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Coyote Peak - Coyote Mountains
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mini location map2015-02-21
24 by photographer avatarvagabondjeff
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Coyote Peak - Coyote MountainsTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2015
vagabondjeff
Hiking10.30 Miles 4,200 AEG
Hiking10.30 Miles   9 Hrs   15 Mns   1.25 mph
4,200 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike was "unfinished business" from 2010. Back then, seven hardy souls attempted this peak. We were led by hiking legend Randy Weber. For various reasons, we turned around just short of the peak. In retrospect, that was a bad decision. In 15 years of hiking and thousands of miles, that's one of the rare times I have not completed an intended hike. There was blood, guts, tattered clothes and friendships. This time the hike would be completed.
This year, there would be four of us trying to get to the top of Coyote Peak. This hike was posted on Alt-Hiking Meetup Group out of Tucson. My fiancé, Donna and I would be returning, while the other two were new to this hike. I had the track from our attempt in 2010 and thought that I had uploaded it to my gps. However, when I turned on the gps at the trailhead, it was miraculously gone. Oh well, I still had my memory. Right!
The "trail" starts off straight forward from the trailhead at the end of Dill's Best Road. There is ample parking there for several vehicles. The trail follows a fence then bends around to cross an old dam where it turns into an old road and proceeds westbound with some elevation gain until it starts down into a wash after about 1.7 miles from the trailhead. Here the trail crosses somewhat of a berm and you pick up a fairly obvious trail that starts climbing up the right side of the wash.
Supposedly, the trail was made by a local rancher so his wife could ride a horse to the top of Coyote Peak. It does go all the way to the top although you will have a very difficult time finding it in places. It was made many decades ago and is severely overgrown in places and seems to just disappear in others. Often times it's only visibility is a few rocks that seem to be in too straight of a line. In many steep places along the top of the ridge line, it makes tight little switchbacks. It is amazing the amount of work that was put into it.
So from when you start up the trail from the berm to the ridge line, it is about another mile, give or take, depending on how often you stray from the trail. You hit the ridge line with about 2.7 miles and 2,000' vertical behind you and to this point, it's pretty straight forward and not too difficult. From here you kind of wind your way along the ridge line crossing it several times and bypassing many of the little prominent sub-peaks along the way.
This next part is grueling, frustrating, and painful. It has more sharp protuberances intended to harm you than any place I have ever hiked. The worse are the shin-daggers and cats claw. Plowing through spanish bayonet, agave, and scrub oak become the best option. There are "mine fields" of the shin-daggers and cats claw. The trail has boulders that have fallen across it and trees that have grown up on it. Near the top, the scrub oak is particularly dense. I didn't even mention the cactus.
On the way up, on the last steep climb to the summit ridge line we got a bit off trail and had to work our way back around to the northeast to pick it up. Don't do this!
We made it to the top in about 4 hours and 45 minutes. After a 30 minute break we left the peak for the return trip which took us just under 4 hours. While we stayed on "trail" better, it seemed the sharp pointy things had multiplied.
Back in 2010, Randy had said you will either love the Coyote or hate it. The line between love and hate is a fine line. Never has that line been finer as here in the Coyote Wilderness. After the first time up here, I said I would never go back. Well, that turned out to be incorrect. After successfully getting to the top this time, I really mean it. I will never go back. Well, probably not!
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