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Pass Mtn Ridgeline Loop - Meridian TH, AZ

no permit
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Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 7.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,925 feet
Elevation Gain 1,408 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,123 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 17.82
Interest Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
16  2019-04-12
Peak 3108 Ridgeline Plus
3  2016-08-20 mt98dew
1  2016-01-17
Pass Mountain Loop Trail #282
36  2014-12-10 CannondaleKid
15  2013-03-11 bensondk
Author larbrad
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 5
Photos 39
Trips 13 map ( 159 miles )
Age 64 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → Early
Sun  6:09am - 6:34pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Fun yet challenging
by larbrad

This hike originates from the trailhead located where Meridian Road dead-ends at the Tonto National Forest access. Once you pass through the opening in the steel pole fence, head in a general northwesterly direction following the well-worn trail that takes you in that direction. If you have taken the right trail, then within about 300 yards from the TH, you'll drop down into a deep drainage feature - you're on the right track. Continuing north about 50 feet in the sandy bottom of the wash, you'll find a pathway leading up and out of the wash. Upon leaving the wash, take the trail to the north and within seconds you'll be right on the Pass Mountain Loop Trail.

This trail is well-worn and well-used by both hikers and bikers. As you continue what I call a counter-clockwise traverse of the Pass Mountain Loop trail, you'll enjoy this walk as it hugs the eastern slope of Pass Mountain. The trail begins a fairly steep incline toward the point that it flattens out at the "pass". Once you reach this point, this is where you'll leave the trail and begin the ascent of Pass Mountain Peak. There is no trail here - you must find your own way up, but it is not too difficult. I chose to work my way up the spine of the mountain, constantly climbing and gaining elevation. Only at one point did I actually have to use some hands to help pull myself up a crack in the rocks to keep going.

You reach one summit that is marked with a large cairn, but you can see that the true summit is just a short distance further to the west. Continuing onward toward the true summit is very rewarding. The 360-degree view is stunning and it is exciting to stand on the rock that represents the highest point within Usery Park. Be sure to sign the logbook contained in the green metal box that is anchored to a rock within sight of the top rock. Stop to enjoy the view. From here, just keep heading southward along the ridgeline. There is evidence of foot traffic along this portion from Pass Mountain Peak to the intersection with the wind cave "extended" trail. (I call it "extended" because if you hike up the Wind Cave trail from the Usery Park parking lot, you will reach the wind cave and then there is a sign that says something like "beyond this point trail is not maintained".)

All in all, a great hike with wonderful views, plenty of solitude on top. For me, this hike took four hours - moving for three out of the four and resting one hour.

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2012-02-20 larbrad
    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
    Pass Mtn Ridgeline Loop - Meridian TH
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    In my semi-arbitrary quest for new peaks, I came back around to one I have wanted to do for a while. The problem with the Usery mountains, is any time I think about driving out here to hike I end up driving to the Superstitions. This time I hit it up on the somewhat way home from Tucson. Parked at the Meridian TH about 3:30 to start my fun for the day and immediately got on the wrong trail. A short bushwhack later (thanks HAZ tracks) I was back on the trail. I really liked the trail up to the saddle, nice views and easy going. I underestimated this hike for time a bit, there is about 3+ miles of off trail so going was a little slower than I had anticipated. Fun ridgeline climb up to the peak and over. There were a few sketchy spots, but nothing too overwhelming. I made the mistake of trying to descend to the Wind cave trail too soon and had to scramble back, you have to follow the ridgeline all the way to the little rock knob at the end and then you can find a fairly defined trail to go down, much easier. Saw my first people of the day after getting below the cave, ended up seeing about a dozen hikers and one biker. The southern circumference was somewhat boring getting back to the van, but all in all a fun and exciting hike. The only downer is having to listen to the shooting range just to the west, it does detract from the wilderness experience having to listen to someone with a semi-automatic emptying a clip or 6...
    Pass Mtn Ridgeline Loop - Meridian TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I had to stay close to home today so chose something different yet familiar. While I've done dozens of hikes to Pass Mountain 3127 summit and two full Pass Mountain ridge-line hikes, I wanted to try a faster and more direct route to the true summit at 3312 feet in elevation.

    I began from the Meridian TH and followed Pass Mountain Loop Trail #282 until just before it started the switchbacks on the way up to the saddle, where I left the trail. From there I followed a number of game trails winding my way up a hundred yards or so west of the saddle. At that point I noticed a large group of hikers taking a break at the saddle. (I would see them still there for over an hour... too long a break for me!)

    From there I turned north for a while until I located a nice narrow bare-rock dry runoff which I followed most of the way up. Eventually I had to wind my way through huge boulder fields to reach the flat area up top.

    On the last climb I spotted a deer a few hundred yards across the next canyon but was unable to get a photo... I wasn't frame it in a shot because of the sun reflecting on the screen.
    I took some shots but when I got home, none had the deer in the photo... so I did a very rare deletion of the photos.
    Once I reached the summit I did the usual thing with pan photos and video then headed toward the other side of the canyon where I had spotted the deer. Unfortunately the only approach I had was upwind of where I last saw the deer so I really didn't expect to sneak up on it. As it turned out even after adding a wide loop around the area, alas, no deer was to be found.
    I continued on down until reaching the loop trail and headed back toward the saddle. After passing the saddle I skipped the long winding route with the switchbacks and took the alternate route straight south, following a number of game trails most of the way back until connecting with an existing trail. It turned out to be a nice route so I'll have to drag Tracey back out for another trip to the summit.

    One video:
    Pass Mountain 3312 summit panorama

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Meridian Trailhead
    Meridian Trailhead is located at the north terminus of Meridian Road between Mesa and Apache Junction.

    US60 to Signal Butte. Take Signal Butte north to University. East (right) onto University to Meridian. North (left) onto Meridian to the terminus. There is a small TH.


    Exit 202 Loop at Brown Road and travel east on Brown Road for about 3.5 miles. From Brown Road (Lost Dutchman Rd), travel North on Meridian for two miles to the trailhead parking area at the end of the road.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 34.1mi - 44 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 119mi - 2hr 11mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 176mi - 2hr 56mins
    page created by larbrad on Feb 20 2012 1:13 pm
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