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Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns, AZ

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Guide 23 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.9 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,348 feet
Elevation Gain 519 feet
Accumulated Gain 810 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 - 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.45
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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33  2019-01-23
Goldfields: 2 Peaks and 3 Arches
18  2018-12-15
Goldfield Mountains Arches Hike
9  2018-11-06 DixieFlyer
6  2017-11-30 DixieFlyer
1  2015-03-05 azfj60
21  2015-02-22 hikingaz2
9  2015-02-07 johnlp
15  2015-02-07 Tortoise_Hiker
Page 1,  2
Author OhOh7
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 2
Photos 1,591
Trips 81 map ( 435 miles )
Age 83 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:25pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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off trail climbing
by OhOh7

An area of this hike is closed Dec 1st - Jun 30th.

Five of us started at the Blue Point trailhead, just off Bush highway by the Salt River, excited that we were going to see one of the Goldfield Mountains secrets. These mountains have many natural arches. Most hikers do not know this nor have they been to any of them because there are no trails throughout most of these mountains. There are a few faint jeep roads around the lower elevations but the majority of hiking will be off trail.

Today we headed for the Sunrise Arch [ View Location ]. It is not marked on any map that I could find. The arch goes through an outcropping of rock with a rock cliff directly behind it so is extremely difficult to pick out from afar. Even getting close to it one finds it hard to make it out. However, once at the arch it is an astounding feat of nature as some of my photos will show. I found it is even hard to get good photos due to the background. However, the actual arch is about 25 feet high and 30 plus feet across. It has a saguaro growing on top of it. It is called the Sunrise Arch because at one point in the morning the sun from the east shines through the arch. At all other times it simply blends into to rocky backdrop.

From the Bluepoint trailhead we left the old jeep road almost immediately and went cross country following the Salt River to the east going through many drainage canyons, down and up, until we reached the base of the range we had to climb to get to the arch. Again there are no trails and we had to do lots of traversing. This hike is not an easy one. The length RT is about 7 miles but it is classified as a "B" rating by the Sierra Club because it is off trail and the last 400 to 500 feet of elevation is quite steep in places up to a 45 degree pitch. Caution is necessary as there are a couple of smooth rock areas that require careful traversing to cross. It took me a bit longer than some of the others to negotiate the final ascent. I am leary of heights and really do not like smooth rock surfaces. However I did make it and the reward definitely over shadows the work to get there. The arch is beautiful with varied colored rock walls and the views of Saguaro Lake and the Salt River are spectacular.

Another reason the entire hike is rated a "B" is that the amount of actual climbing is almost 1500 feet with lots of down and up areas before the final up push. We returned to the trailhead by a different route that tended to hug the foothills more until we went through Gateway Canyon and on down to the river level banks. The green grass is amazing for Arizona. When these trees bloom and the flowers come in a couple months this area will be breathtaking. The entire hike took us just over 5 hours as we lunched in the arch. The location of this arch is almost directly south of the tubing parking area lot on the Salt River. However, I don't think you will see the arch with the naked eye unless you know exactly where to look. Good binoculars can spot it.

Of course since there are no trails there are many ways to get to the arch. We selected leaving from the Blue Point trailhead as there is parking available there that seems fairly safe. If one were to go up Gateway Canyon you could get to the top and see 2 or 3 more arches and get to Sky Island. From Sunrise Arch we inspected some way up but it was too steep. We actually went to the arch, through it and down the other side. The grass was very abundant. There was lots of water in various places coming down the rocky cliffs and in the ravines. The Salt River even had a few rapids! I highly recommend this hike. The views are tremendous and the "surprise" of seeing the large arch and being able to go to and through it is well worth the experience. In a couple months the nature color will be brilliant.

I do particularly thank Ted, the hike leader. He not only has the experience to lead us on off-trail hikes, but was kind enough to wait for anyone who needed more time to climb certain challenging areas so as to keep the group together. I did not feel hurried, and even though this hike had some difficult sections, I felt I could take my time to be safe.

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2005-01-16 OhOh7
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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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns
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This was a fun little hike to do. I started at the Blue Point/Phon D Sutton trailhead ( ... 1783?hl=en) on Bush Highway.

Six of the seven miles were almost flat, with an elevation gain of around 325 feet over the six miles. The most difficult thing about this portion of the hike was dodging all of the horse poop that is out there. But where there is horse poop, there are horses -- and I saw 6 wild horses on the way back to my vehicle.

The climb up to the Arch was a bit steep, with an elevation gain of around 500 feet over 1/2 mile. It was off-trail, but it wasn't a bad climb, although in a few places it was somewhat steep with some loose gravel. Climbing through the arch at the top, and enjoying the views from the arch, made the climb worthwhile.

Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns
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River was down, so we decided to cross while we could. Wanted to head up to Sky Island and look around. Routed ourselves up and thru Sunrise Arch and up the chute to the top. Went over the cliffs and looked down ( Straight ) worked our way over to Delicate Arch and down Gateway Canyon to complete our loop, great hike will be going back to Sky Island again for more exploring.
Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns
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This hike has been on my list for a few years. Denny suggested this over a hike I brought up, that's kinda long. We hit the road at 0630 and were hiking in the chilly morning air before long. After hiking the three plus miles to the turn off to the arch, I can see why people just wade the river as a shortcut instead.

The off trail up to the arch wasn't bad so we decided to go up the ravine and explore up top. We made it up and over to the Sky Island which has outstanding views. We tried to descend to the NW in a couple spots but couldn't find a reasonable route off the cliffs. So we ended going back up and around to where we had first ascended, and headed back down.

We saw quite a few birds including a bald eagle. Wild flowers are starting to show! Poppies, blue dicks, fairy dusters, fiddlenecks...

Fun hike. Thanks Mr Turtle!
Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns
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Just had to go back to the Sunrise Arch. One major reason is that the water level in the Salt now is very low. In October they cut back the flow. In the summer they let it loose for the tubers and boaters.

I read the chart where it said the current water flow from the dam was 8 to 10 cu. ft. sec. That seemed reasonable to cross. Otherwise you have to start from the Blue Point Trailhead and it ads quite a few miles.

This hike is a major uphill climb all the way to the arch. However from the Water Users trailhead to the arch is really only about one half mile. Please do not let this factor mislead you! Your first job is to cross the river. There are lots of very slippery rocks all covered with green slime. Step by step we selected a route and started across the 100 feet or so of river. Several places we were up to our knees in water for a few step. Certainly did not look that deep! So with boots wet and pants legs wet we reached the other side. This part of the hike was quite a bit harder that I thought it would be.

You will note in the photos that Ted Tenny, who joined our jaunt, was fighting his way through ferns and river growth. Dan and I selected another route that was a bit easier. However Andy blithely took off his boots and socks and waded across without water damage. To each his own. As I recall he also dances through fire coals but that may be a myth!

We then took off following a horse trail for awhile when I was leading, as a photo shows. From then on folks it is really up hill and Ted led the way-some trail remnants and some bushwhacking. Folks, it ain't easy!!! I had also completely forgotten that I had taken several medications and I was rather stupid to try such a climb. The water was pouring off me. I had been to the arch before and through it etc. so I stopped about 100 feet from it to try to regain my sapped strength from the meds. Ted, Dan and Andy went on into the arch and took photos. Some are mine and some are what Ted took.

Actually coming down is somewhat more of a challenge than going up. There is lots of scree and very little trail. I know I can only count this as a mile hike but you really have to put up with some elements of all types-including a king snake that crossed our path.

The arch is spectacular and even if you have to go the long way from the Blue Point Trailhead, you should go see it. It is the largest arch in the Goldfields. Very hard to see from the highway unless you know exactly where to look as it is backed by a rock cliff that blends in. There is a saguaro growing on top of the arch. So, your choice—either wade the river for the shorter way or go from Blue Point Trailhead but be sure not to miss this one. The hike says quite short but it is a definitely challenge. Oh, if you are really skilled and daring go through the arch, down into the first canyon and turn right and climb hand over hand to Sky Island. More than I can handle!!
Sunrise Arch - Goldfield Mtns
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I didn't actually make it to the arch this time, maybe next time. But I started at the same location and broke from the Bulldog Canyon road pretty early, but I was interested in finding a slot canyon that my Scoutmaster took my fellow scouts and I to, back in the day. The slot canyon is located along that cliff band almost directly SE from the TH. It's between the arch and Bulldog Canyon in the area of that canyon just south of peak 2578 and just east of the '2200' on the topo. The mileage is about the same though, some old trail/roads can be used along the way, some faint trails do exist, but be prepared to do some off-trailing. To get inside this slot canyon, you approach from the west on the sloped bank of the cliff. There is some exposure to enter the canyon and some boulders that need to be climbed to make it up to some dry falls with a pool at the base of them. Just another gem tucked away in the Goldfield Mts. :D

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
North on Ellsworth in Mesa through Usery Pass to Bush Highway. Right on Bush Highway toward Saguaro Lake for 2.5 miles. Before crossing the Salt River on the bridge look for a pull off on the right with some signs saying "Blue Point".
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