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Black Cross Butte 3351, AZ

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Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
4 of 5 by 5
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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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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2018-12-29 te_wa
57  2017-12-16 adilling
29  2017-12-16 outdoor_lover
7  2015-04-12 TimTheHiker
43  2015-01-05 jameslcox44
1  2014-03-20 JuanJaimeiii
11  2014-02-22
BCB 4806 - Fish Peak Loop & BCB 3351
10  2014-02-22
Black Cross Butte 3351 SRC View
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,259 map ( 21,438 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
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 off where ever you can find a spot to park near the FR80 gate. Be forewarned there are a couple 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 hand holds. Coming down is another story. Actually coming down isn't an issue it's the slanted ledge you need to shimmy backwards. 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 backwards 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. 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's a couple 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 definitely steep like the hike up to Bronco Butte or the other Black Cross Butte. 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 being 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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Black Cross Butte 3351
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Big Plans that Changed... But it still ended up being a Big Hike albeit not Intentional... :sweat: The Original Plan was to hit BCB and then Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042... BCB was pretty Sweet, first Time Up that one, although it's been on my List for Years.... A triple of Interesting Scrambles, two or which made me Pause for a minute or two, but with that Sticky Rock and Good Soles, I built Confidence...

After a pretty Delightful Use Trail petered out on the way to 3042, we kept thinking we were Off-Route. At one Point though, the Geology became an Overwhelming Distraction as we started running into Geodes and some Amazing Quartz in one Area.... When we finally got to above the Final Wash Crossing, before ascending 3042, we looked at our Watches and decided on Nope! Not Today.... :sweat: It was almost 11:30 by then and we just didn't think we could swing it in a reasonable amount of Time... It was a very Good Decision especially since we were thinking on making this a Loop... :lol:

I had suggested we make the Loop of this Hike. as the Description subtly suggested, and take the Wash down and back to the Vehicles. We decided to follow thru with that, but after looking at the Topo, we believed that the Wash we were looking at between us and Peak 3042 would Cliff Out. We were Correct. (We Verified that from the Bottom... :sweat: ) So we found a "Cut" in the Cliff Band on the Topo that looked "Doable" and went for it... We came very very close to Cliffing out on that one about halfway down after trying a couple of other Routes along that Section first. In fact, if I had been Solo, I would not have tried that Downclimb at all and as it was, I took my Pack off and lowered it first. But Andy did it, so I wasn't going to be the Reason we went all the way back up that Cut, and it looked to be more "Doable" the Rest of the way down after some more Route Finding.... It wasn't as bad as it looked, especially with no Pack and Camera Bag to deal with.... I just had to make sure not to kill Andy with Rockfall from above... :sweat: And the Bonus to that particular Route was the Guano Cave... I barely went in, took a couple of Photos and got out... Didn't see any Bats, they are probably gone for the Season, but there's a Part of that Cave, Up High, that goes back into utter Blackness. Hard to know, unless you sat there until Sunset....

We finally got down to the Bottom of Crucifix and took a well Deserved Break. We headed down Crucifix for just a bit to see if we were correct on the Topo Reading on Top. And then we headed back towards the Vehicles via the Bottom of Crucifix. It seemed like an Endless, Boulder Hopping, Scrambling, Route Finding Stretch with some Wonderful Catclaw thrown in the Mix on Occasion. But the Views were Splendid and the Amazing Rock Formations kept our Cameras from feeling Neglected. With a Final Turn of the Creekbed, we saw a Cairn up above the Creekbed but were unsure what it was meant for... With the Creek getting way worse at that Turn, we decided to go up the Hill and ultimately climbed up to a small Saddle. On the other Side of the Saddle was the Road and the next Ridge would be where our Vehicles were... Relief and Adrenaline kicked in, and our Pace picked up. But then, it's really not over until it's over, as there was Gunfire and Andy heard a Bullet whiz over his Head. :sweat: So we had to slow down and I started yelling, so whoever was Shooting would stop. It was coming from the other side of a Rise to our Right. I heard a Ricochet at one Point and it was pretty intimidating.... I think they finally heard me and the Shooting stopped until we were almost topped out on the next Ridge where we Parked... The Cars were a Relief by then for sure... I felt bad for Andy as he was going to a Mandatory Christmas Party as soon as he got home and cleaned up.... :sweat: I, on the other hand, had Partied the Night before, so I went Home and just crawled into the House for my Final Act of the Day.... :sweat: :zzz:

Thanks for the Invite Andy, it was a Pleasure to finally Meet You! It was a Good Day! Hard, but the Good Kind of Hard, where you know you did something by the End... Or sooner.... :sweat:
Black Cross Butte 3351
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On the previous hike jj's "reaction" to me stepping back from a snake scared the crap out of me. When I came to another beast on this one my mind processed "stepping back is bad". So I stepped over it. All was good but my heart was pounding as hard as I ever recall.

Spotted a third on the return. Just a baby.
Black Cross Butte 3351
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Black Cross Butte 3351 SRC View
This was a short, but must do if you are in the area. This was supposed to be a longer 7 mile loop, but the prior hike had taken more time than expected.... So this became an out and back to the NW side of Black Cross Butte 3351.

On the way up was saw a couple of plastic tubs off to the side of the trail. Blankets, tarps, extension cords, water, badminton racket, fuel and a grabber thingy ....
All of this was there for at least two years because the plastic items crumbled and broke to the touch.

A little farther, Denny and LP jumped some Big Horns. There were at least 20 in the herd including at least 3 lambs. Pretty flat up top where Joe showed us a fire ring thingy.

We got to the NW side and enjoyed the views of the Salt River / Canyon Lake.

We looked for evidence of Hippyfest on the other side of the canyon, but they must have been in the cave, out of site.

On the way down, in a different area we found a backpack, water, 4" x 4" and another grabber thingy.

This was an end to a great day!

**NOTE** to others driving in on FR80. The road is in great shape to all vehicles, but past the point we parked is No Trespassing (Homeland Security) because of SRP and the Horse Mesa Dam. This is just short of 2 miles in.
Black Cross Butte 3351
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BCB 4806 - Fish Peak Loop & BCB 3351
Last week I mentioned one of my favorites near SRC. Unfamiliar with the area Bruce sent back a hike ( option A ) he would unlikely willingly attempt if he knew the terrain. Clinging onto a myth of hope I responded I'd be ecstatic to jump on option A. Yet had to be honest. Instead of describing the difficulty of a couple segments I touched on the mundane aspect of one long stretch. The long stretch could be fascinating @ 72 degrees with puffy clouds floating to and fro. On the same token it feels like you are in WTF land @ 85 if tired and cranky.

With that I suggested two other options ( options B & C ). Both of which should fill up 2/3rds of a day. Please understand, throw out anything too large ( in his mind ) it gets cut off at the throat.

Why not both... the response. Imagine that. Hook, line & sinker... ha ha. Just kidding, that scenario never entered my mind. Option C was flexible and could be a 2, 4 or 6 hour jaunt.

Denny & LP made an appearance and we were off like a herd of turtles heading up to BCB 4806. We worked the standard cairned route up to the break. Then followed the inner ridge out east planning on the full circle ridge to BCB 4806. One look at the task at hand sent the trail architects back to the drafting table.

4806 went down without out trouble. We did notice the circle ridgeline looks very doable and should offer up stellar views. Someday I'll get that opportunity. Hopefully it never happens. I fear once tackled the fever to return will subside.

We journeyed down the ridgeline to Fish Creek Peak 3910. Rather easy. LP had ambitions of tagging 3910 then returning to finish the circle ridge. While certainly doable, the terrain, even though nothing technical, wears your mind down quicker than miles or aeg.

On the SE corner of 3910 is a good slot to ascend. Currently just one agave to hurdle. Fair holds in the crumbly rock and little chance of mishap. Other slots looked more exciting for those interested.

Heading back down to Lewis and Pranty Denny slipped landing on an Ocotillo. The thorns on that bad boy went from two inches at the base down to an inch further out. He never whimpered. The situation looked bad yet it didn't bleed as much as imagined. He brushed it off and we carried on.

With a few hours of light we opted to just hit BCB 3351. There wasn't enough time or energy to go beyond cairns.

4 quarts carried, 2 consumed. Found a horseshoe on the first loop. For reference have found them on route to 3042 and above Skeleten Cave in the past.

Blue Dicks, Chuparosa
Black Cross Butte 3351
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Sweet area! Quite an interesting route up to the butte, but it was made easy by following the GPS route on a topo. Checked out the sweet views from the NE corner of the butte before heading west. I was hoping to make it west to peak 3042 but I was running low on daylight and instead viewed the river from the north side of that 2825 mesa before heading back. :)
Black Cross Butte 3351
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I really enjoyed this hike. The views aren't as good as from Bronco Butte or Coronado Mesa but the hike is fun. Continuing on is fun too because it's so easy to negotiate the terrain. For instance Geronimo Head or way worse is Four Peaks Mother Lode, those are hairy off-trail hikes. This one is sooothing! :)

wspencer took a serious rough approach. I've mountain biked FR80 down to the Salt before I can't image hiking down there with thoughts of CLIMBING UP on the flip side :sweat: I crossed a section of embedded geode thingys. The whole area looked like the rock layer was bubbling white lipped crystals.

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)
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