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Mount Peeley Summit
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mini location map2015-07-25
19 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Mount Peeley SummitPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 25 2015
ddgrunning
Hiking5.12 Miles 1,704 AEG
Hiking5.12 Miles   3 Hrs   1 Min   1.70 mph
1,704 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had had this one on my wish list for awhile. I was intrigued by the claim to be the fastest way to get to 7,000 ft. from Phoenix. With temps in the 105+ range in Phoenix, I figured it was good day to get up to 7K.

My wife found the 8+ mi. dirt road drive from the Mt. Ord turn off to be the most challenging part of the hike, with the narrow, and sometimes steep road, that often skirts along the ridgeline, or with fairly steep drop-offs on one side or the other. :scared: That said, the road was actually in pretty good shape, so long as you have high clearance. I wouldn't want to drive it when it's muddy. I also found myself wondering what I would do if I was confronted with another car going the opposition direction, as there are precious few spots wide enough for two cars to pass around each other safely. Thankfully, on this trip, we didn't have to find out :D

As for the hike, the views of the surrounding area on the hike and from the summit were fantastic, as anticipated. That said, the trail itself was a bit disappointing. The photos linked to the trail description conjure visions of Flagstaff--with all the pines, etc. I hadn't connected that the photos linked to the trail description pre-dated a big fire in the area that gutted a lot of the pine trees, thus really cutting into the beauty of the trail itself. So, where it talks about stands of Ponderosa Pine "as dense as I've seen," that's probably no longer an accurate description. Also, where it says that the "forest floor is quite clear" on the off-trail route to the summit, that's not as accurate today either, as there are a lot of fallen trees to navigate around, as well as a bunch of scrub oak that has sprung up where the "dense pines" presumably used to stand. It's still not particularly cumbersome, but you do have to pick and choose your path a bit.

One other tweak on the description: It suggests that at 1.25 mi. you get to "a nicely shaded area of predominantly Ponderosa Pine." Perhaps, he meant 1.25 mi. beyond the turnoff to the Cornucopia trail--or in other words, about 1.75 mi. from the TH. At least per my gps, we were still on the east side of the mountain ascending the switchbacks well after we hit 1.25 mi., and I'm sure the shaded spot he was referring to isn't until you round the north side of the peak. The "shaded area" still exists, but with a lot fewer trees, post-fire.

The pile of rocks mentioned is still present, though a little past 2 mi. I posted a photo of the pile in case it helps others to have a visual. For reference, when we hiked it, there was a Mazatzal Wilderness sign that we passed, propped up on the left side of the trail, several hundred feet before the rock pile came into view.

As for the off-trail ascent, we saw various cairns in various places, but nothing that resembled an established route.

Even the established trail is getting a bit overgrown.

From the top, we soaked in the views and signed the summit register, where we found the entries of several other HAZ-ers (many of whose triplogs I read before going). We also enjoyed encounters with a few horny toads--one as small as I think I've ever encountered.

There was one other truck at the TH when we arrived, but we didn't see anyone else on the trail.

A nice hike--for the views--but not going on my list of "gotta-do-on-a-regular-basis."
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