposes, but you can also do it as a side trail off the Walkin' Jim loop. There is signage where the Big Jim departs from the Walkin' Jim trail. Along the trail you'll see classic Sonoran desert scenery, and almost certainly a few wild burros. As you ascend to the saddle, canyon wrens can be heard in spring and summer. In the fall when the blooms of Brittlebush and Globemallow have long departed, a dramatic splash of color adorns many rocks in the form of lichens. Great views to the south and east from the saddle.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2010-11-19 bobhike
    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 of 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    It was Horace Greeley who once said "Go west young man"! With that in mind, Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I decided to venture to the West Valley and hike up to Peak 3465.

    We followed the Walkin' Jim Trail in a counterclockwise direction, and we took the Big Jim Trail to and from the summit of Peak 3465. The hike was mostly through typical desert vegetation, and the views at the top were pretty cool. The trails were mostly easy to follow, but I was glad that I had downloaded the GPS track for the official route.

    At the top I signed the log book, and noticed that hikerdw had signed it about 3 weeks prior.

    On the hike we saw 6 wild burros, one rabbit, and no humans -- that ratio was pretty good imho!

    I was hoping to see some wildflowers, but there were none, save for some flowering ocotillos
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Nice hike with both Ryan and Lauren. The target was peak 3465 but we came up a little short so it gives us a good reason to return. On the way back down just past the saddle we ran into lindaagm and hikingwhit, nice to meet you both :) We were hoping to see some burro's which we did, 11 in all. Nice and toasty on the return back to the trailhead.
    Big Jim Trail
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Looked like a great day for a little solo hike. I've had 3465 in my sights for a while now. Set off fairly early (for me any way). Saw three hikers on the way in and only one on the way out. These trails don't get much traffic which is nice.

    Wasn't sure what to expect once I turned north and headed up. The trail is faint in a lot of places, but there are a few strategically placed cairns to help. Having the track loaded in my GPS as a back up was comforting.

    No real problems getting to the summit. I moved cautiously since the Gecko had reported some bees around the summit cairn. There were a few buzzing around but nothing too threatening. Signed the summit log in a small corner under Mr. J. Cleghorn's bold signature. A new summit log would be nice, but unfortunately I didn't have anything suitable with me. Took some time to enjoy the fantastic views and have a snack. Even had cell phone reception for a check in with Headquarters.

    The trip down is challenging in spots with all the loose scree on the trail. I brought my trusty staff and put it to good use.

    Unfortunately didn't see any burros today. Did hear the echoes of one braying down in the canyon while up at the summit.

    Really enjoyed this hike. Love the profile of this peak. Now I can point it out when driving past and say, "yep did that one back in '16."

    A few ocotillo blooms and scattered globe mallow. Will be a nice spring out here.
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This was our low desert alternative for the weekend since we had turned chilly! The Earthiest and I had plans of a west Sedona camp and hike, but with the temps getting low last week this provided itself as a good cool weather alternative. We put down some tents on the northwest side of Lake Pleasant for later, and started hiking about 11 a.m. Great weather all day, sunny and not too hot. The Walkin' Jim is a nice steady trail, just rolling hills over to the Big Jim turnoff. We made it about a quarter mile up the spur and the Earthiest decided to take a little siesta while I knocked out the peak. Fun mountain to climb, but the trail disappears almost completely after the saddle. There are some cairns to guide the way, but no worries just finding the path of least resistance. Took a quick break up top and headed back down to meet my compatriot. We continued on in our CCW direction to complete the loop. Lost the trail quite a few times on this section, while some areas are heavily cairned this part was not. This is better described as a cairned cross country route than a defined trail for long stretches, I almost felt like it would have just been easier to follow the wash than to try and follow a track. I probably looked at my gps on this hike more so than most any other recently. Made it back to the truck right before sunset, and then headed back to camp. Started up a fire so we could cook dinner and cracked a few cold ones, camping started out perfect. We were sitting around the fire about 9:30 finishing off a beer and getting drowsy when 3 trucks full of teenagers pulled up about 100 yards from our camp. They started yelling back and forth, f-bomb just about every other word, and then proceeded to start chopping down some mesquites to make a 20' bonfire. At 10 p.m. When one of them fired up a quad qt 10:30 to go tearing around that settled it, we packed up camp and killed the fire in about 10 minutes and were on the road back to the Earthiest's pad for one more beer and the couch. Definitely a grumpy old man moment, but it was pretty hard thinking about going to sleep knowing these jack :pk: 'es would not be stopping anytime soon. Lesson learned, last time I try to get in a camp at an accessible place near town. Hike was great, and camp was good too except the end of the night shenanigans.
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    while this might be a better winter hike, we had a perfectly cool day in may for it
    another west side peak that's been on my wish list
    followed the eagle's route, going counterclockwise on the walkin' jim loop
    saw one burro from a distance and another one close up
    trail was in good condition and quite well cairned
    not much elevation change until the big jim intersection
    big jim goes up to a saddle and there a decent use trail to the peak
    the final push was fun, with some scrambling and a little bit of route finding with an occasional cairn
    more on rock than through sticker bushes and cactus, but with tall grasses and foxtails
    great 360 views from the top and we spent at least 30 minutes snacking, looking around and just enjoying the nice day
    the summit register jar is sad shape
    the lid has a hole in the top and as others have said, the papers are quite fragile
    i brought a new notebook and pen, but didn't read bruce's comment about needing a new container, too
    put my items into a double ziplock and then under the original glass jar
    as i went to rebuild the cairn...
    john: were all those bugs up here earlier?
    me: uh, those are bees :o
    apparently there is a hive just over the dropoff and something had disturbed it
    we vacated the premises and started down
    took the long way back, completing the walkin' jim trail
    some pools of water in most of the washes
    heard before we saw two sets of burros on the way down 8)
    seven in some trees about halfway down, and three in a wash closer to the end
    finished just after noon
    still serving breakfast at the brass rail :) - thanks, john
    enjoyed this hike and getting out on the west side
    good company, too ;)
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I chose this trail to take a colleague on a nice "not in the city" hike. As usual, everyone for whom I take out here just loves it. This is the real deal, no people, no crowds, plenty of wildlife and picturesque scenery. The Burros were active today and we saw 4 of them, in addition to Red Tailed Hawk, Coopers Hawk, and a boat load of birds, both locals and vagrants. We hiked to the Big Jim junction and had our lunch. At this point we went about a mile up the trail and contemplated doing the Peak 3465, but it was almost noon, getting warm and we were on our last bottles of water and Power aid, so we decided to try it another day, smart choice.

    The blooms are becoming spectacular, especially the Orange Globe Mallow and Brittle Brush :kf: There were also a lot of Mexican Poppies, Blue Dicks, Paintbrush, some Mariposa Lilly, Desert Gold, rough Menodora, Desert Star, Lupine, Spike Broomrape(I have never seen these before), and all the flowering cacti! ;) Yes I looked all these up

    Now to a more serious issue :scared: We had a 3 ft Western Diamondback strike at my friend, with no warning! I really thought he was hit. My friend Joe crapped his shorts and stroked out at the same time, while jumping 3 ft in the air :stretch: .

    QUESTION for whom ever is reading this - How come rattle snakes are no longer warning us? This is the third one that I've encountered that never even raised their rattle, eventhough it was right along the trail. Is this normal behavior?

    The blooms are becoming spectacular, especially the Orange Globe Mallow and Brittle Brush There were also a lot of Mexican Poppies, Blue Dicks, Paintbrush, Lupine, some Mariposa Lilly, Desert Gold, rough Menodora, Desert Star, Spike Broomrape and all the flowering cacti! ;)
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Peak 3465 Hiero Mtns - Morgan City Wash Loop
    Still dark, the day started off to a brisk and breezy 35 degrees. We covered the 4 miles to the "Big Jim Trail", quickly to warm up. From here you climb +2200' to the summit in less than 2 miles. This is the first time since the end of 2010, that I've done this hike. Back then, there was no defined trail from the end of the "Big Jim Trail" to the top. This has been getting noticeable traffic and has been flagged in spots.

    The view from the top is still one of the best in the area. It took a while to re-find the 1902 inscription, but Joe spotted it.

    The next person up, should bring a new summit container and log pad. The past records are getting trashed. It was too fragile to take out of the jar.

    We picked a route down the backside that was slow going, but not too bad. We luckily ran into the "Burro Flats Loop Trail", saving us some brush fighting. We bailed on target two for the day and set our sites for the Morgan City Wash. The 4.5 miles in the wash drug on, but were easy miles.

    On the way we stopped at the Bog Ranch area, right off the wash. This area is a disgrace with all the shot up stuff and shell casings everywhere.

    We got out of the wash at Tule Spring and started the cross-country burro trail trek to meet up with the "Walking Jim Trail" and the truck.

    Another fine day in the Hieroglyphic Mountains, with still some unfinished business.
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Peak 3465 Hiero Mtns - Morgan City Wash Loop
    Nice, long loop hike in the Hieroglyphic Mountains on a gorgeous day. Please see Joe's (or Bruce's) trip log for the route taken. It was chilly (mid-30's) at the start and warm at the finish (mid-70's).

    The highlight of the day was peak 3465, which offers outstanding views of Lake Pleasant and the surrounding countryside. More fun as we went off trail looking for an alternate route down and around the mountain to our next destination (Pike's Peak), hoping to save some of that hard earned elevation. We didn't save much, but we found a cool route through a pass that had a man made rock wall at the top. Big, heavy rocks that would have taken some time and effort to build. Not sure of its purpose; there is an easy route around it, albeit a couple hundred feet down and half mile longer if you dropped down into the canyon below.

    Dropping down from the pass, we aimed for a creek. I went farther left, down a drainage and landed on a trail that turned out to be part of the Burro Flats Loop. We followed that for awhile, but realized it was taking us too far away from our second goal. We turned south and headed uphill hoping to follow a ridgeline back towards our goal. We took a break at the top of the hill and decided there wouldn't be enough time to accomplish all that we set out to do, so we headed towards Morgan City wash to continue on the loop.

    The wash provided some easy walking for a few miles. Nothing exciting here unless you're on an ATV, but we made good time getting to Bog Ranch, which is not worth your time unless you like shooting up stuff and leaving a mess. The place was trashed.

    Another off trail excursion to hook up with the Walkin' Jim trail. I enjoyed this section. The wild burros cut some nice trails through here. Two of them stopped and posed for us as we passed by (see Bruce's photo set - mine didn't make the grade). They were more beautiful in person. Lot's of beautiful saguaros through here. We took another break in this area to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    We linked up with the Walkin' Jim trail and closed the loop with Joe singing songs. How a guy can sing after 18 miles is beyond me (I was hanging on by a thread). More outstanding views as Lake Pleasant came back into view.

    This was the second longest hike of my life. Well worth it, but I was a tired puppy at the end.
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Peak 3465 Hiero Mtns - Morgan City Wash Loop
    Returned after a short sampler of Cottonwood Creek in 2007. A healthy forest of saguaros offers photogenic sun events on the horizon. Peak 3465 steals the show protected by waves of black jumbled rock on the ascent. Gnarly lichen accents demand your attention. Distant views are pleasing. My favorite being the Sierra Estrella range standing proud in the sonoran sea of wannabee peaks.

    A large balance of this loop was nice yet forgettable after Peak 3465. We stumbled upon old jeep trails that now look to be cattle fairways. Anti cairnopelli would be no match for a few of the route guidance markers along the way. We only witnessed signs of cattle. The patties now in a styrofoam consistency may indicate winter absence?

    We saw two burros and heard another pack out of sight. Two inch disintegrating hay bundles throughout with concentrated piles on occasion suggests a large presence.

    Finishing up on the southern Walkin' Jim Loop offered the most stunning views of the day. Lake Pleasant sings on the horizon. Panoramic views sweep through downtown Phoenix with its tiny skyscrapers offering wow scalism.
    Big Jim Trail
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Pulled up to the trailhead at 5:27 am to find Spiderlegs ready to rock. We decided the north Walkin' Jim was a better choice for total darkness, so off we went, only losing about 5 minutes in a clearing trying to figure out where the trail went. Soon the sky began to lighten and we had a great clear sunrise just as we started the Big Jim trail. A perfect golden 3465' was in full view and I was geeked. It's not always practical or easy, but first light makes the boring interesting, and the interesting extraordinary.
    The trail ended and the cairns began - a moderate scramble with no exposure and few annoying flora passed quickly, and we were at the summit register.
    We spent about 20 minutes looking for the 1902 inscription, but failed to find anything anywhere near the top. :-k
    On the way down Big Jim we ran into sleepyheads NightStalker and his friend on their way up. We exchanged cookie recipes and wished them luck.
    We took the Little Jim on the way back for variety, and came across a spring that wasn't on the map. Spiderlegs waypointed it, but it's hard to say whether it flows year round.
    We got back to the parking lot before noon - a perfect hike of a cool mountain with another HAZ member I'm glad to have met. In the future I think I'll go back to accessing this range from Morgan City Wash though, the Walkin' Jim trails are a bit long and nondescript for my taste.
    I made a short video using the music of the late Walkin' Jim Stoltz, a prolific hiker who the trails are named after.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix, take I-17 north to the Carefree Highway (SR 74). Turn left on Carefree highway and drive west to Castle Hot Springs Rd (Lake Pleasant exit). Turn north and drive for approximately 5 miles to a large pull off on the left side of the road. Careful of deep sand in the parking area. The hike begins at the northwest corner of the parking lot on the other side of a fallen barbed-wire fence.
    page created by bobhike on Nov 19 2010 2:47 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker