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Pass Benchmark, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,341 feet
Accumulated Gain 843 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5-2 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 7.52
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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20  2016-12-24 AZHiker456
author avatar Guides 28
Routes 199
Photos 7,422
Trips 186 map ( 1,748 miles )
Age 41 Female Gender
Historical Weather
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Preferred Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:44am - 7:11pm
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A Southern Arizona Must-Do
by AZHiker456

As I pushed through patches of catclaw, glanced at the rather mediocre views [relative to what Southern Arizona has to offer], and crept up the less than perfect footing of the Northeastern ridge of the Pass Benchmark (BM), sarcastic subtitles, such as “Passing Time at Best”, “At Least Your Legs Will Get a Workout”, and “Masochist’s Alternative to AZT #3” came to mind. However, the moment I made summit, exceptionally beautiful views opened up to the South and Southwest, and my perception of this adventure instantly changed: instead of a mini-adventure to embark upon to kill time, this is one that you’ll want to incorporate into your itinerary if you are in the area. And, [contrary to any horrible imagines you might have after reading my opening sentence], there’s great news for those who are new to off-trail hiking and/or do not wish to embark upon an adventure that involves a high risk of getting torn apart by catclaw and/or rolling an ankle: the route I discovered on my return trip from the peak was one of the most pleasant and easiest that you’re going to find around the 6,000’ range in this part of Arizona. In fact, with excellent gripping footing, a relatively gradual grade, and almost no brush, the conditions of the terrain are better than many trails. To top all of that off, the ‘route finding factor’ is a non-issue, [to the point where this is one of the few off-trail summit hikes I feel very confident recommending without using a GPS app/device].

Below, I’ve described the most straightforward route [in terms of route finding & ease of terrain]. The Pass BM will be very obvious from the TH: simply look to the SW and the tallest peak insight is your objective. If you follow the route described below, your approach will involve heading West on the Arizona Trail, which will set you up very well to then ascend the peak via its very pleasant Northern ridge. If you’re more seasoned in off-trail peak bagging and would like a more challenging option, then I suggest just heading for the peak from the Trailhead as I did; my full route is posted in my triplog and is just one of many possibilities.

Starting from the Canelo Trailhead, begin by taking the Arizona Trail, AZT #3 [Canelo Hills West Trail], which you’ll take for approximately 1.15 miles. NOTE: I’m emphasizing the word “West” for those who might read this quickly and fail to note this detail: there are two segments of the AZT Trail that take off from the Canelo Trailhead, and the start of each is located just a few feet away from each other. One is AZT #3 aka Canelo Hills West Trail and the other is AZT #2 aka Canelo Hills East Trail. Therefore, you’ll want to remember to head West on AZT #3.

After about 1.15 miles you will reach a saddle area. You’ll know you’ve reached the saddle area because there is a large metal gate with an Arizona Trail sign on it that you must unlatch to continue. Go through the gate, then turn left [Southward], and simply head upward until you reach the peak. NOTE: After turning upward, it may be helpful to follow the barb-wire fence line, which will lead you very near the summit. However, with that being said, I believe the fence line that runs upward from the gate interests with another fence at one point, [so just be sure to keep heading upward and it won’t be long before you reach the top of this awesome little peak]. It’s only about 0.50 miles from the point where you depart from the AZ Trail, [just after crossing through the gate] to the top of the peak.

Check out the Triplog.

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 hike to support this local community.

2016-12-24 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 $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    1. I-10 East [if coming from Tucson or Phoenix] to Exit 281 to AZ 83 South

    2. After 25.5 miles, AZ 83 South intersects with AZ 82 East in the center of Sonoita; you’ll want to continue straight through this intersection to stay on AZ 83 South

    3. From the intersection of AZ 83 & AZ 82 in the center of Sonoita, go another 16.1 miles on AZ 83 South, at which point AZ 83 South will curve to the left, and a dirt road will continue straight ahead / slightly to the right. You’ll want to turn onto this dirt road, which is FR 799.

    4. Go about 2.9 miles down FR 799, and there is a nice trailhead for the Arizona Trail on the right. The turn for the trailhead may look like a driveway / minor dirt road, but there is a sign for the AZT Trail a few hundred before the turn.

    NOTE: Despite the warning sign about the dirt road [FR 799] being a primitive road and unmaintained, it was in superb condition when I was there and a low clearance vehicle will have no trouble getting to the trailhead at the time of this writing.
    page created by AZHiker456 on Dec 24 2016 5:52 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated

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