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Little Keyhole Saddle, AZ

Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
42 4 0
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,813 feet
Elevation Gain 385 feet
Accumulated Gain 802 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.25 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.01
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
27  2022-03-12
Peak 2881 - Horns - Keyhole - Massif - Willow
14  2018-01-20
NE Goldfields
15  2017-09-22 Steph_and_Blake
23  2016-12-06
Peak 2178 & Salt River Views
4  2011-12-30 AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 63
Photos 2,548
Trips 184 map ( 820 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → Early
Seasons   Late Summer to Late Spring
Sun  5:46am - 7:15pm
0 Alternative

Little it was.
by Steph_and_Blake

In search of a short, nearby hike we found Little Keyhole Saddle on HAZ. We downloaded AZLOT69's GPS route and headed out. The hike starts out on an old jeep trail and then turns into a well-worn, lightly cairned path. Actually, this hike follows the same route as that for hiking to the Horns of Dillema up until about 1.25 miles in. From there the route takes a southwesterly turn.

We attempted to follow the GPS route as much as possible, but I'm sure we strayed numerous times as there was no obvious path and, furthermore, we didn't know where the Little Keyhole was hiding. Trying to stick to the route we ended up scrambling up to and around a small set of peaks. The footing was loose on the way up and I'd recommend gloves in case you slip and fall. Not knowing if we'd already passed the Keyhole or if we'd ever spot it, we decided to make our way down the other side of the peaks and get back on the trail. Lo and behold, I looked up and there it was. And it was, indeed, little. I regret not dropping a waypoint for future hikers. My apologies.

From the Keyhole we picked our way down to the canyon floor, trying to find pathways with stable footing and avoiding cats claw and thorny mesquite. We aimed for a yellow rock formation that reminded me of the backbone of a dinosaur (see photos). After rounding the "backbone" we continued in a northeasterly direction until we picked up the trail that we'd come in on. From there it was an easy hike back to the truck.

It was often difficult to know, even with a GPS device, which side of the small group of peaks you needed to be on to be "on route". As such, we rated the hike a "3" in regards to route-finding as, without a waypoint, it's very possible you might miss the Keyhole entirely. But, if you enjoy bushwhacking, scrambling, and the challenge of finding a not-very-obvious rock feature...This could be just the hike for you!

I should also mention that there was little-to-no shade, so take that into consideration when planning your trip.

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2017-09-22 Steph_and_Blake
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Apache Junction take Route 88 out towards Canyon Lake. Pass the Canyon Lake Overview parking lot and take the first left you come to. A large, round mailbox tells you you're at the correct place. Don't take the paved road that leads to the dam, instead take the dirt road to the left. Either park there or drive down the bumpy road a little further. The hike continues on that same road.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Sep 22 2017 2:38 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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