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Four Peaks - AZT #20, AZ

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Guide 59 Triplogs  4 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson S
3.9 of 5 by 12
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 19.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,240 feet
Elevation Gain 3,740 feet
Accumulated Gain 7,000 feet
Avg Time One Way 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 42.68
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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5  2019-06-13 mazatzal
35  2019-02-13 mazatzal
14  2017-11-08
AZT: Sunflower to Roosevelt
11  2017-04-07 pjhikes
34  2017-03-04
AZT Spring Break 2017
20  2016-12-08
AZT #20 Pigeon Spring to Bear Saddle
16  2016-10-01 WanderingWildcat
8  2016-10-01 sandyfortner
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
10 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
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Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Fall in love with Arizona
by HAZ_Hikebot

Overview: This passage begins on the north side of the Roosevelt Lake Bridge at the Vineyard Trailhead on Highway 188. The trail climbs immediately along Inspiration Point, passes the radio towers and then passes north of Vineyard Mountain. It climbs up to the Mills Ridge Trailhead and from here a trail (#130) continues up and reaches the Four Peaks Wilderness boundary. The trail drops into Buckhorn Creek and then goes up again, passing Hackberry Creek and finally reaching Granite Spring. From here a new section of #130 heads north and then west, skirting around Buckhorn Peak. Heading north again the trail intersects with the Alder Creek Trail (#82) and then the Oak Flat Trail (#123) where it turns left and soon reaches Shake Spring. From here the trail works its way north and west to Pigeon Spring, climbs southwest on an old roadbed, and finally comes to the Pigeon Spring Trailhead on FR 648.

Southern Trailhead: Vineyard Trailhead - Hwy 88

Northern Trailhead: Pigeon Spring/Lone Pine Saddle - FR 648

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a difficult hike. It would be insane to attempt this entire hike without prior experience hiking.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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.

    Most recent of 13 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    AZT: Sunflower to Roosevelt
    I joined my friend Andrew on a stretch of the AZT for a few days. I had originally planned to join him from Sunflower to Superior, but ended up calling it quits on day 3 just after Roosevelt because I was feeling sick.

    We left PHX Tuesday night and got dropped off on the closed road to Bushnell Tanks by my cousin. We walked backed about 200 yards, plopped down our stuff, and made camp on the side of the road.

    Day 1
    We woke up around 6:30, quickly packed our things and hit the trail by 6:45. After following the road for a little while, we dipped into the wash and followed it until we joined up with the Arizona Trail. The climb up Boulder Canyon seemed very nice in contrast to the climb up the other side on Passage 20. Ample shade in the morning, possible flowing water if hit at the right time, and easier climbing. The trail is starting to bite back a little in this area and could use a little clipping here and there.

    After the climb, we strolled along the road towards Pidgeon Springs and arrived at Pidgeon Springs around 1:30PM. 20 miles before 2PM, nice. We took an hour lunch break by the spring, filled our bottles, and continued on. After another 7.5 miles we decided to start looking for camping. We found a nice spot to camp about 50 yards off the trail on a saddle that has great views of the lake and 4 peaks. This part of the AZT is a real treat!

    Day 2
    I woke up feeling pretty drained, but that's not too unusual after a big first day, and I've bounced back plenty of times before. We get rolling out of camp around 6:45. I tried forcing down some poptarts thinking that was probably the reason I was so fatigued, but could only eat half a pack. My food bag was pretty much untouched except for a few tortillas and some cheese I ate the night before.

    As we made our way down hill, I kept feeling more and more sick to my stomach. With no water between our us and Roosevelt, the sun starting to beat down on us, we both didn't want to stop and pressed on to Roosevelt. When we reached the Marina I was feeling terrible and getting ready to call it a trip. After relaxing for a couple of hours and finally eating some calories, I felt good enough to keep going. My rally was short lived. About 3 miles outside Roosevelt I was starting to feel nauseous again and told Andrew I wanted to stop at the water tank in 0.7 miles, about 3 miles short of our target for the day.

    Day 3
    I woke up still feeling crappy but ready to give it another shot. We rolled out of camp around 6:30. After another 3 miles I decided I still wasn't feeling good enough to hike, so I told Andrew I was turning around. I sat down for about 10 mins and we chatted about meeting up in Superior the next day so I could get him some shoes he ordered to my place, or where I could forward them to if we didn't meet up.

    We said our goodbyes, then parted ways. I slowly made my way back to Roosevelt, passing a road hunter and several campsites which were set up but with no people in them (more hunters). Once I hit the paved road I then hitched back to PHX.

    Here and there in the washes and canyons.
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park
    April 9th
    Miles: 19
    AEG: 6,413 ft

    We started the climb from the 188 around 7:30 AM. The goal for the day was to make it to Pigeon Springs. The weather was great, and the views of Roosevelt Lake got more spectacular as we climbed out of the basin. After taking a break at Buckhorn Spring, the trail climbs relentlessly before topping out and contouring the mountain.

    Eventually we turned a corner and BAM!, the four craggy peaks were staring us right in the face. Quite the view! The trail through the Four Peaks passage is very well maintained, except for a small stretch where we were pushing through overgrowth that nearly obscures the trail. Despite the large swaths of burned forest, this passage was one of my favorite so far. Eventually we reached Pigeon Springs and found a relatively flat spot to set up our tents.

    April 10th
    Miles: 19
    AEG: 2,196 ft

    The morning began with a clear sky. After packing up the gear we headed for Pigeon Springs Rd to begin the long road walk. I'm usually not a fan of road walks, but this was an exception. There were great views on either side of the Superstitions, Sierra Ancha, and Lake Roosevelt. The immediate area itself was very beautiful as well. Around 10 AM we could see clouds beginning to build on top of Browns Peak, and a storm hitting the Supes.

    We stopped to take out the rain jackets and a white mini-van rolled up and asked if this road would take them all the way back to the 87. I pulled out my map and told them it looked like the road ended well before reaching the 87 and that they needed to turn around and take El Oso or the other forest road. The wife sitting in the passenger seat seemed concerned that we were about to be backpacking out in the rain. :roll: By 11 AM it was lightly raining, which was initially quite exciting (I needed to test the rain gear anyway).

    Just as we reached the Boulder Creek drainage the storm began to give us its all. Heavy rain, wind, and thunder! By the time we reached Sunflower, the trail was a muddy slip and slide, my phone was soaked and unresponsive (may it RIP ](*,) ), and we were slightly chilled.

    We waited under the 87 underpass for my brother to arrive, who was picking us up so I could take an exam for an online class I'm taking before returning to the trail the next day.

    April 11th
    Miles: 12
    AEG: 2,643 ft

    After finishing up my exam, we were back on trail around 1 PM. Under the 87, we did some last minute gear prep before heading out and ran into three other hikers, Giltch, Kegel, and Minus. They were 17 days into their thru-hike and were excited to get into Pine for some much needed beer. We were all aiming for McFarland Canyon for the night.

    We started up Saddle Mountain and enjoyed all the green scenery in the area. Just before reaching camp, we passed the half way mark for the AZT and celebrated with the thru-hikers before settling down for the night in McFarland Canyon.

    April 12th
    Miles: 21
    AEG: 5,249 ft

    The thru-hikers were up and leaving camp just as we were beginning to pack up. We weren't sure if we would ever see them again. The trail gets a little hard to follow just after McFarland Canyon to Thicket Spring. The Guthooks app says to head straight up a wash but apparently there is an alternative route that is clear of brush and well defined that you can take at the first junction past McFarland.

    Once we reached the junction for the Peeley TH we stopped to take a break and ran into Joe, a gentleman I had met at a trail maintenance event about a month earlier. Quite the coincidence, if we would have left a minute earlier we probably would have never seen him. He was meeting up with another fellow to remove some downed trees along the trail.

    The views along the Mazatzal Divide from Peeley to Y-Bar were my favorite for the entire trip. The rugged peaks of the Mazatzals and expansive views on either side were exciting to see. We ran into Minus again at the Bear Spring junction taking a lunch break. After taking our own lunch break at the spring, we headed for Horse Camp Seep.

    As we approached Horse Camp Seep, we ran into the three thru-hikers again. There was another hour or so of light, so they continued on, we decided to call it a day where there was water. Horse Camp Seep was a sweet spot and had great camping.

    April 13th
    Miles: 18
    AEG: 2,907 ft

    The goal for the day was to make it to the East Verde River, a relatively easy day that was mostly downhill. We made our way along the Divide trail and passed "The Park", an inviting stand of pines and great campsites. We stopped to take a lunch break at the Red Hills seeps. From here the trail descends steeply to the East Verde River. Not very fun for the knees.

    We camped just across the river and enjoyed the warmest night of the trip. We were now done with the Mazzies, and I felt the proposed "overgrowth" was kind of blown out of proportion, or there has been a lot of trail work in the past couple of months. Probably a bit of both. ;) I never felt like the trail was hard to find (except for the stretch between McFarland and Thicket) or that I had to deal with excessive brush that I wouldn't expect on most wilderness trails.

    April 14th
    Miles: 23
    AEG: 4,196 ft

    With burgers and beer on our minds, we got up early to make it into Pine with sufficient time to hit up THAT brewery and the market. The rocks along Whiterock and Hardscrabble Mesas were annoying and it felt like I was constantly stubbing my toes or rolling my ankle. Otherwise the area is quite beautiful and welcoming. The rocks put these two passages high on my list of "one and done" passages.

    We reached Pine around 5pm with plenty of time to get burgers and beer. Lo and behold, we run into Minus, Kegel, and Giltch at the brewery along with another thru-hiker, Thomas, who was taking a zero in town. We joined them and enjoyed the comradery. Thomas decided to join us at camp for the night near the Pine TH while the others reserved the cabin in the back.

    April 15th
    Miles: 17
    AEG: 3,303 ft

    We woke up with frost all over our gear. :yuck: After packing up, Thomas headed for the Highline and we headed for breakfast at the Early Bird. Just before we finished up eating we ran into Minus who was getting some breakfast himself.

    We headed for the Highline. It was nice to be climbing on a well graded trail with less rocks, especially because a hole was beginning to develop in my right shoe. I could feel every rock under my foot on that spot.

    At Red Rock Spring we made a quick stop and finished off the last bit of the Arizona Trail Ale we picked up the night before at the market.

    Once we reached Webber Creek we caught up with Thomas who was drying out all his gear. We stopped to take a break, and eventually Minus came strolling down the trail to join us. Minus decided to hike with us for a stretch after the break. The Rim gets right up in your face along this stretch and red dirt contrasting with the green pines and cedars made for great scenery.

    We were about 9 miles from the finish and a little antsy to finish up. Eventually Minus stopped to take a lunch break and we continued on after filtering some water. Now with only 5 miles left, we kicked it into high gear and made for the Washington Park TH. Clouds started to build along the rim.

    We reached the trailhead and got ready to hunker down for a few hours of inclement weather before our ride would arrive. However, after a few snow flurries, the clouds broke. Eventually Thomas and the other three thru-hikers caught up with us, we exchanged information, and said our goodbyes. All of them were very enthusiastic about Arizona and couldn't stop commenting on the diversity of the state and how we had a pretty cool home.


    Besides my foot issue due to my failing shoe on the last day, I felt great this entire trip. I never woke up sore or feeling exhausted. I listened to my body, and I was proactive about keeping my feet and knees happy. It really paid off and made the trip that much more enjoyable.

    This concludes all of Southern and Central Arizona passages for me. I'm looking forward to the easy walking on the plateau to the UT border!

    Lots of lupine in the middle elevations, not much at the highest and lowest elevations.
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine
    I was kind of looking to see where I was at for another big trek this summer and Karl was looking to experiment with a lighter weight higher mileage backpack, so I proposed Picketpost Mountain, or the beginning of section 18 of the Arizona Trail to Pine and the end of section 26 of the Arizona Trail. Karl was down for four days and had a somewhat flexible plan for ending his trip when he needed to. Meanwhile, I was about 50-50 if I could do the entire hike and was content with just seeing how far Karl and I could get and then playing the rest of my trip by ear, or I should say by body.

    Day 1: 29.92 miles 6268 aeg

    We made it to our planned first night's campsite on day one, Walnut Spring. Section 18 really exceeded my expectations. This is about the best time of year to be walking though that desert right now and Whitford proved to be a real treat with the flowing water and abundance of green. The climb was grueling and relentless but it offered some very solid views of the area and was really made manageable by liberal use of switchbacks. Karl was so confident with our performance at that point in the day that he insisted we bag Montana Mountain while we were up there. I agreed, but only because I was born in Montana and I said it had to count it as our break. Reavis Ranch looked like Daytona Beech and I had not apprehensions about making the short trip past it to my cozy little campsite at Walnut Spring. Got to Walnut just at headlamp time. Blew through camp chores, made a fire, ate and got to bed as soon as we could.

    Day 2: 25.67 miles 6392 aeg

    We came up a little short on our proposed campsite on this day, but the hiking was great so no worries. No stranger to the Eastern Supes, but Sunday still offered me all new areas after Two Bar Ridge. Cottonwood Canyon was great! No shortage of water in there and some cool little sites in this random little riparian jungle in the far corners of the northwestern Supes. A little bit of road and then it was the traverse from hell along the 188 waiting for that damn bridge to come into sight. From the bridge it was up the stairway to heaven. Where fittingly we had a trail angel waiting for us with tons of snacks and H20. After our sugar, hops, and caffeine binge at Mills Ridge we decided to just push for Buckhorn Creek. However, on that side of Four Peaks, pushing for a few extra miles usually entails a nice chunk of aeg as well, so we earned it. I did find a set of Indian ruins though along the way, so that was cool. We were both excited to learn that after carrying all that fresh water from Mills Ridge, there was water flowing in Buckhorn Creek. Oh well no filtering to do, quicker camp set-up, quick fire and in bed even earlier than previous night.

    Day 3: 31.24 miles 5239 aeg

    Day three was all new ground for me. Four Peaks makes you work, but alas the beauty of nature is enhanced by the ardor of the journey. I really enjoyed this section, an instant new favorite! I hiked through perhaps one of my nicest sunrises in a long time and marked several rock pile sites along the trail for future exploring. This section just kept getting better for me as we neared Four Peaks and started contouring towards Pigeon Spring. The lingering and previous snow had some of the creeks flowing nicely along this stretch and the trail got very nice as we approached its end. The road felt a little like Mad Max with the amount of Jeeps, trucks and atvs out. However, I must say not one negative experience with any driver and I do not think I have been offered as much water in such a short amount of time as I was along that 11 mile stretch of road. One guy asked, "is there anything else I could give you?" I said I could use some sunscreen and he offered up the whole bottle. The hike down into Sycamore was also very nice, again a great time to be in the lowlands, a little water, some flowers and green. However, it was hard to appreciate at times with the fatigue and anxiety over coordinating a last minute drop off of some additional things I felt I needed, if I was going to have any chance of reaching Pine. The drop and pick went smooth, a small adventure, but relatively smooth. We did not get an ideal spot to camp, but spirits were high after our resupply.

    Day 4: 24.7 miles 6297 aeg

    This was the day Karl and I would be saying our goodbyes. Karl decided on a Peely exit and I would push on to Bear Spring from there. More new trail for me to start the day and again I was not disappointed. The canyons on the way up to Saddle Ridge were picturesque, there was a lot of water and signs of some pretty extensive trail work in spots. I will admit things got a little dicey after we left the quaint McFarland Spring area, but we endured. The trails definitely need some work in there. I found myself kind of embracing the ruggedness and challenge the area presented. However, I could see that area becoming another hiker's hell if they were not expecting it. Karl and I parted at Peely. Losing Karl sucked, as he and I had a good thing going the first few days. Karl was keeping our pace in the areas where I tend to day dream and I was doing what I could do to keep us at a respectable place for some of the more stout climbs. But no time to dwell, I was solo now and needed to reach Bear Spring, just another 2000 feet of aeg and a shade under ten miles. There is no sense harping on the point, but the Divide Trail is getting nasty along there and I did make it to Bear Spring before head lamp conditions, but I was obliterated from that last little push from Peely. I replaced Karl with another Carl at Bear Spring. I am going to assume he spells his with a C. Anyways, I ran into Carl, better known as Spiced Rum on HAZ. He was on the final night of a backpack to gather some information for future work in the area. We chatted it up for awhile and I am not ashamed to admit I took some extra snacks from him. He was leaving a day early and I could not believe the amount of food I was going through on these long days, so I had no problem taking the charity. Superb stuff too, some great dried fruit, trail-mix and a Rice Crispy treat. Good guy all around and a source of wealth on some other major trails that I am interested in. And what a nice little spot to camp near Bear Spring, that saddle is great, I see why toughboots is fond of the place.

    Day 5: 26.9 miles 4051 aeg

    This was my make or break day. I had my city creek trailhead bailout option if needed, or I was pushing for the East Verde via the dreaded Red Hills and making my final push for Pine from there. The divide trail has its ups and downs, both in terrain and condition, but overall it was pretty smooth going. There is a section of Divide Trail that is now immaculate from about the intersection with Brody Seep to the intersection with Barnhardt. Kudos to that trail crew. I stopped for way too long to soak my legs and filter water and then realized I was looking at about ten more miles to include the worst part of the Red Hills and it was nearly three. My rational side said, "set up camp here, hike out LF or Saddle Ridge tomorrow," however, my other side said, "quit making excuses and finish the original plan." I am not sure what it was, but I was really dreading the last half of the Red Hills. Out of paranoia of being too exhausted to complete the entire section and having to dry camp somewhere I carried way too much water. This weighed me down and annoyed me even more as several of the creeks and main valleys I crossed had running water in them. As it turned out, while my worries were warranted, I did just fine and to be honest felt the area did not seem as bad as it had before and I must give props to the horse(s) whose tracks I followed through the entire Red Hills section, a doable stretch, just may require more time and detail. Camped at the Verde where I was serenaded to sleep by cows, frogs, chickens, maybe peacocks, cats and perhaps even a species of monkey. A very lively river at night.

    Day 6: 23.08 miles 4329 aeg

    This was the one I was waiting for, the "easy" day. A nice early start, I don't think there is a better place to be in the world than a half hour before light in the mountains somewhere, just pure serenity. There were ankle breakers abound on this day of Whiterock and Hard Scrabble. A nice steady pace was all I tried to keep and I followed a liberal break plan, as I crawled into Pine. The final two sections were not my favorite, but they were also the last two sections of a 160 mile trek so they would have had to have been perfect to really capture my imagination. Nevertheless, I got through both of them and endured the lava rock tread and bland road. I did find the last few miles to be more redeeming with the scenic Oak Spring and Bradshaw tank area. It was a reunion at the trailhead with Jackie and the pups, Del Taco and then home.

    Final Notes

    I need to work on a better nutrition plan for these big ones. I simply did not bring enough caloric energy for the type of days I was doing and the amount of energy I was putting out. I need to go healthier and more efficient, just a good lesson to learn.

    Karl played a huge role in getting me through those first four days, very glad to have him through there, he was missed later.

    A good song to have stuck in your head while hiking is Passion Pit, "Take a Walk."

    I can definitely go lighter on these ones too, I packed light, but by no means did I make any attempts to go ultra-light. In the future, that may be needed to knock out some of these more ambitious multi day treks.

    The hardest days by far were Day four with its nearly 7000 feet gained and day five with its 27 legit miles through the Mazzies without as much as a foot of road relief until the very end.

    About normal to not so great, to really good in spots. Most action in the first few sections though.
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Batched this and AZT 21 together due to the ease of shuttle parking. Tough trip. Lots of snow on the trail once above 5k elevation, made for touchy footing but we struggled through. Best sleep I've had in a while. Wouldn't recommend anyone attempt this directly following any snow, it was pretty hairy at times.
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    My buddy Fen and I had talked about a short AZT trip together for awhile. He being the AZT experienced one who has completed every passage of the trail. I, aspiring to through hike it within the next three years.
    Day 1:
    Started from the crossing at Hewitt Station Rd/Mile 297 around 10am and trucked along till Mud Spring where we filled up. (Thanks to Steward for the bucket and rope!) Springbox 100 to 200 yards up drainage from cattle trough and ammo can. Added Clif Bar and Almond Butter to ammo can for anyone needing. Made camp below the climb of Montana Mountain's pass. The weather was amazing all and not too cold at night.
    Day 2:
    Fen and I began this morning around around 10 am again. Neither of us in a rush in the morning and the cold/frost made things slow as they needed to dry out in the sun that took for ever to reach the bottom of th drainage. After beating feet up the biggest climb of the trip and jumping some deer we are certain some hunters at the top were stalking, we trucked along to Reavis Ranch. Rolling in before sunset and avoiding the large families that where there that night. Some fire and hot rehydrated meals made the freezing Ranch comfortable for the night.
    Day 3:
    Since I opted out of a tent and went bivy, I had an issue of condensation freezing inside it the first night. Did without it the second night and regretted it. Took two hours to feel my feet this morning. Also the ranch gets sun later so we did not get out till 11am. Filled water at Walnut Spring which was flowing really well. We powered through as long as we could till roughly mile 303.5 around sunset and made camp for the night in hopes of an early start the next day. We had rucked it pretty hard that day and were hurting pretty well with the lil food/rest stops.
    Day 4:
    Got up early but took our time to eat and prepare for the day ahead. The Scenery was amazing through these sections of trail and continued till we reached the bridge around sunset where my truck waited. Both beat up but thrilled to have experienced the superstitions in the winter.
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Southbound via the Vineyard Trail since previous plans were nixed due to logistics, Ambika came up with finishing off #20. We met up at Wendy's in Fountain Hills for the caravan to FR 341 as the base for our TH. (Shawn came up with that idea to add a few miles to make it a little longer hike and get a start on shortening some of Segment 19.) Once past the manufactured home community the road gets a bit dicey, at least for Tonto Jr, but we powered up the rocky hill. It was a good challenge though short. We piled in Shawn's truck for the journey over to Mills Ridge TH for our hike.

    It was a lovely day.
    The views of the Four Peaks and both lakes were outstanding :DANCE: ; hard to beat!
    • The surprise - LOTS of wildflowers including Fairy Duster, brittlebush, poppies, chia, flax, fleabane among others,
      The giddy delight - blooming hedgehog alley. :D
      The trail - great shape with the only tricky part coming down off of Inspiration Point to the bridge.
      The consistent - the bridge is always striking.
      The unexpected - the view of the dam and bridge together from high above, seeing the Apache Trail from time to time.
      The duel - between the prickly pear on one side of the trail and the saguaros on the other for about 1/2 mile. It was like a standoff to see who was going to cross over the trail first.
      Trail sign work - limited as not many trail signs.
      The pain - my camera finger :lol: .
      The views - in case I can't emphasize enough, the lakes and the Four Peaks and the distant mountains as well.
      The :-k moment - the interpretive sign placement up from the bridge.
    Only encountered two other hikers on this part of our hike. I highly recommend this hike; it is :y:
    Starting from Mills Ridge TH - [ youtube video ]
    about 1.5 to 3 mile mark - [ youtube video ]
    past Vineyard Mountain - [ youtube video ]
    Inspiration Point to the Bridge - [ youtube video ]

    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Southbound from Pigeon Springs to Mills Ridge another AZT adventure that was downhill with lots of up and down and down and up and up and down... you get the idea.

    Saturday afternoon (after we staged Tonto Jr at the Mills Ridge TH) we continued our drive to Roosevelt, checked in at the Spring Creek Inn (pretty nice place actually) and then headed over to the Dam for our potluck supper. The weather, view of the dam, food and company were all great. After dinner we headed over to the east side of the dam to hopefully see pink hue from the sun setting residual to the east of the bridge which didn't transpire. However, it was cool to see the lit up lights on top of the dam. (See short video of mostly stills from our Dam activity: [ youtube video ] ...)

    The next morning we headed up El Oso Road to start our hike from Pigeon Springs Th. We passed Karl and Kathy as they were heading to the bottom TH since they were hiking up :o the 19.3 mile/7000ft elev trail. At the top where we started it was slightly brisk and slightly breezy but would turn out to be a perfect temperature-day. 14 miles seems a long expectation for the day but off we went with me in pretty serious Tibber movie mode. The trail condition was nice and was that way almost the entire way. There were lots of bushes and we would hike through and by various terrain including a bedrock section, a couple pine sections, a few drainages (some with water), manzanita sections, rock outcropping sections, and burned sections.

    We were always delighted to see water especially at Shake Spring (there was also some at Bear Spring earlier); altho Tracy and Shawn said they saw lots more there when they came thru last. We hit the little 500 foot climb that seemed harder for some reason but from there until toward the end, the steeper climbing was mostly done. For as smooth as the elevation profile looks, it didn't quite feel that way. For me the anticipation of finally rounding some corner to see the Four Peaks in my face kept me smiling. And we would continually get glimpses of Roosevelt Lake so that was always nice too.

    However, as we rounded one corner I looked into the distance and saw: the Superstitions :DANCE: . This was such an unexpected surprise. Ambika and I were delighted. Soon after this wonderful discovery we took our morning break to re-fuel. We were right on the trail with a view south to the Supes with Weavers Needle and everything. I also think we were looking at the backside of Tortilla Peak with Newman Peak way beyond but looming large in the background. You could see the trail over on the other side of where we were and Shawn pointed out the saddle we would be heading too. Seemed a long ways off.

    Anyway we would be treated to the view of the Supes off and on for awhile until....
    THE VIEW finally showed up as we rounded a corner. Tracy and Shawn were waiting for us there to see our reaction. I think my heart stopped for a moment it was so overwhelming :y: . There they were, the Four Peaks in my face. Needless to say the hike went a bit slower as we contoured along here looking up in total awe at the magnificent mountain scene. We contoured around and then came upon what should be known as the most scenic viewpoint as we once again stopped, gawked and admired those large peaks. I think we were at Black Bear Saddle [ photo ] but not the saddle Shawn had pointed out earlier which is at the 7.87 mark or so.

    We continued on, I had a wrestling match : rambo : with a sticky plant trying to nab my bandana as I was turning to get a pic of Mt Ord and some of the Mazzies. Soon we would run into Karl, less Kathy. It was noon. I expected we would run into them at 12:30. Kathy was not feeling well so she stayed back at Mills Ridge TH to keep Tonto Jr company. So we stopped where we met and had some lunch, chatted, took pics and then headed on. Karl was going to enjoy his beer at the Bear Saddle area with THE VIEW.

    Next we passed the junction with Chillcut before making the saddle Shawn had pointed out a ways back. And now the ever so gentle down hill would begin. We would lose sight of the Four Peaks and now would be back to sightings of Roosevelt Lake :) that would come in and out as we contoured below Buckhorn Mountain. We hit some pretty nice trail here so it was smooth sailing really. We did take another break in this section. On these longer hikes, I like a couple breaks in the last miles; just makes those last miles seem less arduous.

    Apparently we went by Granite Spring which I didn't even notice :doh: . We hit a bit of a wash area before a short climb up and then the big two mile 1200 foot and what seemed long hill down from the 10 mile mark. That had to be a killer hill on the way up. It did have occasional switchbacks to give your quads some relief. We finally reached Buckhorn Creek only to be faced with an uphill trudge (that really turned out not to be too bad but then again we did stop and check out ruins). Nonetheless, we took our last break here in the dry creek bed though there were some pools of water further down that we could see from higher on the trail.

    Shawn said we only had 1 1/4 mile left (Scout said 1.5 left) so with that thot in mind, we were off. Once we got up by the ruins and then up again to the top of this hill, the viewing toward the east was pretty entertaining. Pretty soon we spotted MYTONTO Jr and Kathy so we knew the end was near. We saw quite a few wildflowers scattered about more so here than elsewhere on the hike. I didn't know but Ambika was counting and she got to nearly 30 different wildflowers on this trek. The last couple east hillsides had enormous prickly pear cactus on them sticking up thru the still golden grasses. It was quite impressive.

    We reached the end, had some libation and then took Tonto down to the bridge to get Karl and Kathy's vehicle. I got to test drive some of the gears on Tonto Jr so that was fun :DANCE: . I guess we lolly-gagged too much at the TH and Karl ended up meeting us at the bridge instead of Butcher Hook restaurant. So we exchanged greetings and then went back to the restaurant for our post-hike dinner before the drive home.

    I think we have a great hiking group and even though we get spread out from time to time, it all seems to work out fine. The nice thing about hiking with Shawn is he knows the trails since he has hiked them before AND he is the big kahuna AZT trail steward. He hikes much harder :sweat: than the rest of us as he clears the trail of rocks and debris along the way. I try to do it but it takes awhile to get the hang of clearing off rocks with your feet and branches and such with your hiking pole without losing your balance or your stride. I also like the stories Shawn shares with us and Tracy too when they've done trail work.

    Lots of video here but since I don't think this trail sees much action, I felt obliged or is that obligated?
    Part 1 of 6 from Pigeon Springs to stone walls holding up the trail: [ youtube video ] ...
    Part 2 of 6 continuing along and below Brown's Peak: [ youtube video ] ...
    Part 3 contouring below the Peaks with eventual sighting of Superstitions: [ youtube video ] ...
    Part 4 and finally the PEAKS: [ youtube video ] ...
    Part 5 making our way east to the saddle and then on down [ youtube video ] ...
    Part 6 from the ruins to Mills Ridge TH [ youtube video ] ...
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
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    Eastern Four Peaks Loop
    We put a lot planning effort into this, settling on the hike early Friday evening.

    Rock Creek Trailhead is a long ride but an easy trail head to get to.

    0.50 Miles to get to Three Bar Cabin / Rock Creek
    Easy Road walk, the cabin is more like a house. Electric Well, Gas Grill outside, furnished with newer furniture.

    1.00 Mile in Rock Creek to get to Baldy Canyon
    No trail here, not too bad of a walk next to and across Rock Creek which actually flowed downhill. A bit thick in spots.

    3.25 Miles in Baldy Canyon to get to Chillicut #132
    One really nice box was the highlight of the canyon for the time we were in it.
    Flowing water in many spots. So going hpping on the Boulders. Prettier in the lower sections and appeared to get more canyon-like once we got out and on to the Chillicut Trail.

    3.25 Miles on Chillicut #132 to get to Four Peaks #130
    This trail is a gem. It's in decent condition for the most part. Only one spot did we lose it for a bit. It stays close to Baldy Canyon for the most part and is a bit steep towards the top.
    There is a real nice campground just inside the Four Peaks Wilderness border.

    5.00 Miles on Four Peaks #130 to get to Oak Flat #123
    I had forgotten how nice this trail is. The views never end and with what appears to be recent work, a superhighway compared to most of the trails I've been on recently. I need to make a point to get on this one more often. Just wow.

    1.75 Miles on Oak Flat to Get to FR445
    Oak Flat is a steep bugger. I'm glad Joe suggested we attack this loop clockwise to go down this section instead of going up. With the looseness of the gravely concoction, it would have been two steps up and one step back in spots.

    3.00 Mile road walk on FR 455
    As far as road walks go, this was actually quite pleasant. We had a spirited conversation most of the way back to the truck. Verdict... Water does flow downhill.

    Very, Very Isolated
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wow what a day!

    i met up with bobby rocket feet and taco john to hike one of my most anticipated segments of the azt on what would be a perfect day weather wise

    this segment has some definite maintenance issues along the four peaks trail segment with pretty significant overgrowth. route finding is no problem though. that issue is compensated for by perhaps the best views on the AZT (minus the inner gorge of the grand canyon) that accompany you in some form or fashion nearly the whole hike. Tough elevation gain also gives you plenty of opportunity to stop and take it in while trying to recover from your pending respiratory failure.

    world class views + top notch company = signature day on the azt for frick :y: :y:

    john and i put a hurting on a large pie at big daddys afterwards. what a way to finish the day :DANCE:

    573.87 miles done. 30 segments in the books
    Four Peaks - AZT #20
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    I haven't done the Four-Peaks trail in years. The last time we turned around half way through due to the number of deadfall and overgrowth. I was told that the deadfall was cleaned up.

    We parked the Jeep at the Pigeon spring TH and took off. I went off to the Mills Ridge TH and Fan took a leisurely pace. The temps got really warm below the 5,000 mark and hot below 4,000.
    The dead fall and the 4 foot canopy of overgrowth has been cleaned up on the Mills Ridge side. There's some really dense overgrowth on from the middle of the trail over to the Adler Saddle intersection and around the Pigeon Springs intersection. I felt like I was swimming in overgrowth.

    I did my usual exploring around. I tried to check out the Oak Flat trail, but it was almost not passable due to the overgrowth of branches.

    We didn't see anyone on the trails and only two vehicles at the Lone Pine TH.

    Permit $$
    no fees or permits reported

    if incorrect tell us about it

    Map Drive

    To hike
    page created by joebartels on Jan 09 2010 12:41 am
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