The Real Spook!
Spook Hill is the prominent geographic feature in the center of the private Las Sendas community and golf course in northeast Mesa (just east of Power and Thomas). The small peak just northwest of Brown and Ellsworth is not Spook Hill, despite the insistence of the evil Google and the countless online sites that use Google as their source for information. That hill does not have an official name, but is found on HAZ here.
History of the Name
Long before modern development, there was a ranch nestled into the northern slopes of this mountain in the 1920s and 30s. The ranch was owned by Tom Mix, the most famous silent-film western actor of the day. Many sources credit Tom Nix with naming the mountain Spook Hill. Other sources refer to a guest ranch adjacent to the mountain but do not specifically mention Tom Mix. Either way, the mountain supposedly had a way of spooking horses and cattle from the ranch, who would not go near the hill. Some historical speculation indicates that the hill was home to a large population of rattlesnakes which caused the cattle to be spooked, but I can't find anything to confirm that. Interestingly, Tom Mix was killed in 1940 when he drove his car into a wash near Florence. The wash now bears his name, and a monument to him stands on the site.
In early 1995, the mayor of Mesa, Willie Wong, began a campaign to change the name of Spook Hill because spook could have racial connotations. This was happening at the same time that there was a campaign to change the name of the various "Squaw"-titled landmarks across the state. Despite the mayor's endorsement, the name was not changed, and today the mountain remains officially named Spook Hill. It should be noted that despite the official name, the Las Sendas Community which owns the land and has developed the surrounding property calls it Spirit Hill (or Spirit Mountain).
There is no trail to the summit, though a reasonably well-used route can be followed. It should be noted that hiking here is open only to residents and guests of the Las Sendas Community. Depending on where you live and begin your hike, accessing the mountain may require crossing the golf course, which is private property and requires permission. If you don't live in Las Sendas, this is not the hike for you!
The route begins at the base of the bell-tower just east of the par-3 7th tee on the golf course. Accessing this spot while golfers are present is prohibited. (Possible access points include Harriet Tubman Park on the corner of Eagle Crest and Saddleback, or from Saddleback near the cart path leading from hole 7 to 8.)
From the bell tower, head uphill toward the metal mast. You should find a use trail along the way to follow, but if not, you will find it adjacent to the mast. Follow the route up to the peak. Some of the route is steep and loose. It is not a developed trail and should only be attempted by those comfortable with off-trail desert hiking.
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.