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Bronco Butte - Horse Mesa
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mini location map2014-01-11
5 by photographer avatarclairebear
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Bronco Butte - Horse MesaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2014
clairebear
Hiking7.24 Miles 2,356 AEG
Hiking7.24 Miles   7 Hrs   58 Mns   0.91 mph
2,356 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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juliachaos
Thanks Liz~ for coming up with the beta for this hike and inviting me along! We had discussed it earlier in the week and then met at The Winchester on Friday night to finalize plans over a beer.

We had planned a 6AM departure time from my place in Tempe and we headed out. We followed the weav-y and scenic Apache Trail. Liz found a little camping nook to park her Subaru in along the road to Reavis Ranch Trailhead 109. Then we made our way down to find our path. The chosen route would take a pretty direct way up to the Butte that Liz had mapped out earlier on her GPS. There is no trail this way, but the approach up to the butte from this side is pretty easy despite lacking an established trail. From the road we just pretty much climbed our way up the hill choosing the path of least resistance. In the beginning we were hiking next to an old barbed wire divisional fence. The route was pretty easy- no bushwhacking and minimal boulder hopping. The views were spectacular as we gained elevation.

We worked up way to the top of the rock formations and we were a bit further east from where we had planned initially. No problem, just skirt along the edges of the rock walls and soon we were at an opening where we could push for summit. There was one fun part of pretty vertical climbing, maybe 15 or 20 foot high. The rock wall had plenty of holds and none of us had any problems topping out on this little section. From there, we reached at a flat, grassy section that leading directly to the summit. Just below the summit was a small boulder field and then we were on the top of Bronco Butte, enjoying a great 360 panorama: all the mountains in Phoenix and a great view of the Four Peaks ^^_^^.

The view were spectacular- The Four Peaks didn't even seem that far away and I commented that we should just walk over there next.^^ From the summit we decided to take the 'cairned' route back to the car. It was not yet noon and it seemed appealing to try a different route that would expose us to more of the area.
However, even with the aid of GPS it was still difficult to stay on the route. The route was really hard to follow and there was only a short section where we found the actual cairns. For awhile we were following the route and making really good time, but all too soon we lost sight of any cairns. Eventually we just decided to head down a slope toward the car. The slope leads down into an overgrown drainage and we were all fighting off treacherous desert flora. It was a huge relief to get back to the road and not have to overcome any further bushwhacking obstacles :)
I ended up pulling a thorn out of my side two days later lol.

Obviously this area does not receive a lot of visitors so that is overall a good thing. There were barely any signs of any other visitors on this hike. We did not see another person on the trail even though there was a small amount of cars driving on the road. The whole hike was very remote and very scenic part of the Superstition Wilderness.
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