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Tortolita Mountains Highpoint
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.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.