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Jeffords Peak, AZ

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,621 feet
Elevation Gain 1,073 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,135 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5
Kokopelli Seeds 10.18
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Historic & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2021-01-22 azdesertfather
Author SpiderLegs
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 9
Photos 42
Trips 692 map ( 4,072 miles )
Age 54 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:34am - 7:27pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Tortolita Mountains Highpoint
by SpiderLegs

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Jeffords Peak is the unofficial name for the highpoint of the Tortolita Mountains, named after Tom Jeffords.

Tom Jeffords was a U.S. Army Scout, Indian agent, prospector, and superintendent of overland mail in the Arizona Territory. Tom was best known for his friendship with Cochise and ending the Indian wars in Arizona. Because of this, he was one of the few settlers allowed to travel freely through Indian territory. After several business ventures, he settled in the Tortolita Mountains and died in the area in 1914. Jimmy Stewart portrayed Tom Jeffords in the movie "Broken Arrow."

The approach to the trail is via Edwin Road in Catalina. There is a traffic light at the entrance, but the sign says Eagle Crest Ranch Blvd. Edwin Road is listed on the map, but there is no signage to be found. Best to look for the big sign for Rail X Ranch and head straight down that dirt road. From Oracle Road to the trail parking is 5.4 miles on a very bumpy and rutted road dirt road. I did it just fine in my Subaru Outback. However, I read a few years that the road required 4x4. The tricky part is that a few of the washes that cross the road get filled with deep sand. I did not find this to be an issue on this trip. At the 5.4 mile mark, you will cross a cattle guard, and you park right there.

There is no trail. Getting to the peak requires 95% bushwhacking in easy to walk through upper desert and grasslands. Once you park your car, look to the north for a small stock tank. You will see a wide two-track jeep road on the other side of the stock tank. Go up this two-track for about 4/10 of a mile. Once it curves left towards the mine tailings, look to the right, and you will see a dry wash just below you. Head to the wash. From here, it's a free form bushwhack on whatever route you choose to get to the peak.

On the trip up, I went north and overland to a decent ridgeline and followed the ridge up to the summit. On the return trip, I spied another ridge with potential and followed that back. As soon as that ridge intersected with a wash, I followed this, and boulder hopped my way until I got back to the two-track. Very easy to navigate and only a small handful of short boulder problems. The worst part was a four-foot leap down into some sand. The total time for me was just under two hours.

The peak itself is very underwhelming, and I had to check a few times to see if it was the highpoint. There are several other peaks in the area that appear to be taller until you stand on top of Jeffords. Once on top, there is a stick to mark it. Look over to the side, and buried under the white rocks is the peak registry. From reading the peak registry, about 4-5 parties a year ascend this peak, and they tend to be from the Saddlebrooke Hiking Club or the Southern Arizona Hiking Club.

There is a mine just down the road from where you park the car. It looks like they mine marble and chalk there. Hence the white tailings from the mine.

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2020-11-06 SpiderLegs
    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 $$
    AZ State Recreational Land Permits
    For hiking, driving & sightseeing purposes, you seek the recreational permit.
    Under "Recreational Land Use" in the link above.
    2020 - $15.00 individual
    2020 - $20.00 family limited to two adults and children under the age of 18
    Plus $1 processing fee
    The permitting process quick, you will be emailed your permit instantly.

    Land Parcel Map

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Go to the town of Catalina and Edwin Road is at the border of Pima and Pinal Counties. Look for a lighted intersection for Eagle Crest Ranch Blvd and look towards the west. Edwin Road is the dirt road that heads west from Oracle Road and it is not signed in any way. Instead, look for the large white sign that says Rail X Ranch and proceed.

    The road is very bumpy and rutted with a few well-hidden ruts that are tough to differentiate. Follow this road for 5.4 miles and it took me just under 30 minutes to drive in a Subaru Outback. Earlier trip reports that I found online stated that the road is only passable with high clearance 4x4 and the tough parts are the sandy stream crossings. On this particular trip the sand in the crossings was well packed and I had no issues driving through. Once at the 5.4-mile mark, you should be driving over a white painted cattle guard. Off to your left is a dirt road with a windmill. Go just past the dirt road, turn around, and park in the wide spot in the road. The trail starts on the north side of the road.
    page created by SpiderLegs on Nov 06 2020 4:11 pm
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