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Cabeza BM - High Point, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 13 miles
Trailhead Elevation 972 feet
Elevation Gain 1,860 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,900 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 22.5
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
7  2022-02-12 GrangerGuy
30  2019-12-20 Jim_H
author avatar Guides 63
Routes 67
Photos 8,837
Trips 1,989 map ( 12,043 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Marana, AZ
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Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:59am - 7:20pm
Official Route
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Not the Head
by Jim_H

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Most who know of the Cabeza Mountains know of Cabeza Head, the black-capped mountain further south which is sometimes visible from El Camino Del Diablo. Cabeza Head is not the high point of the range, however. Cabeza Benchmark at 2,830' is!

Isolation and quiet are almost guaranteed here. Unlike other busy parts of the Barry Goldwater and Cabeza Prieta, you're away from most activity as this part of the refuge and range is accessed by a spur road, not the main cross refuge road of El Camino Del Diablo. You may see no one at all, or mostly see Border Patrol Activity. Military training on the ground most likely won't get into this area, either. There is potential for illegal border crossing activity.

Most of the hike is cross desert travel. Begin by hiking south from the road closed signs on a 2-track jeep road. This will last for a couple of miles and it goes fast. At the one major fork, which may be marked with a missile fragment, take the left fork. As you approach the mouth of a broad canyon with a sandy wash in it, leave the road and hike towards the canyon entrance, crossing the open desert, and attempt to enter the main sandy wash. On your left will be a long continuous ridge that trends NW to SE. On the right, some low desert hills transition to another long ridge, parallel to the east side ridge.

The next section will last for several miles. Primarily, you will walk the wash bottom, but at times it may be helpful to leave the wash and cross low ridges and benches. Study the terrain on the south side of the canyon. A steep rock face will begin to have some deep canyons in it. The next step is to enter the correct canyon to begin your scramble up to the summit.

After 3 to 4 miles of canyon bottom, ahead you may notice the normally wide canyon narrows together at a point perhaps 500 feet wide. Roughly 1/2 mile before this, a canyon appears on the right and is visible due south of the wash or canyon bottom. Head towards this south trending canyon and notice that from the mouth of this side canyon there is a second deeper canyon that leaves from the same canyon mouth and runs to the southwest. I called this the bifurcate canyon, as it appears to be on the topographic map I used.

The second southwest trending canyon is noticeably deeper than the south trending one. Scramble up the deep southwest trending canyon as it begins to curve towards the south. It will steepen and narrow forcing you to a small saddle. From the saddle, you can look south and may be able to see the Sea of Cortez, and another range high point, Tinajas Altas High Point. At this point turn east (left) and scramble up the class 2 rock to the summit. Enjoy the view and descend the way you came.

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2019-12-21 Jim_H
    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.

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From the Tacna Exit or Ave 40 E Exit on Interstate 8 east of Yuma, AZ, head south on the paved road to the Barry Goldwater Range. The pavement ends and you cross onto the range. Continue south on the road through the, "F series", roads, where every road junction is marked with a wood post which has an engraved "F" on it, beginning at the start of the range, and an additional number indicating the junction number from the entrance. Continue south through various ranges and training areas on the east side of the Copper Mountains, all the way to F11, where you will cross the Mohawk Drag. Proceed South to Southeast here to the marker for F12. From F12, take the right fork to continue Southwest to the refuge boundary. The last section of jeep road will take you to the trailhead. Prior to crossing onto the Wildlife Refuge, several small white signs indicate the road closure and boundary. Park here. Deep sand requiring AWD or 4WD and some clearance is the major issue to these otherwise great desert roads.
    page created by Jim_H on Dec 21 2019 7:36 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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