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Black Cross Butte 3351, AZ

Guide 27 Triplogs  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
no permit
377 27 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,591 feet
Elevation Gain 749 feet
Accumulated Gain 910 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.65
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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15  2022-03-06 LindaAnn
8  2022-01-27 BobP
15  2022-01-02
Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042
7  2022-01-02
Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042
23  2022-01-02
Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042
14  2022-01-02
Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042
16  2022-01-02
Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042
5  2020-11-21
Black Cross Butte hike
Page 1,  2,  3
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 841
Photos 12,826
Trips 5,229 map ( 26,536 miles )
Age 52 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:33am - 7:30pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k

Return safely
by joebartels

This is an off-trail hike up the mesa and further if you please. Trail data listed is just to the top of the mesa. You will likely want to explore more so plan on at least 3 to 6 hours for a fun day. For clarification, this is the Black Cross Butte next to the Salt River. There is another butte with the same name next to Fish Creek & SR88.

First check out the map. The hike starts where ever you can find a spot to park near the FR80 gate. Be forewarned there are a couple of technical spots on this route. Nothing tougher than Brown's Peak but it's more technical than the Flatiron. From your car head on up. First, you'll cross over a downed barbwire fence. Be on the lookout for cairns shortly after. If the cairns are gone use the map, it's GPS accurate.

The first obstacle to note will be a tight crevice. You will probably find it fun going up. There are several handholds. Coming down is another story. Coming down isn't an issue, it's the slanted ledge you need to shimmy backward. The wall protrudes out so you're leaning slightly too, making for an awkward moment. After the crevice, work up and eventually over to your right.

Your second obstacle comes into play quick. Once again, you will probably find it fun going up. The initial contact is a climb. Then hopscotch over the pillars. The last of which is slightly nerve-wracking coming back. Keep in mind you will have to trust yourself to slide blindly backward to a well-defined step on the return trip.

After that, there's only one more crevice to conquer and it's easy-going both ways. Next comes the most physical part of the hike going up the steep slope. Go up and left, to attain the notch in the lip of the mesa. At the top of the mesa, it's easy travel. If you came for the views then head for the north end or perhaps circle the edge. I don't think the views are as good as nearby Coronado Mesa. Tag on the fact it's a short hike up and you'll probably want to keep on going.

Map notes: Looking at the printed 3000 elevation mark there are a couple of things to note. First, the south route is preferred. Second, directly south of the 3000 mark you'll notice a clip/dip in the south line. I'm not sure but there may be a way to attain the area on that steep slope. Though it is steep like the hike up to Bronco Butte or Black Cross Butte 4806. Also to note, my route turns around because there's a sheer 40-100 foot drop-off surrounding that area. Peak 3042 would need to be approached from either the south or west.

FYI Note: I wouldn't recommend dogs on this hike for two reasons. First, the technical spots, and second is there are tons of cholla sticker balls throughout the hike. If you plan on backpacking bring some webbing or rope to get your pack back down.

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.

2004-09-22 joebartels
  • Map
    guide related
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
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To FR80 Trailhead
From Apache Junction take SR88, headed northeast, out to FR80. Turn left on to FR80 to gate. Park on either side, making sure you're well off the road as this is the entrance/exit for folks and big equipment going to/from the dam below. Any regular-clearance vehicle can make it to the trailhead (there was a Honda minivan sitting there upon our return from the hike), but you may need to go a little slow. Also, there are some narrow sections of FR80 as you descend to the trailhead. So, look ahead for vehicles coming in the opposite direction. You may need to pull over at some spots to let the other vehicle pass you by.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 1 h 25 min (57.3 miles)
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 2 h 34 min (127 miles)
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 3 h 25 min (198 miles)
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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