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.
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.