Tortilla Benchmark, AZ | HikeArizona
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  This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Tortilla Benchmark, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
34 1 0
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,415 feet
Elevation Gain 849 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,058 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.19
 Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
 Backpack Possible - Not Popular
 Dogs not allowed
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34  2022-12-27 Mike_W
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 59
Photos 2,320
Trips 202 map ( 1,137 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:17am - 6:00pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Can I have some salsa with that?
by Mike_W

  Likely In-Season!
The Tortilla Benchmark, not to be confused with the Tortolitas Benchmark, is one of the high points on the northern side of the Tortolita Mountains. There is no official trail, but there are many good cattle trails, making it an easy bushwhack, most of the way.

This high point is quite far from the more popular Wild Burro trailhead, and is accessed from a different side of the range. You'll need a 4x4 vehicle and high clearance for much of the dirt road. From Missile Base Road, it's roughly 7 miles of paved road and just over 10 miles of dirt / 4x4 road.

From the parking area mentioned below, you will be hiking south to get to the peak. Within the first few minutes of hiking, you should see a cattle tank and corral area. When I passed by this area, I saw a few cattle hanging out in the shade. Continue south and use the cattle trails to get higher in elevation. When I reached the first saddle, there were some cattle. They seemed surprised to see me. One turned quickly and looked right at me and then waited about 10 seconds. Then, the group of cattle started descending the back side.

I continued following cattle trails and made it to a second high point. From there, I could see the ridge and the peak to the right of the ridge. I followed the ridge, noticing that cattle often roamed this area. Then, I hiked the last 200 feet of elevation to get to the top. The bushwhack at the very end was thicker than the rest, I suppose because the cows probably don't go to the very top of this peak.

The top of the peak is quite rocky and not ideal for cows. At the peak, you will see a registry covered with a pile of rocks, which is closer to the southern end of the high point. You can return the same way you came or you can descend the ridge on the back side, turn left, hike east, head toward the wash, cross it, and continue to summit the nearby Falcon Benchmark.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2022-12-27 Mike_W
    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 $$

    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    from PHX: take I-10 to Red Rock (exit 226). Once off the exit, make your first left and then make another left to go under the highway. Turn right on Camino Adelante and continue for 4.5 miles. Turn left on E Missile Base road, then follow the directions below.

    from TUC: take I-10 to Marana road (exit 236). Once off the exit, make a right, left a quick left on the I-10 Frontage road, which may also be called Camino Adelante or the N Case Grande Highway. Continue for 5 miles. Then, turn right on E Missile Base road, then follow the directions below.

    Continue from here:

    Once on E Missile Base road, reset your odometer and let it run. Use the following approximate mileages.

    At 2.0 miles, turn left on S. Estancia Dr.
    At 3.2 miles, turn right on S. Davis Ranch Rd.
    At 5.2 miles, turn left on Cattle Tank Rd.
    At 6.8 miles, turn right on Hedgehog Trail (all paved up until this point; then it becomes dirt)
    At 11.1 miles, make your next right on S Owl Head Ranch road. You cannot continue on Hedgehog Trail at this point because of private property.
    NOTE: there is no sign for Hedgehog Trail at this junction. So, on your way back you will need to remember to turn here.
    At 11.4 miles, turn left on E. Crested Saguaro Place
    At 12.2 miles, make a slight left on Gas Line road which is unmarked but you will see a few "high-pressure gas line" signs along the way
    At 13.3 miles, you should reach a 4-way junction. Make a right here and follow Powerline road which may also be referred to as Hedgehog Trail. This section especially will require high clearance and 4-wheel drive.
    At 17.2 miles, you will approach a gate on your left. Take a right here and park somewhere off the road.
    This is a good place to start hiking.

    If you can get from I-10 to the trailhead in about 1 hour, you're doing pretty good!
    page created by Mike_W on Dec 27 2022 11:15 pm

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