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Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH, AZ

Guide 18 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,110 feet
Elevation Gain 746 feet
Accumulated Gain 960 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 10.8
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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62  2017-02-14
Peter's Mesa
14  2016-03-11 Travis
68  2016-02-27 Travis
6  2016-02-10 rtaylor3235
11  2016-02-10 hikingaz2
12  2013-01-19
Hoolie Bacon - Peters Trail Loop
9  2013-01-05 hikerdw
42  2012-12-26
Tortilla via Peralta TH
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,083
Trips 4,885 map ( 24,932 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:35am - 7:28pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k
🔥 2011 Tortilla Fire10.5 mi*
🔥 View All over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Brutal Beauty
by joebartels

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This was my introduction to the Tortilla Trailhead. The road coming into the trailhead is FS213. Best consider this a 4x4 route. However, on the HAZ Forum, it was debated to be doable in a pickup. I guess there's no harm in trying. ( as it's going up and you could get back down ) In the past, I snickered at the suggestions of hiking the three miles to the trailhead. The three-mile approach is very scenic. Tortilla Canyon drops down steeply on the west. The road slithers a ridge down into Tortilla Canyon, which is cool in itself. It would probably only take an hour each way as there are no obstacles in hiking a road. Personally, I'd mountain bike the stretch if I couldn't drive-in.

About a half mile before the end of the road, you'll pass Tortilla Ranch. It's just a slab of concrete now. The road ends at ( a fence ) the unsigned trailhead for the JF Trail #106. There's an old sign stating end of motor vehicle road. Just before the end of the road is a fork to the right. At the end of this road is Tortilla Well. Which is the trailhead for Peter's Trail #105. The old windmill has taken a beating from gunfire in the past eight years. Page 234 of the Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness shows the 1993 full bladed version. The mini water tower now has a slight lean too.

The trail is easy to spot. Page 231 in the guide displays the Peter's Trail sign. The photo had me thinking for years this is a nice rolling-hills laid-back hike. Check out my photo of the sign. You might notice there's been a little growth on that catclaw mimosa. This should have been a clue that this wasn't going to be a happy little hike. The trail crisscrosses Tortilla Creek for about 0.65 miles. You might need to keep an eye out for cairns to lead the way. This is a dreamy section of trail. I thought this was cool. Might even be better in the spring with some running water. Canyon walls hug in close along the way. It's like Fish Creek with shallow walls but lots more foliage. At 0.65 miles, Tortilla Creek forks off to the left or southeast. Continue southwest on the obvious trail through one last hoo-ha of the snuggly creek. You could have turned up Tortilla Creek and looped back to the trailhead on the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This may be the best option for a short 3.4-mile loop.

Okay, coming out of the last hoo-ha, you're in a wide-open basin. It's unnamed as far as I could find out, so I'm calling it the Indian Spring Basin. I was thinking, cool, I like basins. Nice easy strolling, taking in the views, not! The trail, although obvious, was beginning to get overgrown. Not so bad usually, except here it's all catclaw. The tallest mountain towering above on your right or west is Tortilla Mountain. Since I live in the valley and travel the western Superstitions more, I consider this the backside of Tortilla Mountain.

The trail crosses the basin then heads up a canyon to a low pass. It's steep but nothing like Camelback or Squaw Peak. Midway up, you'll pass some lush grass in the creek. Kane Spring is in the area, causing the mini oasis. I was surprised to find the ground damp after an extended hot summer. This October, it's been in the upper nineties, about 10-15 degrees above normal all month. Even Charlebois seemed dry a couple of weeks ago, which is considered a reliable spring. A bit further up I took a photo looking back at the trailhead. It's a little over two miles to the low pass. On the other side the trail and surrounding area looks great. Unfortunately, it quickly gets overgrown and painful in sections. The big mountain ahead of you is Music Mountain. You are headed for the stubby knoll south end of Tortilla Mountain.

So from the low pass, you drop about 180 feet. Then come back up about half that to Peter's Pass. This wasn't my original or even second option for this trip. However, I believe this is a good moderate distance for some breaking views. From Peter's Pass you have great views down into Peters Canyon. I'm not familiar enough with the eastern views to name off the landmarks. Horse Camp Basin is in there somewhere.

Peter's Pass is the turnaround point for this trip. Peter's Trail continues 4.4 miles down to the Dutchman Trail, which is very close to Charlebois Spring. Hikers Guide trip 41 on page 226 offers an idea for an 8.2-mile loop with the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This was my second option coming into the day. My first thoughts were for a super loop down to Red Tanks Trail. Neither of which appealed to me much. The area is beautiful but the catclaw is horrid around these parts. Hikers Guide trip 41 talks about shortcutting over to the Hoolie Bacon Trail. On the old topographical maps, Peter's Trail used to go that way. Hikers Guide trip 41 warns of serious catclaw on the shortcut. Then goes on to mention Peter's Trail as a superhighway. If they call Peters a superhighway, I don't want to experience that shortcut, period.

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2001-10-29 joebartels
    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
    Strictly 4x4

    To Tortilla Trailhead
    From the junction of Idaho Road & SR-88, follow SR-88 23.0 miles east to FR-213.

    If you do not have 4x4, you will need to park here and hike 3.4 miles to the trailhead. Otherwise, drive in. The first 0.25-mile section is the most difficult.

    The trailhead is not well defined. If you are hiking out on Peter's Trail #105, steer right(west) at the end to the old windmill and water tower. If you are hiking out on JF Trail #106 or Hoolie Bacon Trail #111, continue straight/right to the fence. JF Trail #106 takes off immediately. Hoolie #111 is 0.8 miles off of #106.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 60.7 mi - about 1 hour 50 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 154 mi - about 3 hours
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 205 mi - about 4 hours
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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