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North Butte - Gila River, AZ

Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.6 of 5 
no permit
54 6 0
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,720 feet
Elevation Gain 1,275 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.85
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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32  2016-02-13
Gila River:Cochran to Tunnel to Dam
21  2013-02-23
North Butte-South Butte Loop
15  2013-02-23
North Butte-South Butte Loop
29  2012-11-12 FLYING_FLIVER
25  2005-09-12 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 241
Routes 830
Photos 11,805
Trips 4,651 map ( 23,785 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:40am - 5:36pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

A river runs near it
by joebartels

Having recently hiked South Butte it's only natural I wanted to hike North Butte. This butte viewed from South Butte is gorgeous! It's also more eye pleasing from Florence. Like Sedona and the Grand Canyon it's eroding and seems to have more color and steep terrain variation.

The beauty comes at a price. In which you pay in short steep slopes to near climbing. Nothing is really technical. Going up is fun in the fact that there are no trails or even cairns about. Route options appear to be plentiful. The only down side being the terrain itself. It's pretty unstable, so be careful. On my late summer trek, the mostly dead vegetation was cranking out micro thorns of some sort. These micro needles are similar to the fine needles on prickly pair cactus. I'm don't know where they came from but they sure did itch.

The top of North Butte consist of three high points. The lowest being on the north to the highest on the south. Most people likely head straight for the southern high point as it's the peak. I headed straight up to the middle high point. It seemed impossible getting closer but proved to be fairly simple requiring only minimal hand assist.

Once on top, I took in the views all around. The terrain is small boulders and large plates of rock, many of which are unstable. I didn't venture out to the north edge, but thinking back it may have offered the best views. I moved on south to the peak. The views were a little disappointing compared to South Butte but it was hard to complain on such a beautiful day.

South Butte is definitely the best of the two buttes as far as views go. South Butte also has a nicer cliff edge. The terrain is easier to negotiate too. However, if you're looking for something a little more challenging off the beaten path then North Butte is worth a visit. I recommend wearing long pants or gaiters at the least.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2005-09-12 joebartels
    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
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Florence go north on SR79 over the usually dry Gila River. Perhaps within a quarter mile comes the first right turn. This is E Price Station Road. Take this generally unmarked dirt road east. When the road turns into a sandy wash you will be heading up N Box Canyon Road. The junction is subtle and unmarked. The trailhead, a cleared swath of desert on your left, is just over 12.2 miles from SR79. There's enough parking for about 10-15 vehicles. The sandy wash which becomes the road is too deep for cars. High clearance is probably fine.
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