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Salt River Canyon View from Peak 3042, AZ

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Statistics
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,591 feet
Elevation Gain 451 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,862 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 20.31
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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53  2021-03-27 adilling
14  2020-03-14 Nightstalker
13  2019-02-12 mike_berg
24  2019-02-02 Yoder
9  2019-01-19 hikerdw
14  2019-01-12 Nightstalker
54  2018-01-13 adilling
25  2017-01-14 Nightstalker
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,086
Trips 4,890 map ( 24,952 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Apr → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:38am - 7:25pm
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🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k


Beyond cairns
by joebartels

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Overview
Hike over Black Cross Butte and roller coaster it over to and up Peak 3042. The peak offers rare views of the Salt River Canyon. Return the same route or perhaps take the drainage back. The entire hike is off-trail. The surface varies, but it is easy to travel for the most part. Moderately steep terrain is encountered, but it's short and over quick.


Summary
Study the map. Next read Black Cross Butte 3351 for tips on attaining the primary obstacle being the butte itself. I varied the course on my route up this time. It's not necessary to go over the butte as it's possible to skirt the upper slopes. However, I think it's easier on the ankles just going over.

From BCB, you'll need to do one of two things. Either load up the route into your GPS or be a good map reader. I believe the route I've posted on the map is the best route. You could make it shorter. Just keep in mind what you make up in distance you'll end up paying for in elevation changes. The terrain is very deceiving in the middle part of the hike. I've always heard about how to be careful in the Superstitions. Heck, there are very distinctive landmarks in the Superstitions from what I've experienced. This area is more of a concern, in my opinion. It's like walking on top of a maze, but you're not quite high enough to see where the ridges and valleys go. The buttes and other landmarks aren't distinctive enough to get depth perception either. It all kind of blends in together.

Cairns guide you halfway. The second half was cairn free as of this writing. There are a few ten to twenty-foot sections of path in some of the grassy sections. That aside, the second half is very well preserved. You are far from being the first person to travel the area, but it has a pristine pioneer feel. Peak 3042 looks tough to negotiate. I assure you it's much easier than it seems if you follow the map.

Once on top of the peak, you are rewarded with outstanding views of the Salt River Canyon. Circle the edge to get in all the views. Be sure to check out the head on overview of Blue Tank Canyon. That alone was worth the hike, in my opinion. Then again, the route itself is pretty awesome for a day hike!

Notes
I strongly advise leaving the dogs at home for this hike. There are too many prickly cholla balls.

On my first attempt, I wore Teva sandals. It's possible, like nearly every other hike I've done, but boots are preferred for this terrain.

On a cool, breezy eighty degrees day in October, I downed a full hundred-ounce water pack. Don't let the 451-foot elevation gain deceive you. The accumulated gain for this hike is over 2800 feet. That's not too rough in itself, but if you get off course, it could get ugly.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-10-20 joebartels
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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 $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
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Road
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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