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Greenback Peak, AZ

Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4.8 of 5 
no permit
134 6 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,890 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Accumulated Gain 850 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.75
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Ruins & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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20  2021-03-22 Oregon_Hiker
24  2021-03-22
Greenback Peak 6535 from Dupont Cabin
16  2015-05-09 bikeandhike
50  2014-10-04
Greenback Peak Circumference
25  2011-06-21 CannondaleKid
20  2009-11-23 PrestonSands
3  2008-12-21 ssk44
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 169
Routes 148
Photos 5,629
Trips 1,562 map ( 7,982 miles )
Age 44 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:38am - 5:38pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2012 Mistake Peak Fire5.2k

Well worth a fistful of greenbacks
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
In Arizona's rugged Sierra Ancha, Greenback Peak is an ideal destination for those who seek adventure and solitude. Those who reach its 6535-foot summit are greeted with a 360-degree view of the Sierra Ancha. The journey to Greenback Peak involves a four-wheel-drive road, an ATV (all-terrain/off-road vehicle) trail, and an off-trail bushwhack. There is no formal "trailhead" for this hike, so your starting point will depend on your preferences and your vehicle (and how much abuse you are willing to put your vehicle through).

This guide begins where Forest Road 2731/2733 (the previously mentioned ATV trail) departs from Forest Road 236 (four-wheel drive). Those without four-wheel drive will have to hike the four-wheel-drive portion of Forest Road 236, making for a longer hike than is listed in the statistics. Please see the directions for detailed road information.
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A topographical map and a Tonto National Forest map are beneficial on this hike, as none of the roads beyond Greenback Valley were signed as of this writing.

Four and a half miles up Forest Road 236 from Forest Road 71/Greenback Valley Road lies the unsigned junction of Forest Road 236 and Forest Road 2731/2733 (GPS coordinates 33.89692 N, 111.09648 W). Begin hiking southeast up Forest Road 2731/2733 (an ATV trail, in actuality) as it charges through the chaparral brush. The ATV trail skirts a brushy hillside and reaches a broad mesa covered in dense pinion pines and alligator junipers at the half-mile point. Greenback Peak's rocky head comes into view, and the ATV trail rambles across the mesa towards it in a southeasterly direction.

One mile in, the ATV trail breaks into a grassy clearing and crosses through a gate in a barbed-wire fence. A few hundred feet beyond the gate, the ATV trail divides (33.88824 N, 111.08602 W). Go left onto FR 2731 (another unsigned ATV trail). This route avoids the cliffs along Greenback Peak's southern and western edges.

The hike along FR 2731 travels east into the pine forest, rounding Greenback Peak's north ridge. Once around, the ATV trail turns southeast again, along the north slope of Greenback Peak itself. You'll want to leave the ATV trail somewhere in this vicinity and climb the peak's north slope. Climbing about 500 feet through a mix of ponderosa pine and manzanita, the off-trail jaunt to the summit is relatively easy, albeit time-consuming.

Arriving atop Greenback Peak, the forest gives way to brush, cliffs, tilted beds of colorful Troy Quartzite, and something else that is unmistakable and very special. An enormous boulder crowned with a cairn marks the summit and provides an outstanding 360-degree view. Flat bedrock along the cliff edge makes a great spot to sit and enjoy the sweeping view that stretches from the Pinal Mountains to the Mogollon Rim. Walk along the cliff to the south edge of Greenback for a peek into Salome Canyon.

For a longer return hike, there is the option to continue south on FR 2731 and cut across the south slope of Greenback Peak to connect with FR 2733.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-12-14 PrestonSands
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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 $$

Map Drive
Strictly 4x4

To hike
From Payson, head south about 15 miles to the AZ Highway 188 junction and turn left. Follow Highway 188 for about 13.3 miles, then turn left (this is the Punkin Center Business District road; there is a green ADOT sign marking this junction). Follow the Punkin Center Business District road south for about 0.3 miles, then turn left onto Greenback Valley Road (just past the Punkin Center Bar). Follow Greenback Valley Road (forest road 71) for 13 miles to the junction with forest road 236 on the left (just before the Conway Ranch entrance). Turn left onto forest road 236 and reset your odometer.

Mileage guide after turning onto Forest Road 236: At mile 1.5, Forest Road 236A splits to the left, stay right on FR 236. At this point, FR 236 degrades into a high clearance 2 wheel drive road (when dry). At mile 3.2, there is a small parking/turnaround spot on a curve, atop a little ridge just above the 4800-foot contour. This is the end of the line for 2 wheel drive vehicles. Beyond this point, FR 236 is 4 wheel drive, steep, and rocky, with extremely limited turnaround spots or places to pass another vehicle. Good tires are a must, and a short wheelbase vehicle is preferred. At mile 3.9, FR 236 makes 2 very tight switchbacks on loose rock, which require multi-point turns on a mountainside if you are not driving a jeep or other short wheelbase vehicle. At mile 4.5, FR 236 levels out, and an unmarked but obvious ATV trail departs from the right (south) side of the road; this is Forest Road 2731/2733. There is limited parking available at this turnoff (GPS coordinates 33.89692 N, 111.09648 W). One can turn a vehicle around here. Begin hiking southeast on the ATV trail (Forest Road 2731/2733). The hike begins at this point. (see hike description)

Preston's disclaimer: If Tonto Creek is in flood stage, you will not have access to the road up to the trailhead. After periods of wet weather, for crossing info, call the Gila County Sherriff's Office at (928)474-2208.
page created by PrestonSands on Dec 14 2009 12:00 am
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