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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Buck Peak, AZ

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Distance One Way 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 976 feet
Elevation Gain 1,650 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,650 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 10.5
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
32  2020-12-26 Jim_H
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 59
Routes 55
Photos 8,265
Trips 1,786 map ( 10,711 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Marana, AZ
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar
Sun  7:37am - 5:54pm
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Buck Those More Prominent Summits
by Jim_H

Likely In-Season!
Buck Peak is a rugged hike and scramble in the scenic desert near the Mexican Border. Located in the Cabeza Prieta Mountains' northern section, this peak is visible from a reasonable distance and offers numerous nearby peak views. It does have a small remote radio repeater just off of the true summit. A small peak register placed in 1985 is still present on the summit as of this writing and has an entry every few years. Prior to my entry in December 2020, the last recorded entry was in early 2016.


Bring plenty of water, your Barry Goldwater Range Permit, and enjoy. You likely will see no one once hiking. Most of the human tracks I saw were reported to be from Border Patrol.

The standard approach is via the NWR Road 708, which is closed south of the refuge's northern boundary. Access is just south-southwest of the F-12 post. Road 708 runs in the valley between the north section and the main body of the Cabeza Prieta Mountains, including Cabeza Peak at 2830', and Cabeza Head.

Take 708 more or less southwest. At the only fork of consequence, the one with the old missile, take a right and continue. The road enters a sandy wash, and you can either subject yourself to this or hike the solid ground to the south, paralleling the wash. This is generally easy cross desert hiking.

Because Buck Peak has a tower on it, it is easy to spot from below. Once you can see the saddle at the top of the canyon on the west side of Buck, make for the canyon and enter it, proceeding up to the saddle. There are many Elephant Trees and other pleasant desert vegetation early on, and travel is relatively easy. As you approach the saddle, the boulders become smaller rough rocks, the slope quality decreases, and everyone's favorite plant begins to dominate: jumping cholla. Lots of that here!

If you made it to the saddle, the miserable part is done. Proceed up to the summit by a scramble up the class 2 to 3 ridge. The difficulty here is dependent on your taste for the most part. Being hot and sunny, there is more jumping cholla, but it isn't as dense as below. On top, locate the summit register near the benchmark and enjoy the views. A lot of local peaks to pick out!

If time allows, there is a wildlife tank to the north you may want to check out and some awe-inspiring granite cliffs higher above it. Several mine shafts are on the way but "closed" per FWS signs. I found the shaft too low to have any desire to enter. BP or other tracks went in a distance, but I don't like hunched over walking.

If you skip the mine, tank, and cliffs to the north, returning to your vehicle is easiest the way you came. If you descend the north slope, you must hike around the range. It is possible. Just know there is a lot of loose round rock at times.

Alternate access using the road coming in from the north appears to be another viable option. Here you will arrive from the F-10 and F-10C markers on the Barry Goldwater Range. Per HAZ Topo maps, roads on the refuge are listed as restricted once south of the range and closed to the public, most likely at the refuge boundary similar to Rd 708. Because I found descending the north slope to the mine to be in the shade and having fewer cholla than the south slope, this is probably a better option for many. However, the access roads are not tested by me.

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2020-12-27 Jim_H

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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.


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    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 20 2020 3:10 pm
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