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McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55, AZ

no permit
217 12 0
Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Young S
3.4 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 11.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,173 feet
Elevation Gain 1,885 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,361 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 23.01
Interest Historic, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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9  2018-10-10 Jim_H
20  2016-08-24
12  2015-09-19
McFadden Super Loop
19  2015-09-19
McFadden Super Loop
24  2015-09-05
McFadden Loop
19  2015-05-02
FR2752 McFadden Peak Loop
15  2013-06-09 DarthStiller
6  2012-04-10
Salome Creek - Upper Loop
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar
Sun  6:13am - 6:19pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: This scenic and easy to follow trail with quick TH access located in-between the east boundary of the Salome Wilderness and the west boundary of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness offers great views as it makes it way up to McFadden Peak-with a 360 view of the surrounding areas, and with an active fire tower that was built in 1968 and is listed in the AZ historical record. With seasonal creeks, a "huge blackberry patch" along the right side of the trail bordering seasonal McFadden Creek(only ~.25mls in from the Circle Ranch TH), and a private ranch along the way, this trail and hike is a great way to spend a summer or autumn day between 5250' and a high point of 7135'.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    McFadden Super Loop
    Redo of Bruce's masterpiece plus Cienega #145.

    McFadden Horse Trail
    Most will rate this lower due to the steep approach. The forest up top, eastern and Elephant Butte views win me over.

    Elephant Rock Arch
    Bridged the gap connecting McFadden to Elephant Rock. Shorts are fine, took under a half hour. We stopped above the arch then headed down. 1 class four downclimb. Ironically I climbed up it last time out of curiosity. I couldn't figure out the downclimb last time so I jumped 10? feet. Got the twist move on the first try this time then did it again for fun. Fairly certain you could backtrack a bit to avoid the obstacle.

    McFadden Peak
    Just a road walk up. Impressive views of the thick mogul berber carpet of pines.

    Park McFadden Trail #55
    Majority of this is an old road down to Circle Ranch. Without using Hank's track I would have missed where it leaves the road for awhile. The cairns at each end are faint and the trail is faint for that segment. Found a tank and added to the map. From Circle Ranch down it's a nice trail. The upper isn't bad but most would prefer the lower part.

    Cienega Spring Trail #145
    Just a road. A little closer and personal views such as from McFadden Peak.
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    McFadden Loop
    Nice hike in the Sierra Ancha's. Started from the Reynolds TH and headed out on trail #55, then went off-trail to pick up FR 2770, then uphill on trail #146 where we enjoyed lunch and then took a walk to the high point of McFadden Horse Mountain. From there we headed back down the hill where we picked up trail #145 which took us by a few old mines. Checked out Cienega spring which was flowing very nice, and then closed out the loop with a nice stroll along FR's 235/410.

    Highlights were the blackberries we enjoyed on trail #55 just a .25 mile from the start, the top of McFadden Horse Mountain, and trail #146. Heck, I enjoyed the entire hike :D
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    Chris and I started out from the Circle Ranch Trail Head through a nice cover of trees and cool morning air. The trail soon passed a small canyon which was quite interesting as we approached the head of the canyon, It would be really something to see after a heavy rain. The trail became more exposed as we started to gain elevation and the temps began to rise, it reached 95 degrees by the time we made it to the top of Mcfadden. The views were incredible from the peak. We spoke to the fire watch guy briefly, He informed us you are not allowed in the tower according to HSA, oh well. He liked to talk about murder cases, kind of freaky, He was on oxygen, maybe not enough. We encountered a bunch of Lady Bugs under the tower where we had lunch. They were crawling all over us. The tower guy told us they were from Phoenix and I asked him if they were on vacation, and it went right over his head. After lunch we headed back down and took an old forest road to complete a loop back to the trail head. We came across a couple of old mines which were pretty cool but it was just to hot to stay very long. Over all this was a great hike that does not see a lot of use. I highly recommend it.
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    This turned to be a really nice hike that I think is underrated as a peak bagger hike. The views at the top are really phenomenal. It was actually pretty hot considering our elevation. Even around the 6500' mark, we were at 95 degrees.

    On our way up, we lost the trail a little bit and got sidetracked on FR2747. We got about a half mile out of our way before we realized this, so we just bushwhacked up to the trail, which was thankfully very easy.

    The lookout tower at the top has to be the shortest lookout tower I've ever seen. We could hear a regular radio in addition to the CB radio inside since the windows were open. We called out to see if anyone could hear to ask if it was ok to go up. No one responded. Finally, Alex went halfway up the staircase (which was enough for his head to be visible to the guy inside) and asked if it was ok to go up. Then he came back down. Is it ok to go in? He said no. After we made our way back over to the road, the lookout came out on the platform/patio and said that some mandate from Homeland Security came down that said no one other than employees are allowed inside towers now. He was a rather older guy and had an oxygen tank with him. we talked to him a little, asking him if we could see or identify Aztec peak, and how long he worked as a lookout. Soon after he started to tell a story about some guy who killed his wife at Workman's Creek Falls in 1989, and soon thereafter he started giving his take on the OJ Simpson trial (the first one). Ok, time for lunch.

    The shortness of the lookout tower provided some welcome shade from the platform. We had lunch in the shade, but had to fight off the 9000 ladybugs that were crawling everywhere. The lookout in the tower informed us that the ladybugs all came from Phoenix. Alex asked him if they were all on vacation, which created one of those awkward silences borne of multiple misunderstandings.

    On our way down, we decided to take FR2770 over to SR288, which turned out to be a good choice. this "forest road" is really no different than Trail #55, which also seems to be a former jeep road. (oh yeah, the firetower lookout guy said that last year someone drove a jeep up Trail #55 all the way to the fire tower.) Anyway, FR2770 is pretty much another trail, and it goes past quite a few defunct mines, or mining prospects. The one looked definitely like a mine shaft that was closed off, and it had some kind of loading platform or bridge. the second one we saw was more of a huge gash carved into the rock which was obviously manmade and not by erosion. there was no sign of a normal stream pattern going thru this, and tailings were all over the place. Eventually we saw some spur road off of 2770 that looked like it might go up to more digging. but it was already after 1pm and pretty hot, so we just moved on.

    we considered for a bit to take the stream bed off of FR2770 to Trail 55, but the stream bed was pretty choked with vegetation and very rocky. so instead, we bushwhacked from 2770 to 288, which was straight up a hillside, the last 20' of which was almost vertical.

    The last mile or so we hiked 288 back to the trailhead and called it a day.
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    Woohoo! Finally was able to complete this amAZingly remote & rugged canyon loop in the Sierra Anchas. :y:

    On Saturday afternoon, we started from the Reynolds TH and made our way northwest along the McFadden trail and old ranching roads to upper Park Creek Canyon. We slowly rock hopped our way down canyon and eventually hit some drops in middle Park Canyon. The first drop we bypassed on the right but the next we harnessed up and made a 40ft rappel from a tree on the leftside. As the sun was slowly setting, we found a flat section of red rock along the creek to setup our meager camp for the night. With minimal gear, I slept the night on a groundcover, my wetsuit as a bed pad, a blowup pillow, and a small summer bag that fits in my canyon dry keg. It was a warm day, but it still got rather cold at night and I was shivering fairly good the last few hours before sunrise. :o We built a fire the next morning to quickly warm us back up before hitting the canyon again bright & early at 7am... We passed some cool slickrock sections before hitting another 40ft rappel at a falls but we were still able to stay dry. Further down canyon, a hallway section is encountered but with some climbing skills we were still able to stay dry. :) Eventually we reached lower Park Canyon as it narrows up and drops quickly to Upper Salome Canyon with a quick two drops. We suited up, navigated thru some pools, and I volunteered to rappel 60ft down a chute into a deep punchbowl with a cool arch above it. :D The pool was plenty deep, so I yelled back to my partners and told them it was deep enough for them to waterslide it and they both were crazy enough to slide it. :o From this pool, there was an opening to rappel another 50ft waterfall down into a boulder field and finally reach the confluence...

    So this is known as an Upper Salome Loop, but in reality we only hike about a mile in this canyon but it's all about hitting the amAZing Grotto Pool. :sweat: We slowly rock hopped our way down canyon until it finally narrowed up into some of the sweetest narrows I've seen in central AZ. Falls after falls and pool after pool until we reach the magnificent Grotto Pool that was featured in AZ highways way back in August of 2001. We both jumped and slide into it and it was such a sweet warm pool to swim and briefly hang at before unfortunately having to move on. The narrows were only half over and the falls & slide just got bigger. On the first one, I performed my first simal-rappel as we counter weighted ourself around a mound of rock into the pool below, swam below a boulder bridge, and out of the long pool on the farside. Some down climbing and we reached the final 30ft falls that was rocking with water flow into another pool. :o Another jump into another pool and another slide into a final pool and we reached our exit canyon up lower Workman Creek. We dropped the wet gear and made our way out of paradise and towards Hell's Hole. ;) There's a 45ft falls down there required us to bushwhack up a chute on the leftside LUC and traverse above the creek to get passed the falls. After a mile or so of rock hopping and walking a side trail above Hell's Hole, I started to take what I though was the trail up and out of the canyon. Turns out that while I was very close to the trail, it was actually one more ridge over to the east as we slowly made our own bushwhacking route up game trails & clearings. :roll: After much energy expended and frustrations, the trail crossed back above us and we found ourselves on a great trail and only a half hour until sunset with about 5 trail miles left to hike out. :sweat: Thankfully we made great time on the trail and arrived back at the TH around 8pm to finish up my longest canyon trip yet to date. :GB:
    McFadden Peak via Park McFadden Trail #55
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    After returning from Glacier NP on 7/9, I was having AZ "re-entry" problems big time. So topohiker-Ken and I decided to do a little decompression in-between two of our favorite areas to hike: The Sierra Ancha and Salome Wilderness.

    This McFadden Park TR#55 has not had any plublicity on HAZ until now. Preston who wrote up the original McFadden Peak hike description via FR561(fm Hwy 288) sparked our interest level to try the longer version of this hike to McFadden Peak at 7135'.

    This quick access Circle Ranch TH and recently maintained 5.6ml(.29ml on FR561) hike to McFadden Peak turned out to be another winner! Just .25ml from the TH start we found a huge "backberry patch" just off the right side of the trail following seasonal McFadden Creek. Don't know when in AZ is considered peak for blackberry season, but this is the place to come IF you know when and enjoy blackberries!

    This easy to follow and somewhat rocky but cairned trail roams it way up through pinyon pine, alligator juniper, gamble oaks, and mountain mahogany. At approx 1.1mls you reach the private property across the fence line for the Circle Ranch homestead. Continuing on past a couple view points and crossing a few seasonal creeks and drainages you reach the first veiwpoint at 4.8mls for the historic 1968 built Fire Tower on the top of McFadden Peak.. your ending destination with a super 360 degree view of all! At 5.3mls you reach the intersection of FR561. It is just another ~.3mls up this well maintained dirt road to the fire tower. Ken and I were fortunate to find it occupied this time of year. While having lunch at the tower we had a nice conversation with Jay, who really does seem to have a less stressful life spending 5 days/nights a week here during our monsoon season. He told us that he had called-in a recent fire caused by a lighting strike just 3 days before or visit.

    As we finished our lunch visit, Sierra Ancha and Salome Wilderness monsoon weather was again quickly approaching. Jay looked up, smiled, and said "you two are going to get wet before you reach your vehicle". Guess that we were kind-of looking forward to some rain as we decided to extend the hike by 2.1mls and +/- 575' by taking FR561 to its end at Hwy 288 then back up to the TR#55 intersection. The sky let loose just about the time we turned onto TR#55. It rained for 2 hrs straight..just delightful! The creeks and drainages were flowing again and all the forest smells were alive! We saw little wildlife on our hike, but I am sure they saw us.

    A nice area and new trail to hike.. We do recommend it!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take Hwy 60E to Globe; In Globe turn Left on Hwy 188/88; Continue on 188/88 to intersection of Young Hwy 288; Turn Right on 288 and continue for approx 26+ miles "past" MP286.4 intersection at Reynolds Creek Rd FR410; Continue approx .5mls further up Hwy 288 and look for the Circle Ranch TH sign on the Right side of Hwy 288; Turn Left here on signed but easy to miss unmaintained dirt road FR3781; The Circle Ranch TH parking is approx .25mls further down this FR3781 at the beginning start of signed McFadden Park TR#55;
    page created by Grasshopper on Jul 18 2008 7:01 pm
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