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Peak 2681' - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness, AZ

no permit
0 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Buckeye W
4 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,473 feet
Elevation Gain 1,208 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,496 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.28
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
17  2019-02-18
Peak 2681' - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
2  2019-02-18
Peak 2681' - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
Author Barrett
author avatar Guides 14
Routes 9
Photos 1,311
Trips 283 map ( 1,483 miles )
Age 55 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Apr, Oct, Dec → Early
Seasons   Winter to Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:40pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Labyrinth Optional
by Barrett

Created in 1990, the 100,600 acre Eagletail Mountains Wilderness is only about an hour west of Phoenix, but offers both solitude and adventure to those inclined. Courthouse Rock and Eagletail Peak get most of the attention, but some of the coolest terrain can be found on a bag of Peak 2681'.

From the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness Trailhead 2681' and it's approach is pretty straightforward if you want to go up the easy way. Make a beeline for the saddle between you and the summit, which is the rounded prominence on the left. Reviewing the photosets from my trip should be helpful in familiarizing yourself with the route, in addition to GPS info.

You'll cross a few small washes, and upon reaching the saddle, you'll have some nice views of the wild geology that makes up the eastern half of this complex.

From there the next goal is another saddle, this one just to the left of the summit. This part is fairly steep and off camber, but only lasts a few hundred yards before you level out and the rock becomes cleaner. Just keep heading up and soon you'll be among a number of "high points", one of which will have a cairn with a summit register containing only 4 names. The views of Eagletail Peak are postcard perfect, and you'll get your first real view of "The Labyrinth", the wild hidden canyon to the north that cuts between the two halves of 2681'.

From here you can head down the way you came, or dial up the intensity a few notches and head down into the labyrinth. The first stretch is just moderately steep and loose, followed by the arrival of various drainages that for me ended in pour offs and dead ends. The cleaned up GPS route can guide you through this, but it gets both really steep and at times really brushy. Thorns are not too bad - but long pants, sleeves, gloves, hat, and eye protection really come in handy in plowing through the dense growth. This is definitely not a route for those new to off trail hiking. Soon it will begin to level out, and you'll reach the main drainage. This varies between brushy and boulders large enough to go under, making for some really enjoyable travel. Enjoy the views on your right of the massive walls of aphyric rhyolite breccia - I couldn't get "In the Court of the Crimson King" out of my head. Really majestic stuff.

Upon exiting the drainage, head clockwise and follow the level ground all the way around the peak back to the trailhead.

You could also choose to ascend via the canyon, or maybe throw in a visit to the amazing arches on the eastern side while you're at it. It's not very big mountain, but it's geology and wild hidden canyon make it every bit as cool as it's more famous neighbors.

This is a completely off trail hike over a peak that sees very little traffic. The north canyon, in particular, is quite rugged and isolated and should not be attempted if there is any chance of rain.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2019-03-25 Barrett
    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 Review
    Peak 2681' - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Peak 2681' - Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
    13 years ago I hiked around this peak to check out the arches, and something about it's summit stuck with me and I knew I would be back.
    I left the Ben Avery trailhead just after a crisp golden dawn, heading straight towards the saddle southeast of the summit. The going was smooth and open, but after the saddle got pretty steep, loose, and bushy. I headed west and ascended the summit in a clockwise motion, where the terrain eased up I was rewarded with great views of the Eagletails and comfortable terrain to chill.
    For the return I chose to explore the huge drainage that characterizes the north side of the 2681' formation. It started pretty decent but I soon found myself being cliffed out at one pour-off after another on really steep ground. I would find a good downclimb, but each time the path ahead still looked unknown. The brush at times was ridiculous - doing this route without long pants, sleeves and gloves would be insane.
    Finally it leveled out and I knew I was in the clear. I exited the canyon and circled to the east around and back to my truck, loving the easy, rolling desert under my feet.
    My plan was to do a Description for this peak, and when (or if) I can get my old Garmin to work with Windows 10, I get right on it.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Directions to the Eagletail Mountains Wilderness Trailhead.
    From Phoenix, head west on I-10 to the Salome Rd exit 81. Turn left and head south across I-10 and immediately turn right on Harquahala Rd, which will then turn sharply left and south. Follow this 11.5 miles to Baseline, where you will turn right and head west 3 miles, where Baseline will jog left slightly and continue another .9 miles to 547th Ave. Turn left and head south 1.3 miles until you see a cattle pen on your right and a gate. Pass through the gate, leaving it in whichever position you found it, and proceed another 1.1 miles of generally westward travel until a side road appears on your right. Turn north and follow it as it veers west again and arrives at the trailhead 2.1 miles later. There are the remnants of signage, but otherwise no facilities.
    page created by Barrett on Mar 25 2019 6:01 pm
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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