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Blackjack Mtns to Upper Hess Canyon, AZ

no permit
24 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe NE
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,171 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
42  2013-04-16
Blackjack Mtns Ridgeline Loop
17  2013-03-23 rwstorm
7  2013-03-23 Grasshopper
88  2013-03-22
Camp Grasshopper - S/R Cyn Wilderness (FR346)
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
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Sun  6:07am - 6:27pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: North of Globe, AZ, near the boundary with the Salt River Canyon Wilderness, this serious 5.8 mile "modified vehicle only" 4WD round-trip begins off of FR645 at the unmarked and gated Blackjack Mountains 4WD/Ranching Access Road to end 2.9 driving/hiking miles later at the very remote Upper Hess Canyon drainage. Scenic views of the Blackjack Mtn Range to the west and historic ranching history prevail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your 4x4 trip to support this local community.

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
    Blackjack Mtns to Upper Hess Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Beginning in November, 2012, to date.. after numerous successful day trips and a one week vehicle camping trip to hike in and around this interesting and scenic Salt River Canyon Wilderness area, it was time to checkout the "Blackjack Mountains" with its four(4) main peak viewing summits:

    My thanks to our Oregon Hiker- Larry for again driving and for putting together our preliminary GPS Planning Route and to our Outdoor Lover- Pam for joining us and for confirming that my requested planning route was probably not really needed for the hike in but I do believe would be a wise download to follow for the hike back out to complete this recommended lolly-pop loop ;) .

    I really enjoyed our day out together with all the numerous desert spring flowers and cactus in substantial bloom with the opportunity to summit four peaks along this Blackjack Mtns Ridgeline with their scenic near and distant views :D .

    Ref: My Picset Camera Settings-
    With my very limited understanding of camera settings, sometimes I experiment a little :o . Today (a sunny-blue sky day) with my older Canon G10 I decided to set my White Balance on the "cloudy" setting vs the "daylight" setting (which would normally be my setting for a day like today)..I did this just to see what would happen to my pics..; Also, I usually use the "P" mode which automatically sets the focal lengths and the shutter speeds and I normally select ISO speed at "AUTO"; Today, I decided to set ISO at 200 speed exclusively and to set focal length at f6.3 exclusively, thus only shutter speed was controlled automatically; I always use an exposure setting of -1/3 on my Canon G10 and also the same on my Canon S95;

    So, what happened differently with all my pics that I noticed-
    The White Balance change to the "cloudy" setting definitely gave most all my pics a yellow/tan tent-like color (a cooler color?) that I'm not sure I really like or not? All comments on my posted pics "pro & con" are welcomed.. Really! :) I can't decipher what if anything is significantly different (pro or con) with my pics regarding my change to ISO 200 and to f6.3 exclusively.. Any comments? :-k
    Blackjack Mtns to Upper Hess Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    In my original planning effort after confirming that the "Black Mountain 4515 Ruins" hike seemed worthy of a visit, I noticed on our HAZ MapDEX satellite view that there was an obscure, unsigned (FR986) 4WD route/ranching road that continued south to north from this Black Mountain hike skirting the lower base of the Blackjack Mountains Range ending downhill at Upper Hess Canyon. I thought it would be a 8) idea to try and drive in to its route end at Upper Hess Canyon drainage at 3560ft elevation :sl:

    Randal & Randy in his stock but lifted Toyota Tacoma 4WD short bed with 31" BFGs agreed to follow Larry and me in my Grasshopper for this exciting 2.9ml one way Arizona pin-striping 4x4 rock crawling adventure :o Randy did an excellent job of finding the correct 4WD "lines" to take as we continued further down this gnarly old abandoned road route. I was too lazy to air down my 35" tires and likewise too lazy to disengage my anti-sway bars for more vehicle front end articulation if needed.. Fortunately Randy knew and saw his needed stopping point and did so.

    I was having so much fun living a previous 4x4 life, that I became a little carried away trying to reach the lower road end and could have caused myself an unnecessary and :oops: event.. Fortunately, I was able to pull off a very difficult turn-around with my clutch plate smoking, I finally parked it. We all continued hiking down to road end and accomplished our original destination at Upper Hess Canyon Drainage.. then we both needed to drive back up hill and out :) ..

    Randy deserves a : app : for doing a great job on what he said was his most challenging 4x4 road trip to date. Really nice work Randy! : app :

    I had hoped that this 4WD road trip would offer some excellent views of the "Blackkjack Mountains Range" as we continued paralleling it to reach Upper Hess Canyon drainage, but that was really not to be mostly due to all the dense and higher vegetation along this memorable driving route.
    Blackjack Mtns to Upper Hess Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Camp Grasshopper Mar2013 - Salt River Canyon Wilderness

    4 day weekend booked months in advance
    Yotes hockey tailgating "bookends" Thursday & Monday evening
    Salt River Canyon Wilderness "mystery areas"
    Off-trail hiking, ruins, 4WD trekking, canyoneering
    Arizona "pin striping" my F-150
    Talking to "real" cowboys
    363 images on XT and 7D
    Sleeping in back cab of my F-150
    Black Jack Wash to Salt River (Jump-Off Canyon)
    Black Mountain 4515 Ruins
    Black Jack Mountains to Upper Hess Canyon
    Hess Canyon to Salt River
    Another "Camp Grasshopper"

    Having missed the past two "Camp Grasshoppers", I couldn't risk a strike three caught looking! So I booked a four day weekend at the beginning of the New Year, pushed off any potential conflicts (including my Yotes obligations) and assured Hank that I'd be there! Exploring the unknowns of the Salt River Canyon Wilderness only made it all the more sweet =>

    Friday 3/22 - After Thursday night tail-gating at the Canucks/Yotes game, packed up the F-150 and headed towards the corrals near Clay Springs in the White Ledges of the Salt River Canyon Wilderness. Following Hank's detailed instructions;

    Drive 80.7 miles east from Ahwatukee to Globe via Hwy60.

    Drive 16.3 miles north from Globe on Hwy60 to FR303 intersection (by Jones Water Campgrounds).

    Drive 2.6 miles northwest on FR303 to FR645 intersection.

    Drive 4.86 miles west and north on FR645 to FR346 intersection (pass thru 1 ranch gate).

    Drive 3.34 miles north on FR346 to corrals at Clay Spring (pass thru 2 ranch gates).

    I arrived at the corrals about 2:30-ish that afternoon to find 3 vehicles, lots of camping gear, but no hikers => . With a positive ID on the official "Grasshopper" Jeep, I scouted out something approximating level ground and set up my base camp. After a beverage and snack I decided to climb up the White Ledges and checkout the local views. From this high vantage I could make out some familiar sights - Aztec Peak, Four Peaks, Cherry Creek basin, the Sierra Anchas and something unfamiliar - the roaring rapids of the Salt River in Jump-Off Canyon and the remnants of Quartzite Falls just beyond => and ... #rapid1887 and ... izona.html . As the shadows began to stretch longer, I could hear voices back at the corral area and decided to trek back to camp. Arriving at camp I recognized some familiar faces - Hank (aka Grasshopper), Randy (aka RWStorm), and someone new - Larry (aka Oregon Hiker). As day light disappeared, my stomach sent out distinctive clues that it was BBQ time => . Steak with corn-on-the-cob and an appropriate Four Peaks Kilt Lifter to cleanse the pallet were on the menu. Camp Grasshopper called it a night at about 10:30pm and I crawled into the back of my Crew Cab serenaded by a couple of owls. 5.06 miles logged Friday on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.

    Saturday 3/23 - Black Mountain Ruins and 4WD trek to Upper Hess Canyon testing Randy's Tacoma and driving skills! Heading back to our Clay Spring camp at the end of FR346 we encountered the "real cowboys". Marlboro Man informed us that we may have some cattle running through our camp having moved 7 cows into our section. After a short break back at the camp (sans cows), Randy guided me down Black Jack Wash to Salt River (Jump-Off Canyon). This was the hi-lite of the weekend! Had an opportunity to see 3 rafts and about 6 kayakers run the rapids above Quartzite Falls... 3.82 miles logged Saturday on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.

    Sunday 2/24 - The Camp Grasshoppers broke camp 9-ish to meet up with Pam (aka Outdoor Lover) and Kelly (aka Trekkin Gecko) ready to explore Hess Canyon... Some cool wildlife encounters that day - long eared owls, head butting big horn sheep, a swarm of bees on the move and horned toads. Must say that the marble finish along Hess Canyon make this an unexpected gem. 11.64 miles logged Sunday on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app pretty much matched my FitBit.

    Excellent time at another Camp Grasshopper! Special thanks to Hank, Randy, Larry, Pam, and Kelly for the good company. I was surprised by the 3-day/2-night weekend mileage at 20.52 miles logged (5.06+3.82+11.64). Photos (363 images to sort through - yikes!) to be posted when I get the chance...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To 4x4 trip
    From the Phoenix Area: Just east of Globe, AZ, at the intersection of Hwy60/Hwy70, take Hwy 60 north for 16.3 miles to exit left (NW) onto FR303-Haystack Butte Road. Take FR303 to FR645 and turn left (west) onto FR645. Take this FR645 Loop Road for a number of miles to the FR645/Blackjack Mtns Area 4WD Road EXIT at waypoint coordinate N33 39.277 W110 41.018; Turn left (north) to begin this 2.9 mile one way "serious, modified 4WD vehicle only" drive to end at Upper Hess Canyon Drainage (please see posted and attached 4WD GPS Route with key WPs for download and following).
    page created by Grasshopper on Mar 27 2013 1:58 pm
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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