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Mineral Mtn Quad - Peak 3306 Thumb, AZ

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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Superior SW
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Loop 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,342 feet
Elevation Gain 443 feet
Accumulated Gain 650 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.65
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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35  2012-01-31 CannondaleKid
Author CannondaleKid
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 137
Photos 20,503
Trips 1,903 map ( 15,629 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Circling the Thumb
by CannondaleKid

Peak 3306 (or what I call 'The Thumb') is readily visible from some distance in many directions but is not easily accessible.

Western Approach
(Either from Florence via Box/Martinez or SR 79 via Cottonwood/Box/Martinez Canyon Roads)
This approach may bring you within 1/4 mile of The Thumb but it will come at the expense of your vehicle over 20+ miles of the roughest 'road' you'll ever encounter. (Probably the main reason much of the route is so popular with 4x4 fans.) Speaking of vehicles, only experienced drivers with a VERY capable high-clearance 4x4 should attempt this drive. Although I've driven it in less time, figure 2.5 to 3 hours EACH WAY.

Eastern Approach
(Battle Axe Road from SR 177)
This approach will add an extra 4 miles to the hike, but the drive can be done with a much less capable 4x4, even a 2WD with moderate clearance if the road is dry. The drive in on Battle Axe Road is about 11.6 miles and should take less than 2 hours, again each way. The extra hiking miles will all be on a segment of the Arizona Trail #16.

The hike is basically a circumnavigation around Peak 3306 so you can begin the 'loop' part wherever you wish. For the purpose of the hike statistics I chose the point reachable by vehicle from the west. Not including your time on the AZT#16 if driving in from the east, a mile of the hike will follow the wash/road with the balance of the loop-hike being off-trail. Of the off-trail portion about .8 mile will be spent in a canyon negotiating terrain including thick brush, boulder-hopping and some reasonably-easy rock climbing, requiring some trail-blazing skills. While it can be a chore at times, the scenery is awesome.

Peak 3306 itself has no confirmed climbs and that isn't likely to change. Although we did not take the time to do it, if you approach the base from the NNW you could climb relatively easily up to the base of the sheer cliff walls.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2012-02-01 CannondaleKid
    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 Review
    Mineral Mtn Quad - Peak 3306 Thumb
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    The original plan for the day was to climb a few mountains and visit a wreckage along the way. But the Samurai is out of commission for a few days with a broken spring so that meant the hike would be 4 miles longer. The drive in from Battle Axe was easier but with the extra distance through Superior and the extra hiking miles it was obvious the plan had to change. By time we reached the point of the original planned 'trailhead' it was three hours later than expected. Two of those hours were spent hiking uphill-and-down along the newly completed AZT#16. Having hiked in the wash below a month ago the up-and-downs did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm we gained from this new perspective from far above. The views were simply awesome!

    Finally to our 'start' point 3 hours behind the plan morphed into a 'follow the AZT#16 until we feel like turning around or until something more interesting popped up' while doing recon for future hikes. And as usual for those of us with advanced cases of ADD, something else did catch our attention. Off in the distance we noticed what appeared to to be a road heading off to the west along the base of Peak 3306. With the thought of a return trip with the Samurai we just had to check out this 'road'. 'Road' it may have looked like from a half-mile away, but close up was pretty obvious it hadn't seen use in years if not 60+. (It wasn't on my 60 year old map) Ok, road or not, we had to follow it to its conclusion. By time it faded into nothing we were halfway around Peak 3306, or The Thumb so we decided to continue one around.

    So far the going had been reasonably easy and we didn't expect that to change, but change it did. The canoyn we dropped into got narrower and thicker with brush the farther we went. At each new obstacle the conversation 'do we continue or turn back?' would take place and each time 'let's cover new ground' took precedence over 'what if we can't get through' so the circumnavigation continued. A few times we had to climb up the canyon walls to make it through some sections but eventually we broke out onto a road I had driven on the way to my canyon hike last week and we knew we were home free. Now it's just a matter of walking along the road until we hit the wide flat wash until we reconnected with AZT#16 again for the last 2 miles of hiking back to the car. Having covered this ground by vehicle and on foot numerous times before I expected it to be a bit of a chore, but this time I wasn't alone and the time passed so quickly it took me by surprise when we hit the AZT#16 again.

    Although our plan changed drastically it turned out to be well worth the change... and the other mountains are still there. I'll have the Samurai up and running shortly and we'll be ready for another shot at it.

    All 56 photos are posted here:

    Permit $$
    AZ State Land Recreational Permits are available for an individual ($15.00), or a family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18 ($20.00).

    Land Parcel Map

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From the EAST:
    Take US 60 to the east end Superior, turn right (south) on AZ 177 and follow it to a point .9 mile PAST mile marker 159. Turn right (west) onto the "Primitive Road - Road not maintained" dirt road. Although not signed, this is Battle Axe Road. Follow Battle Axe Road 11.6 miles until a corner where on the right you should see a narrow fiberglass Arizona Trail signpost . There is barely enough room for two vehicles, but within a few hundred feet along the road more room is available.

    From the WEST:
    The simplest is to download the GPS track for the drive.
    Alternatively, view the directions for the Coke Ovens hike.
    The last segment of the route to the TH follows the small dotted line to the right of the loop in the lower right of this map.
    page created by CannondaleKid on Feb 01 2012 2:40 pm
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