Slick Rock Summit
The Marsh Pass area has a number or sections of monocline which are separated from the main body of Skeleton Mesa. They appear to make excellent summit scrambles or hikes. Point 6,919 is a large prominent one which is easily accessible and close to US 160, just east of the pass area. Entirely off-trail, this is mostly slick rock and offers some excellent views and a quick way to gain some elevation and exercise. Depending in where you park and start you will only hike a little over a mile to maybe just over 2, so this can be a nice fast elevation hike. This is sort of an equivalent to Flagstaff's Fatman's Loop, or Squaw Peak in Phoenix, though without any people.
This can be snow covered or icy in winter, and hot in summer. The slope is southeast facing, so it can be well over 100 at the hottest time of year. It can also be very windy in spring. Thunderstorms do occur here in monsoon season, but not like in other higher elevation areas. Watch the sky during the afternoon in the appropriate time of year.
Starting from the bridge over Laguna Creek, hike up the road and proceed past the home site at the base of the monocline. You shouldn't have trouble out here, but it is best to stay away from homes, so you will want to hike away from the home site. After the home site and before crossing the next large wash, there will be a two-track that heads off north towards a canyon. Hike this briefly and you will see the bottom of the sandstone ridge that is behind the home site. Hike towards the ridge and then up it. Follow the ridge across the bottom of the monocline. As you move towards point 6919, look for a small depression or bowl on the side of it. You'll want to take the ridge that is beyond the small bowl. Taking this ridge will bring you to the summit. When descending, be careful to take the same ridge, otherwise, you may cliff out and need to hike back up some distance to access the correct ridge. Summit views include some excellent pass views, Black Mesa, back to Kayenta, and some of the interesting eroded basins at the edge of Skeleton Mesa. On a good winter day, you'll be able to see summits in Colorado; both the La Plata sub-range and the Wilson group by Telluride.
While this is on the Navajo Reservation, this is a hike that you can do without really being concerned with the recreation permit. It is close to the highway, so it makes another short hike a person can do while passing thru.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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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