No ladybugs, just lizards
Ladybug Peak is a small peak compared to others in the Pinaleno Mountains (8780 feet), but its 360 degree views and cool forest make it a good day hike destination.
Wanting something longer than the half mile trail from Ladybug Saddle to Ladybug Peak, I decided to begin my hike at the Turkey Flat trailhead along the Swift Trail. I began following the Turkey Flat Trail uphill through the firs and gambel oaks, and enjoying the views of Heliograph Peak in the distance. At one point I spotted a small cluster of aspens hiding among the other trees below the switchbacks. After a 300 foot climb, the Turkey Flat Trail meets the Ladybug Trail in a saddle on Veach Ridge. Someone has constructed a nice rock sitting area here.
The Ladybug Trail began climbing up Veach Ridge, switch-backing up the rocky slopes on its way to Ladybug Peak. Passing under a vertical knife-like rock labeled 8359 on the topo map, the trail soon after entered into the dense fir forest of the upper Pinalenos. After a 600 foot climb up the beautiful, thickly forested ridge, I came to the junction with the Bear Canyon Trail. Turn right onto the Bear Canyon Trail at the junction. After about a tenth of a mile, there will be a little side trail taking off to your left (look for two old metal signs nailed to a tree that are being grown over by the tree). From here it is a short two minute hike up to the top of Ladybug Peak.
I was surprised when I suddenly came upon the summit; I'd expected it to be a little bigger. There were no ladybugs to be seen, only a few lizards who wanted nothing to do with having their picture taken. From the rocky ten foot by ten foot summit, I could see the town of Safford, the Chiricahua Mountains, Sulphur Springs Valley, the Galiuro Mountains, and Mt. Graham itself. After a short stay on top, I made a quick one mile round trip hike to Ladybug Saddle, where the Bear Canyon Trail meets the Swift Trail (highway 366). Arriving back at Ladybug Peak, I disappeared again into the dense forest, and headed back downhill to Turkey Flat.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.