See it like a hawk
This peak and its surrounding area are located entirely on private property. Numerous parcels of land are owned by a variety of entities. While hiking use is evident, and there are few posted "no tresspassing" signs and no fences or gates, there are some places where individual landowners have made an effort to restrict access. You should always seek permission prior to crossing private property, and should obey all posted signs. Current land ownership and contact information can be found by contacting the Maricopa County Assessors Office (as of this writing, available at http://maps.mcassessor.maricopa.gov/).
This prominent peak is visible from I-17 when passing through New River. Gaining this peak requires very steep off-trail scrambling featuring loose scree, ample cholla cactus and some short class-3 climbs (with class-4 possible depending on route taken).
According to Will C. Barnes, Arizona Place Names, Gavilan Peak was named in the 1880s after a skirmish between the US Cavalry and Tonto Apaches who had a stronghold on the peak. A homestead was established at the base of the mountain by Charles Mullen, Sr. and the Indians became aggressive in hopes of defending their claim on the water in nearby New River. The Cavalry ended up defeating the Indians after cornering them in a canyon on the peak. It's name was established at about this time and means "hawk" in Apache, or "sparrow hawk" in Spanish.
Access to the peak can be attained from virtually any direction, though some are more arduous than others. The most popular route climbs the west ridge, though climbing the southeast slope is also possible. The best routes involve climbing because the solid rock offers firmer footing than the loose rock and scree in the drainages, and there are fewer cholla on the rock faces. Most areas of climbing feature easy, non-technical routes, but there are areas of exposure that could result in serious injury or worse in the event of a fall. Only hikers comfortable with off-trail scrambling on exposed peaks should attempt this.
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.
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.