Off trail in the wine sipping sense
This easy to moderate off-trail hike spans a mesa that separates Tortilla Creek from Fish Creek. It's presented here as a loop hike starting 0.8 miles into FR 213. The hike crosses the mesa, drops down near Tortilla Trailhead, then follows FR 213 back.
Head out straight east until you drop down and hit a dense foliage ravine. Scroll to your right until you find the least path of resistance across the ravine. Or bush-push your way across as I did. Once across you simply head southeast to Peak 3785 across the mesa. It takes some minor effort getting up on the mesa. Then it's a gentle rise across. The going is simple but pay attention or you'll be wrestling cacti along the way.
Better views favor the Fish Creek edge. Optimum photo ops are likely in the late day fading sun. I roamed the area in mid-day light on an overcast day with off-n-on lite sprinkles. One of the better views of Black Cross Butte is from this western vantage point. The main focal draw is down Fish Creek with distant views of the Four Peaks and Bronco Butte. This isn't an eye popping experience like Coronado Mesa. On the other hand it's a better hike with lots of roaming possibilities. The area doesn't show many obvious signs of previous travel. All the use trails I crossed are certainly wildlife created as they dodge under ocotillo and such.
Peak 3785 is the high point on this mesa / wide-ridge. It's not marked on the USGS topographical map but there is a brass cap and a large cairn. You should be able to make out the water tower at Tortilla Trailhead down to your west-southwest. Find a good route down then take the road back. I headed pretty much west and down and encountered typical catclaw for the Tortilla area. You might have better odds continuing south to Hoolie before swinging west.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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