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Coronado Mesa, AZ

no permit
203 14 1
Guide 14 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.4 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,900 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Accumulated Gain 870 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.15
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2017-02-03 Steph_and_Blake
6  2017-01-26 hikingaz2
20  2017-01-01 rayhuston
8  2017-01-01 kingsnake
22  2017-01-01 outdoor_lover
4  2009-04-12 JoelHazelton
17  2009-02-12 AZLOT69
41  2008-02-23 OhOh7
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,812
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:31pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Steep Fish Creek Views
by joebartels

Here's a rather simple off-trail hike with rewarding views. From the trailhead, as noted in the directions below, simply head up the moderate slope. The vegetation is patchy enough to negotiate without much thought. Nevertheless always watch your step as this mesa is covered with tiny prickly cati. Within five to ten minutes you will be on the mesa. At this point you can't see across just yet. The mesa is made up of two high points with a gentle dip in the middle.

Heading northwest you soon reach the lower of the two high points. Continue through the gentle dip and up to the other high point. The vegetation gets easier to negotiate. From the northern high point, the jaunt out onto the peninsula-fin becomes pretty clear.

Just as you reach the peninsula-fin the mesa drops off to your left. Careful as it's a direct 400 foot drop and your carcass would likely roll down another 400 feet to the creek. You have a nice overview of FR80 twisting down to the salt river.

It's a minor scramble out to the edge of the peninsula-fin. Interestingly enough you are now above the narrows of Fish Creek. The views in all directions are simply stunning. I seriously doubt anybody believes views like these exist only thirty miles from Phoenix. Head back as you came.

HAZ History: Five years ago I had this great idea to shortcut it out to the narrows of Fish Creek. The idea was to go over Coronado Mesa and come down the other side. As it turned out I missed the unmarked turn onto FR80 and ended up turning around at the Tortilla Trailhead. On the way back-tracking I was hit by a truck. Moral of the story, don't miss that damn! Just kidding, actually I just remembered all of this writing here and wondered if going down the other side is even possible. I scoured the zillion photos I took and believe there is a doable route. It appears there's a steep slanted ravine coming down from the southern high point area. If you do it, do it for the adventure as the narrows are nothing exciting.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2004-09-20 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
Coronado Mesa
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Finished our Fish Creek area hikes with Coronado Mesa, nice area, got back to TH and headed down to the SRP Gate, was open, but no need to get in any trouble on such a nice day :) Was going to stop at Tortilla Flats for a cone, but :o :o no parking spots left, was a Snowbird Heaven Day :) kept going and will take a raincheck :)
Coronado Mesa
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I've gotten to Listening to my Gut a lot more and my Stubborness has not gotten any better, so with my two Strongest Virtues, I pulled out of the Driveway into the Pouring Rain yesterday Morning. It wasn't even Light yet. And yet, I remained Optimistic even as I plowed through the Flooding across Brown Street and the Apache Trail. As I neared Canyon Lake, there was Lightning and my Heart started to Sink. If anything is going to Pound the Coffin Nails into this Hike, it would be Lightning... I continued on, passing a Waterfall next to the Road as it wound around Canyon Lake. It was still Raining pretty hard. I reached Tortilla Flat and my Heart lightened. It wasn't even Flowing across the Road yet, just Pools. The next Crossing was Flowing, but it was still extremely Shallow... I wondered with it still Raining, what it would be like in a few hours...No Matter, I had enough Cookies and Champagne to sustain the Few of Us still left in the Committed Column, for a couple of Days... :lol: By the Time I reached the "TH" at 8:30, the Rain had lessened to a Sprinkle. There was already a Vehicle there, but it was not with us. I think someone tried to Camp there and ended up sleeping in the Car... :sweat:

Before long, Preston showed with his Wife, Bernie. I thought that might be it, but then, here came Ray...There would be 3 of us to tempt the Weather Gods. :y: It was still trying to Spit and it was Chilly, but we could see Clearing Skies to our South, so away we went. We took our Time and I wasn't the only one keeping the Camera busy. The Weather was creating some Amazing Photo Ops. This Hike Promised and Delivered on the Views and the Light provided by Mother Nature was the Icing on the Cake. After a 5 minute Heavy Drizzle of Rain, (all we got on the whole Hike) there was a Toast overlooking Fish Creek and a Sweet Waterfall, followed by Goodies and more Photos... Celebrating Hiking, Friends and a New Year...The Sun started to break through and I started shedding Layers, and then it was Time to head back from whence we came....We got back to the Cars about the Time Mother Nature started wrapping the Clouds around us and Enveloping the Mountains again. By the Time Ray and I hit the Overlook near Fish Creek Hill, the Rains had started again in Earnest... On the way back to Tortilla Flat, the Wash was running much Stronger, but was narrow and still Doable... The Crossing at Tortilla Flat itself was also running but Doable as well...We met Preston and Bernie for a Late Lunch at the Restaurant there and had a nice Visit. Thanks so much for picking up the Tab Ray! :y: We all then Parted Ways until next Time which hopefully won't be another Year... Great to see you all again!

We hit an Amazing Weather Window and I was Extremely Grateful... I needed this Hike, and the Weather and the Hike Delivered everything I could Hope for... I have not been able to do a Real Hike since I Smashed and Trashed my Ankle last April, and 2016 was not a good Year. I needed to start Fresh on this Day and although the Ankle and I need more work to be 100%, this is a Start and it was a Perfect Choice. It Taxed me without Hurting me and gave me all the Information I needed to keep moving forward and gaining a Full Recovery...And I am Grateful to have Friends that Embraced a rather Tame Hike and Joined me, even with the Threat of Bad Weather... Thanks Guys... :app:

The Blooms are already trying....
Coronado Mesa
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This is the third of Pam’s New Years HikeArizona get togethers I’ve done, after Vulture Peak in 2013 and Roblas Butte last year. This was the shortest, least steep, foray yet, but with views that every bit as good as previous years, if not better.

Despite many people being interested in the hike, most bailed due to expected heavy rain. That just meant more cookies & chocolate-covered strawberries for the three of us (Pam, Ray and I).

Coronado Mesa is a very basic hike, but one with spectacular canyon views, as distant as Red Mountain and Fountain Hills or, below us, multi-cascade waterfalls hundreds of feet high.

When we got to the spur, we all agreed the slickness of the rocks, and looseness of the soil, would not make it safe to negotiate our way to its far end. As I told Pam & Ray, I hike for the exercise: Finding cool things is a bonus, but I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

We spent about 30 minutes at our rest spot / overlook, taking photos, toasting with champagne, and eating Pam’s delicious cookies and chocolate covered strawberries.

On the way back to Tortilla Flat, the two creek crossings had risen, but were still SUV-able. We ate again in Tortilla Flat, which for me was a chili dog and “Snake Venom” beer, which was quite tasty.
Coronado Mesa
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The forecast called for a fair amount of rain, but all we saw were a few sprinkles. We followed the route out towards the fin, but stopped short of the scramble portion. Pam, Preston and I were all content with stopping right there, taking in the views and consuming the goodies that Pam brought along. We found a nice perch, shared some bubbly, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries and a big helping of gorgeous views. We repeated until the bubbly was all gone :( .

We returned the way we came, meandering here and there in search of more views. This is a beautiful place, even with overcast skies. Afterwards, Pam and I drove out to the overlook above Fish Creek Canyon for some more views, but then the rain finally did come. We headed back to Tortilla Flat where we met up with Preston for lunch at the restaurant.

Another winner Pam. I had a wonderful time. Thank you for organizing, and thank you for the goodies!

Happy New Year!
Coronado Mesa
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Wow. This hike is under rated. Its been on my list for quite a while. Being off trail I needed a time of year like this cool weather for another great bushwhack. From the trail description I was anticipating a quick easy off trail with some nice views. What the hike delivers is nothing short of exhilerating. The last half mile in and out really gets the adrenaline pumping. While there is no direct exposure, just move over to the edge either way and its straight down. I kept looking at my GPS route our leader posted and looked ahead at the peninsula that he ended up at thinking there is no way to get out there. Like so many hikes in the area as you get closer you see there is a way out there. I found this hike very rewarding. If your going to do this, now is the time of year, use your GPS route and go all the way. A lot of bang for the buck. The wild flowers were popping.
Coronado Mesa
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In general we followed Joe's route but immediately on reaching the mesa we headed east to the drop-off. ( I've taken friends and family to that point for the dramatic views and then turned around for a hike of less than a mile.)

I didn't do the last 0.2 miles of Joe's route where it hooks east. Going up wouldn't have been bad but the climb down would have been hell on my knees.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Apache Junction take SR88 out to FR80. Not far in it's the first right. This dirt road swings back and up the side of the mesa. If you don't have a truck it's probably best to walk the tenth of a mile up the road on the side of the mesa.
2+ mi range whistle
blow it hard
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