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Castle Dome Peak - KOFA, AZ

Guide 20 Triplogs  1 Topic
  4.7 of 5 
no permit
247 20 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.52 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,000 feet
Elevation Gain 2,081 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,089 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.97
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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23  2020-12-22 DixieFlyer
11  2018-03-28
Thumb Peak - Castle Dome Mountains
13  2017-03-12 Jim_H
4  2017-03-03
KOFA sampler
42  2015-12-19 Jim_H
15  2015-12-12 chumley
12  2015-03-08 Tsd906
5  2013-11-30 Booneman
Page 1,  2,  3
Author RedRoxx44
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 21,553
Trips 615 map ( 3,413 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location outside, anywhere
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Jan → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Winter
Sun  5:28am - 7:48pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Off trail peak bagging
by RedRoxx44

Castle Dome Peak is an off-trail trek in the Kofa Wildlife Refuge north and slightly east of Yuma, Az. It's not a technical peak, but you had better have good route finding skills, endurance for endless bouldering and scree surfing, bushwacking, and there is some exposure on the route.

My partner and I got an early start, slightly after 8:00 after trying to find the TH in the dark, not recommended. The wash is wide and finely graveled, with a little vegetation to dodge. It is very scenic right from the start, with the towering dark and reddish rocked spires enclosing the area. Keep an eye out for Bighorn Sheep here. The wash winds around. Some cairns show up, and there are several ways to leave the wash. Castle Dome is right in front of you here. Your goal is to get to a prominent small spire next to the main rock massif. We decided to almost head the wash, very narrow, constant boulders and lots of catclaw.

From the saddle looking over into Kings Valley and back down our route, it was surprising to see how much we had already gained in elevation.

Here we climbed several ridges, skirting large rock outcroppings. It's rough, somewhat loose, and very steep. We gained the "cactus-filled saddle" just below the spire. Here you will see a faint trail that will lead you to the spire base. Now you have a choice of a couple of Class 3 short pitches, one very easy we descended, one more vertical, and about 200+ feet exposure.

We climbed that one, a bit tight under some boulders. We didn't have a rope, and it was a bit scary for me. Next, you will see cairns skirting along the cliffs leading you up over sharp jagged rocks. A fair amount of exposure here, but the rock is solid, and the footing is good.

The summit is elongated and undulating, and you have tremendous 360-degree views. The peak register is in an ammo can on a prominent rock outcropping to your right when you gain the peak. This is a training climb for the Golden Knights team, so quite a few military sign-ins up there. Looks like light use overall.

The downclimb was worse than the up, lots of scree, we both sat down three times. We cliffed out twice; you either have to do a traverse at the base of the main peak across or go down some ridges, almost going away from where you want to go to the wash. In the middle are sheer unclimbable cliffs unless you have a 150+ foot rope and climbing gear.

We descended a lovely dry waterfalled chute, it dropped off, and we climbed out to continue down a drainage to the wash. We couldn't have timed it better for weather, cool, a little wind, and although hazy on top, it started to clear as we descended. The next day blew like heck, so I headed home. We did some other exploring in the area. Gorgeous once you get off the beaten path.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2006-01-16 RedRoxx44
    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

    To hike
    From Yuma take hwy 95 north/ from Quartzite take the same hwy south. 35 miles north of Yuma turn right on the Castle Dome Mine Road (left if coming from the north). This is a well-graded dirt road. Drive north to the mining museum about 10 miles, past it about 5 miles on a narrow washed-out track. Castle Dome will be in front of you and you will contour around the foothills to the northwest side. Look for a wide wash with a no vehicles sign in front of it after coming around a curve. Ample parking in the wash.

    This access road is currently closed and the gates are locked. Signs on the Castle Dome Mine Road were recently placed and show the road across the small section of private property are now closed to entry. Contact the NWR for more information and for when the road may reopen. There is an alternative from the north, but it is long and a strictly 4x4 rough road, I have been told.

    Since Labor Day of 2019 a bypass road has been open to get to the Castle Dome TH. This is from the KOFA website: "Kofa National Wildlife Refuge has constructed the Castle Dome Bypass Road around private inholdings on the refuge. The bypass road will restore southern access to the Castle Dome Mountain area. The road is for high clearance vehicles only. It is not suitable for RV's or trailers."

    I saw a triplog from Jan. 2020 where someone made this comment: "Our GPS tried taking us past the Castle Dome Mine Museum, but we were blocked by a roadblock. We inquired at the museum and were told by a woman that we had to go back and use another road. The new turn-off is located at 33.02983, -114.20242, a much less good dirt road, but still passable by my Subaru."

    GPS track for the drive on the bypass that is between Castle Dome Mine Road and the trailhead.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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