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Fish Creek Peak, AZ

no permit
23 6 0
Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,373 feet
Elevation Gain 1,500 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.7
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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11  2014-02-22
BCB 4806 - Fish Peak Loop & BCB 3351
15  2014-02-22
Black Cross Butte 4806 - Fish Creek Peak Loop
15  2014-02-22
BCB 4806 - Fish Peak Loop & BCB 3351
10  2014-02-22
Black Cross Butte 4806 - Fish Creek Peak Loop
11  2011-01-27 AZOutdoorsman
12  2005-12-25 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
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, Apr → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:29pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Sassy Desert
by joebartels

This off-trail hike follows my Black Cross Butte route to the saddle before making a mean direct approach to Fish Creek Peak.

From the pullout dip through the usually dry creek and head up to the first bench. This ego buster slope starts out steep and just gets steeper. The final push up is a 55 degree huffer. On the bench keep left up to the second bench. Cairns should help lead the way for this next section up to a saddle that's the only real break in the wall looming ahead. If the cairns fail you the key is to aim right or you'll waste time going through vegetation.

From the saddle continue down the ravine on the flip side. Stay high on the right bank, there is one section you'll drop down into the ravine for a short distance, but get back out soon or you'll hit vegetation galore. As you appoach the apparent confluence you want to get further right and cheat the confluence. Fish Creek Peak is the huge rock-butte looming above. It's easiest to access from the slanting ridge on the right. It is doable from the left but it's not as direct and you're more likely to get frusterated. Here's where it just gets nasty, you have to cross this Amazon looking forest that lines the ravine. It's at least twenty to fifty yards of hell no matter how you tackle it so just have at it.

You can head pretty much straight up to the peak but the time spent fanning wide to the right is well worth it. Once you get on the ridge follow up to the rock-butte peak. It's easy climbing that spirals the back side (really west side) up to the top.

If you're familiar with upper Fish Creek then that huge wall spanning the west ravine might look a little familiar. There's some fair distant views too, but... Now for the bad news. This isn't the greatest destination. Other hikes such as nearby Black Cross Butte or Bronco Butte have more "breath taking" views.

Return by the same way but be careful as accidents are prone to happen on the steep loose decents.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2005-12-25 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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Fish Creek Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Black Cross Butte 4806 - Fish Creek Peak Loop
    Collaborative effort to put this one together. Joe suggested the area and laid the framework and I put together the loop track. Long Play and TT joined us to make up the foursome. Perfect weather all around on this one. If you are one that likes to follow a trail, this is not for you. It's all bushwhacking and whacking bushes. Climbing starts right out of the gait.

    When you reach the first saddle .75 miles in you reach the pointer showing you your target We chose to head east before climbing to minimize some of the real thick stuff. The lanscape was just incredible.

    There were two main areas that you had to physically beast through. Both are in the wash that runs to the north of the peaks.

    Every time I head out to the Supes and climb to the top of a new area, I see somewhere else that I NEED to go to. At the top of Black Cross Butte 4806 I have some more ideas.....
    Kinda nice that you can see both Apache and Canyon Lakes from up there.

    The route from BCB 4806 to Fish Creek Peak worked out great. Nothing hard at all. Joe choose to scale the Eastern face of the peak; John, Denny, and I choose the SW approach, which was a little more ramp like. Great views of Upper Fish Creek, Tortilla Peak and more.

    This was a day of "Top That" between me and Denny.
    Denny drove a cactus needle into the top of a toe. Extraction caused a good spurt of blood.
    Denny's up.
    I get a 1/2" long needle embedded completely under the skin on the back of my hand. I had to make it "Stand Up" so Denny could tweezer it out. The geyser followed.
    Bruce up
    With the truck in sight, Denny slips going downhill and falls hard. When he got up I noticed the Ocotillo spring away from his face revealing one side of his face bleeding a bit (OK...more than a bit), way to close to his eye... He was lucky, and wins.

    Great to hike with John Zeppelin and Tommy Turtle again.
    Joe always keeps it interesting...
    Fish Creek Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix take the Apache Trail out past Fish Creek Bridge. Pass two more one-lane bridges and park in the first major pullout on a bend left. Download the GPS route for exact reference.
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