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Diablo Mountain, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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AZ > Tucson > Ruby
no permit
34 1 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,767 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,277 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.75 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.59
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
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34  2015-12-11 AZHiker456
author avatar Guides 28
Routes 199
Photos 7,422
Trips 186 map ( 1,748 miles )
Age 41 Female Gender
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:43am - 7:18pm
Official Route
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Tubac Secret Revealed!
by AZHiker456

After living in Tubac for almost three years and growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of "trail" data in my area, I decided that enough was enough. I finally felt experienced enough to get creative and go off the beaten path, literally! Last December, with a small group of friends and hardcore hikers from local clubs, I had done one of the Devil's Cashbox Peaks, Tumacacori Peak, and San Cayetano Peak [none of which have descriptions on HAZ either]. All were classic, Southern Arizona style bushwhacks, filled with almost every variety of cactus and thorny shrub that AZ has to offer, [or so it seemed]; and all were adventures to remember, all ranking among my most challenging bushwhacks.

Like the peaks mentioned above, Diablo Mountain did not disappoint! I would rank it much easier in terms of the bushwhacking aspect – relative to the other three. This is not to say it was a walk through the park; rather, the quantity and number of cacti / thorny shrubs were a lot less, and the footing a bit better. In terms of the views, however, Diablo Mountain takes the prize! The panoramic views are amazing, to say the least.

As for the hike: for those familiar with the area, Diablo Mountain is very near the Hunter's Access Point (or the start of FR 684), which is located off West Frontage Road just North of Exit 40 off I-19. In studying topo maps before my adventure, I noticed a short jeep road that branches off the main FR 684, headed straight toward Diablo Mountain. I was hoping to use it as my access point, and it worked out even better than anticipated. Right at the end of the short jeep road, [which proved to be FR 4140], there was a full-out route; [by this, I mean it was less defined than your typical 'official trail' but much more definite than most game trail type routes]. It didn't last very long [maybe about 1/3 of a mile if I had to estimate], but it was nice to be able to get closer to the base of the mountain before starting the bushwhack.

There were many faint routes throughout the journey, some of which resembled game trails and others that looked more like animals had blazed them. It helped to have some sort of route to follow. After around nine-tenths of a mile, I reached the base of a rock outcropping decided to head to the left [had I gone right and cliffed out, it would've been a big backtrack; but had I cliffed out at the saddle area – which proved to be the case – it was under 5 minutes of backtracking altogether]. The saddle's views were quite lovely, and oddly enough, [not having seen cairns the whole way], there was a giant cairn in the saddle area.

As I turned to backtrack, I noticed a nice route leading around the other side of the rock outcropping, so I hopped on it. After getting around the outcropping, the route continued upward and then headed straight in between a short, shaded gulley with a small tree in the middle of it. I should've remembered to create a waypoint, but if you have any kind of route-finding skills, it should be pretty obvious. :)

After going up the small gulley [which has surprisingly good footing], the hike's finale proved to be both a teaser and a pleasant surprise. From what I could see of Diablo Mountain as I was approaching, I knew that the high point – as seen from the gulley – would prove to be a false summit. The pleasant surprise and thing I was not expecting: upon emerging from the gulley and making it to the first high point, I literally popped out on a sweet ridgeline! At this point, you are pretty much home-free: the path of least resistance is pretty obvious, and the route is relatively well defined from here on out. The teaser is that the ridgeline seems to keep going and going. I always run two GPS apps, [so sometimes I mix the numbers up!], but if I remember correctly / I had to estimate, the ridgeline portion of the hike is about four-tenths of a mile. I am NOT the kind of hiker that counts things like # of switchbacks or false summits, […that kind of thing would drive me nuts!], but even after reaching the ridgeline, there were a good number of false summits before I arrived at the peak. It was a very fun ridgeline to traverse and a definite teaser, to say the least.

Once you've reached the highest peak on the ridgeline, head for what looks to be the highest point on that peak, and you'll find a marker. It says 'United States Army' across the top; and, [in letters almost as big], 'Fort Sam Houston Texas' at the bottom. Right near the marker under a small pile of rocks is the summit register. To say this peak doesn't get a lot of action would be an understatement! Nonetheless, I was still surprised to see other small groups of 2-5 people over the years – not counting the SAHC groups, [since this is a SAHC peak, I knew it would have some names in the log].

I decided to take a chance and go a slightly different route down for the return trip, veering from my track up shortly after descending the short gulley at the southern end of the ridgeline. In addition to noticing a nice route [southeast relative to my track on the ascent], it also looked to be a more direct route back to my vehicle. Being able to view the many beautiful rock outcroppings on the southeastern face of the mountain definitely made the choice better in terms of scenery. Terrain / difficulty-wise, it ended up being about the same, [maybe slightly easier if I had to guess].

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2015-12-11 AZHiker456
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    FLG: I-17 South to I-10 East toward Tucson to I-19 South [then see TUS below]
    PHX: I-10 East toward Tucson to I-19 South [then see TUS below]
    TUS: I-19 South to Exit 40 [for Chavez Siding Road]; go West [right] off the exit, then turn North [right] onto West Frontage Road; within about 1/3 to 1/2 mile on the right, look for an entrance to a dirt road. This is FR 684. I don't remember seeing an FR number at the start of the road, but on the left-hand side of the entrance is a sign that says, "Hunter's Access Point". It's very easy to miss but luckily, less than a mile after the turn, West Frontage road dead ends. If you overshot it, turn back and look for the road. After turning onto FR 684, there will be a few other forest service roads. Just stay on FR 684, which will be obvious. While cars may find it a bit dicey, it should be a walk through the park for any HCV. After about 3-4 miles, there will be a turn [on the right-hand side] for FR 4140. Don't be deceived! The road looks great from what you can see, but it gets very sh*tty, very quickly. I am awesome at driving dirt roads, so I didn't have any trouble in my Forester, but if you're not comfortable driving on poorer dirt roads and/or don't have something with higher clearance, then I recommend parking at the turnoff for FR 4140. There is plenty of space to park at the turnoff for FR 4140, and luckily, it adds only seventh-tenths of a mile one-way.
    page created by AZHiker456 on Dec 11 2015 1:33 pm
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