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Quien Sabe Peak, AZ

no permit
139 11 1
Guide 11 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.4 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 5.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,361 feet
Elevation Gain 1,497 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,069 feet
Avg Time One Way 3-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.59
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2019-02-10
Quien sabe peak loop
24  2018-11-28 DixieFlyer
4  2017-01-13 kingsnake
9  2017-01-08 friendofThunderg
38  2016-11-27 JasonCleghorn
17  2015-12-06 friendofThunderg
7  2013-12-07
Quien Sabe Peak Loop
26  2013-12-07
Quien Sabe Peak Loop
Page 1,  2
Author friendofThundergod
author avatar Guides 18
Routes 278
Photos 7,651
Trips 711 map ( 8,339 miles )
Age 37 Male Gender
Location AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Sun  6:11am - 6:33pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
who knows
by friendofThundergod

This is a modest but nice little rewarding peak that can be reached via the Cave Creek/Seven Springs trailhead. A little extra effort is required to reach this peak with approximately 1.5 miles of off-trail each way. Most will find the first half mile of off trail the toughest, as one makes the initial off trail climb up a distinct ridgeline that runs down to Quien Sabe Trail. The climb is not overly bad, as there is a relatively distinct game trail the entire length of the ridgeline. However, the footing will never be overly stable with several ankle breakers to contend with and terrain similar to that of Skull Mesa with pin cushion cacti and agave lurking in the tall grass. However, after the quick climb up the thin ridgeline the off-trail route becomes very manageable and fast going. There is nearly a mile long stretch of flat grassy ground with several game trails to ease travel. The peak sits at the end of this long mesa-like stretch and only requires an easy climb up a modest slope.

There are several other options for reaching the summit. One can summit via the Cottonwood Trail, utilizing the Bronco trailhead, or exit Skunk Tank Trail much earlier than its intersection with Quien Sabe and utilize the Quien Sabe Creek drainage. I exited the summit via the aforementioned Quien Sabe Creek and would not recommend that as an ascent route. It is very steep near the top and one will not have the advantages of being able to see the game trails more clearly, as they do when coming down this side. The posted official route is less direct, however, far more straightforward and much easier.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2015-12-06 friendofThundergod

    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Quien Sabe Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    At 8:30 a.m., it was a breezy 46° at the Cave Creek Trailhead in Seven Springs. I got a later start because the hike was closer to home, and I wanted to start after sunrise. It rained for 10 minutes at the start, but it remained cloudy and breezy all day.

    I wanted to check out Quien Sabe mine, but since I knew it would be an arduous day, I skipped it.

    After about 4.5 miles, where Trail #250 crosses a small wash, I began off trailing up the Quien Sabe ridge. Generally speaking, the left (northeast) side of the ridge is steeper than the right (southwest) slope, so I tended right.

    From the wash to the summit cairn, I negotiated tons of prickly pear cactus, agave, century plant, other grab & stabs, ball bearing and ankle breaker rocks. Many of the rocks are pitted, as if ejected molten, with air bubbles that popped as the rock hardened. I wonder where the volcano is?

    In addition to the previously mentioned flora, the plateau is dotted with juniper. There is plenty of deer sign, and even several sets of people tracks. (Easy to spot as there is enough soil on the plateau to retain water for quite some time after the last rain.)

    There is large cluster of boulders at the summit of Quien Sabe Peak, which is about 4900 ft. (There is no X on the topo, indicating an accurate survey.) But just beyond the summit, across a small saddle, at what appears to be a very similar elevation, is a summit cairn at which the which the elevation is supposedly 4884 ft.

    Try as I might, without totally disassembling the cairn, I was unable to detect a summit log. (Unless you count “D. Peterson 11-94” scratched on a boulder.) Bummer, I was hoping to spot climbing legend Bob Packard in there. Luckily, I come equipped for such occasions, with a fresh flip notepad, pen and two quart baggies (for weather proofing).

    The views from the summit are fantastic. Despite still being 100% overcast, I could I identify Skull Mesa (easy enough since it is “next door”), Elephant Mountain, the city of Cave Creek, Cave Creek Rd., Black Mountain, Cottonwood Creek, Four Peaks and even Cartwright Ranch (only two miles away, as the crow flies, but five hiking miles).

    After signing the summit log, I sat down for a lunch of gorp, salt & vinegar chips — my fav! — and turkey breast sandwich, of which I ate about 2/3s. The wind was picking up, and it was getting cold enough to make my hands stiff, so at 1:30 P.M., I started back. (Despite wearing a jacket, the boogers flowed freely throughout the day.)

    Whereas it took me 3h 15m hiking time to summit, it took me only 3h 00m total time to get back to the trailhead, including one break where I was so tired I simply fisted the trashed remains of my sandwich into my face, caveman fashion. (Then licked the crumbs from the container.)

    I got back to the trailhead at 5:00 p.m., which was good timing as not only was my always patient wife starting to worry, but we had a perfect view of a great sunset heading downhill, back into Carefree.

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    Saw one flower all day. One.
    Quien Sabe Peak
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    W O W...

    This is an incredible Arizona day hike. I'd been dreaming about this peak for over a year. So today with in-laws getting on my nerves, other people getting on my nerves, I was looking for something to keep me out of the house much longer than normal. So I dialed this one up...

    I parked at the Cave Creek TH at the Seven Springs Campground. Since it was about 5:45 when I got there and pitch dark (and also 40 degrees), I couldn't see well enough to know that I could have parked several other places back down the road, shortening my hike. Oh well. Extra miles and a few AEG.

    I did the standard approach. I had originally planned to just assault the Quien Sabe Peak Ridgeline from the 246 trail up what was designated as a wash on the topo, but that looked pretty daunting. Then I changed plans to continue to go Skunk Creek Trail and intersect with the Quien Sabe Trail on the backside of the ridge. Alas, I got impatient and left that plan at a place that looked doable. I made it up to the little prairie and then to the final push to what becomes the ridgeline. After ~30 minutes, I had made the final traverse of the ridgeline and I could see what was going to be the summit.

    The summit block is a little anti-climactic but I was very glad to have gained it. It must have been in the mid 30s at the summit and there were so many clouds, I actually was hoping to see a random flake but alas, no.

    Then I made a fateful (for my legs) decision. Go back the way I came, which was a known route, not really that steep but would take me ALL THE WAY back down the ridge, OR descend off the summit block down what was the actual wash that leads to Quien Sabe Spring.

    Let's see the spring he said. It will be fun he said.

    It wasn't.

    I was literally crashing and surfing down the thickest catclaw that I have ever seen. My legs don't even look like legs anymore they are so scratched, gouged, and bloody!

    Finally, I got down near the spring proper.

    It was a :pk: rusty pipe. Not even a spring or any water etc. S O A B.

    But, at least I was close to where I had originally hiked and back on the 246 trail.

    After that, it was pretty much all downhill from there and I was down near the Cartwright Ranch in no time. If that was a real ranch, I'd like to work there as a ranch hand. That little valley there is beautiful.

    So, all in all a GREAT hike. This was a top 5 outdoor experience for me in Arizona. For sure.
    Quien Sabe Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    We wanted a moderate hike relatively close to town. We set our sights on Cave Creek. I remember FOTG posting a hike to Quien Sabe Peak and thought it looked fun. The drive to the TH took about an hour and we were off.

    We decided on a CCW loop with Quien Sabe Peak. The first few miles flew by as we hiked along Cave Creek. This is a really nice stretch of trail. From there we made the climb up Skunk Tank Trail and saw some wildflowers blooming. There were several patches along this stretch.

    From there we connected on Quien Sabe Trail and then headed off trail for the peak following FOTG's route. The going was slow as we fought dense vegetation with a mixture of sharp cacti. Our pace was really slow through here. Along the way we found a ruin marked with a cairn. It's a pile of rocks in the shape of single building. I found a few pot shards. FOTG would like this but not many others. :) We continued on and hit the peak where we took a break and looked over the route. I had Joe's route in which they drop off the west side of the peak. This would significantly shorten the off trail portion. We decided to give this route a go and were glad we did. There's a variety of game trails and the vegetation is light. We were back on trail within 30 minutes.

    Once back on trail we flew back to the trailhead completing the loop. This hike took more effort than we anticipated. I'm really glad we got it done. Take the western route you'll save some time and effort.

    Patches of wildflowers blooming at the higher elevations of the Skunk Tank Trail
    Quien Sabe Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Quien Sabe Peak Loop
    Been wanting to hit up the eastern portion of this area. Original plan was to start at the Bronco TH, but that upped the miles and at the time I really wanted to get home to see ASU play themselves into the Rose Bowl.

    A balmy 19 degrees at the 6:30am start, 8:00 we finally hit 30 degrees, 40 degrees at 8:45, hit the low 50's in Cottonwood Creek for 40 minutes at 1pm, and then just hung mid 40's for the remainder. It really was not too bad when the wind laid down.

    Highlights for me on this hike were
    - Checking out the overgrown but still wet Quien Sabe Spring.
    - The climb up and the views from atop Quien Sabe Peak.
    - Skull Mesa & Cottonwood Trails between Quien Sabe intersection and where the Cottonwood Trail - Turns north.
    - Checking out Bluebird Spring - Some pooling in the area
    - Exploration of the now decommissioned Ashdale Ranger station (See Photos)

    Todays Lesson
    Quien Sabe (kee-en' sah'-be),
    Translation = I do not know; lit., who knows? ... nunciation

    Seven Springs Campgrounds and Ashdale Ranger station were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in 1933-34.

    Ashdale Ranger Station Photo from back in the Day :next:

    Accomplishments of the CCC in the US over the life of the program:
    * Planted 1,255,000,000 tree seedlings over 1,255,000 acres of land
    * Fought tree diseases on over 16,722,000 acres
    * Installed 64,374 miles of telephone lines to assist in forest fire protection
    * Constructed more than 3,400 fire lookout and observation towers
    * Constructed 3,982,000 check dams for nation-wide erosion control program
    * Constructed 41,000 bridges and 44,475 buildings of various types
    Quien Sabe Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Quien Sabe Peak Loop
    6:33 am MST - 19 degrees in diminishing darkness to start. The high temp for the hike reached a balmy 53 yet stayed in the 42 degree range most. This was the first hike I have worn long johns an entire hike. The third shirt and balaclava were off/on over & over all day based on sun, ascending, descending, breeze, altitude and attitude.

    7:39 am MST - Bruce decides to go on what he described as "a short spring hunt". I'm not into the side trips as much at 27.5 degrees fahrenheit so I took a break. Nearly thirty minutes passed. Which left me wondering... did he fall into the water, did he slip, ???, more importantly how am I getting home. The cold didn't destroy me much being bundled up so it all worked out.

    The highlight of the hike was 9:30am off-trail to Quien Sabe ( Google and Webster pronounce different ) Peak. The light near to far was outstanding and photos were a poppin'. The peak was nice too but the front moved in and took a bit of the glory out of it.

    From the peak we headed down and finished off Quien Sabe #250 then headed over on Skull Mesa Trail #248. We lunched on #248 in a nice breeze-less valley at 4k in some white chalk or limestone similar to what is found near Brown's Cave.

    Next up was Cottonwood Creek #247, very nice. It had more life with unburned areas. Red hues in the soil gave it more characteristic too. Counted 8 signs at the #248/#247 junction.

    Overall a good hike. Better weather conditions would have been more enjoyable. Take what you get!

    These hikes are really an underlying quiz & bicker to near throat choking battles. Basically a review of the week's news to whatever. Unfortunately my poor memory does not serve well in these shenanigans. However even the worst participant ( yours truly ) scores a win or consolation prize on occasion.

    [+1] Charles Lindbergh's Historic Flight - I correctly mentioned 1927, Bruce argued 1937 to later WWII.
    [+0.25] After talking about last weeks hike for the FOURTH time I finally remembered the location of the hike.
    [+-0] Who starred in "Earnest Goes to Camp" ( me - Jim P or B ) ( Bruce - Jim Williams )

    On the return I was curious about checking out the old ( I'm guessing original ) Seven Springs CG. I thought it was an old trailhead but found out it was a camp ground. Complete with what appeared to be 220v( Bruce found ) & NG hook ups. Adjacent and likely the original historic element is the Ashdale Ranger Station built in 1934 with local materials. Not sure if it's the same structure but sure appears hearty and built to last. Currently not used. Just massive amounts of fencing materials in the back under video surveillance from what I read.

    Completing the spur exploration loop we came upon...
    Lat 33° 57' 44.3" N, Lon 111° 52' 34.2" W. Located in S07 T7N R5E
    The gage was installed on February 25, 2009

    Sent from no frills Text Editor

    A couple cottonwoods in the final stages. Not much to see as most of the loop is burned from the 2005 Cave Creek Complex fire ( the third largest wildfire in the state of Arizona to date ).

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    Map Drive

    To Cave Creek Seven Springs Trailhead
    Cave Creek TH in the Seven Springs Campground area.

    From the intersection of Tom Darlington Rd and Cave Creek Rd, travel East on Cave Creek Rd. At 2.2 miles you pass Pima Rd. Continue on Cave Creek Rd and at 6.3 miles you reach Bartlett Dam Rd. Follow sign to Seven Springs Rd. At 9.1 miles you pass the Sears Kay Ruins. The pavement ends at 10.8 miles. You pass the Bronco TH at 13.8 miles and the road is now marked Forest Road 24. At 17.6 miles you pass a private ranch. At 17.9 miles you pass the Seven Springs Campground and the Cave Creek TH is on your left at 18.5 miles.

    2012-03-07 Nahimana222 writes: From the signs I saw at the trailhead, you need a Tonto Pass to park.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 51.5 mi - about 1 hour 36 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 153 mi - about 2 hours 57 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 127 mi - about 2 hours 38 mins
    page created by friendofThundergod on Dec 06 2015 3:51 pm
    2+ mi range whistle
    blow it hard
    help comment issue

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