Copper Mtn Points - Lower/Upper, AZ | HikeArizona
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  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Copper Mtn Points - Lower/Upper, AZ

Guide 14 Triplogs  0 Topics
  5 of 5 
no permit
394 14 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Distance One Way 0 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,551 feet
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins & Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
7  2022-04-14 jtaylor
63  2022-02-05 eru
59  2022-02-04 eru
57  2022-01-29 eru
52  2022-01-28
Malicious Gap
9  2021-02-13 eru
8  2021-02-12
Malicious Gap
50  2014-10-05
Copper Mountain Points
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 10
Photos 656
Trips 18 map ( 86 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location nomadic
co-author avatarGuides 20
Routes 12
Photos 2,331
Trips 294 map (835 Miles)
Age 48 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Associated Areas
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Preferred Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 7 AM
Sun  5:38am - 7:06pm
2 Alternative

many points to be made
by eru & ssk44

  Likely In-Season!
-- 2012 ssk44 --

Scenic and diverse Sierra Ancha destination with rugged adventurous canyon routes and grand views of Greenback Valley and Bear Head Mountain. This destination as posted is the lower 4x2 access along Greenback Creek off FR236A. Upper access is road hiking along abandoned FR693 off FR236 from Dupont Cabin (see attached map). Upper TH access is strictly 4x4.

-- 2022 eru --

We've come up with standardized names for regions. All of the triplogs here before 2022 have been in the Upper Copper Mountain Points Canyon North Fork, so that's well covered with routes, text, and photos. Ones from this point forward should use the new names to avoid any confusion.

When something is described as "easy", it's with the understanding that someone is extremely comfortable with class 2/3 off-trail micro-navigation, moving on steep loose terrain, boulder hopping, shifting talus, bashing past tree branches or bushes, scrambling, occasional short easy pitches of "climbing" (canyoneering grade 1/2, Yosemite decimal 3/3X), etc and there should be no significant risk, challenge to such a person, or protective/aid gear required. Nothing aside from walking to the points from FR693 is actually easy. :)

Also checking Tonto Creek water gauge levels is mandatory until the new bridge comes in. Anything close to ~200cfm would be 4x4 only and depending on the conditions it could be far less than that. A recently graded ford with twice the water is a simpler crossing than one where vehicles lurching around with water above their wheels due to ruts. Watch a few people cross first if in any doubt.

So that said... there's a lot of stuff here eh? Let's go over it :)

Upper CMP Canyon North Fork: as stated above, many GPX routes and triplogs for this one, so if you want more detail go do your homework. Head up FR236A past the giant wash out, then traverse over some semi-open terrain to the drainage that comes out of the canyon when you hit 3 large pink rocks in the middle of the road. Basically, walk along the creek when it's flat, up it when it's not (lotta rocks), then enjoy the stunning upper section. There's a fairly rough but optional (but worth it IMO) cut out of the creek along the edge of a talus field, bashing into a gully, heading up that to a stable traverse to a nice pillar garden with an easy drop down to the upper slickrock part of the canyon (extra optionally you can cross over a lot more of that talus for a ruin). I'd recommend doing at least the shorter version of it on the way up, then just drop down the creek on the way back. It could also be used to bypass the steep set of cascades at the bottom if there was enough creek flow to impact navigation. GPX routes / triplog guides aren't really necessary aside from doing that little upper detour for the first time, as it's easy to get cliffed out and there's not a great way to describe where to start it.

Upper CMP Canyon South Fork: isn't quite as stunning at the top, but still really cool and just as great in a more intimate Indiana Jones kinda way. It's the same as the north fork up to the junction obviously, and if you have time doing both is well worth it. The lower part past the junction is a bit more enjoyable with more slab and views vs endless claustrophobic boulder hopping. The upper cut here isn't as special (and ironically initially gets you the worst bushbashing of the trip) but adds variety. I would strongly recommend scampering up the chunky drainage on the north side of the canyon (you can't miss it) on your way down for some cool views. For further reading, this triplog & associated goodies should spoil the surprise. One thing to note is you can get nearly all the way up without any major obstacles, but there is a relatively straightforward ~15" solid class 3 crux (photos here and here) to upclimb/downclimb if you want to hop up to the canyon's rim (highly recommended). It's a bit more technical than going up the wall of the falls at malicious gap, but it's a fraction of the height. Bring good soles as the rock has been smoothed by water. :| GPS isn't really necessary here, it's all pretty obvious (keep left near the top) though you could miss the chunky side drainage if you stick low both times and were focused on footing.

Middle CMP Canyon: works as a connector between the points and Greenback Valley and is non-technical, but is underwhelming in general and has an extended bushwhacky section. It's worth checking out from the top until it gets terrible, but not really coming all the way up the bottom IMO. Go over the triplog & associated goodies to learn more about the canyon we did so you don't have to.

Lower CMP Canyon: surprisingly cool, if it was 1/2 mile from a paved road this'd be a popular hike up to the waterfall. As is it's near the bottom of the pack for this area but still well worth seeing. The simplest rock creekbed hiking in the area (though cutting in a bit high on the north and dropping in around 4800ft might be more optimal), nice long open stretches of pools and slickrock cascades, views of pillars and cliffbands on the ridges nearby, and a small if interesting waterfall. Bypassing the waterfall means some loosish class 3 with cactii obstacles, but you're rewarded with a gorgeous area above it. The North Fork starts off amazing and comes and goes between bushwhacking, nice slickrock cascades, and interesting class 3 chonky falls petering out as it gets closer to FR693. The South Fork -seems- less interesting as it's drier, but it is more open. Looking at satellite can give you some obvious areas to aim for in a traverse between the two though the north side will always be rough. Further reading & geocoded photos etc but if you want to do it, it's doable blind and probably more fun. :)

Point 1: can be gained several ways, while the simplest is an easy flat walk from abandoned FR693. From ~Greenback there's an easy walk up from Malicious Gap, and a harder drop down to nearly the trailhead as outlined in this triplog and associated route and geocoded photoset. Other (possibly better options?) into Upper CMP Canyon North Fork are near the saddle dropping into the slickrock near the top and a long diagonal cut lower into the canyon. It's a cool spot, and for an aggressive dayhike, could be used to join Malicious Gap and the Upper CMP Canyon Forks.

Points 2, 3, & 4: the simplest approach is an easy flat walk from abandoned but in decent shape FR693. You can also take the scenic exit out of the top of Upper CMP Canyon South Fork between 2 & 3 or head up and out of Middle CMP Canyon which would give you easy access to 3 & 4, though I'd honestly just recommend cutting up the south face of point 3 instead. Our Middle Canyon trip went to some great viewpoints here and found some old mining remnants, but that's just what we stumbled across. Point 4 could be gained/dropped in a few spots.

Check out the Triplogs.

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2022-02-09 eru & ssk44
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    guide related

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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 $$

High Clearance possible when dry

To hike
More detailed information on road conditions and how to make sure you're not another drowning stastic at this road conditions post on the forum.

GPS Drive from Punkin Center

Turn on Highway 188 (between Mesa & Payson on 87, or Globe & Miami on 60) and drive to Punkin Center. In Punkin Center you will be turning directly after the "Punkin Center Bar & Grill", which has a large orange pumpkin on one side of the roof that's visible from Highway 188. From there take FR71 approximately 12 miles to the junction of FR236. Continue along 236 to the upper trailhead 4WD or partway along FR236A HC 2WD

Do not enter the private property of Conway ranch, which lies within Greenback Valley!! The Conway family is mostly friendly and have zero issues with people traveling around the boundaries of there ranch (which they shouldn't as it's public land!) as long no one enters the well marked property gates and do not damage any personal property.

(Special Note) From Punkin Center, FR71 crosses Tonto Creek before heading to the trailhead. The crossing at Tonto Creek is gravel only and can be dangerous to cross for long periods of time following heavy storms and periodically throughout the spring during heavy snow runoff. It is advisable to check the CFS stream flow the day prior to your trip to ensure that you won't be driving all the way over there for nothing. Typically, any number higher than 200 CFS is not advisable without four-wheel drive. When in doubt, wait a few minutes for one of the locals to cross so you can see how difficult it looks. See .
page created by ssk44 on Mar 09 2012 6:12 pm

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