|Squaw Mountain - New River Mountains, AZ|
|Squaw Mountain - New River Mountains, AZ|| |
Squaw Mountain - New River Mountains, AZ
|Hiking||26.58 Miles|| 10 Hrs 51 Mns ||2.89 mph|
|4,690 ft AEG|| 1 Hour 40 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|NOTE - This triplog is a bit long, as I included some ‘drive to the trailhead’ info. Maybe it will inspire more hikers to give New River Mountains a try.|
My hike destination was Squaw Mountain in the New River Mountains, and my main challenge was how to drive close enough to this mountain to do my hike.
The Drive Portion
- I drove 10.1 miles in, and 10.1 miles out - Total drive time in and out - 5 hrs 51 minutes.
That’s about a 3.45 mph average ‘crawl’ speed for the FR 560 drive portion. Drive AEG 2,465 Ft.
This part of the New River Mountains is rather remote, and I don’t believe this area is hiked alot.
I know AsuAviator drove an ATV on FR 560 to get to this area of the New River Mtns, and Topohiker actually ‘hiked’ all the way there on FR 560. (WOW ! and YIKES)
Well, I don’t have an ATV, and I can’t walk that far, even on a road (over 25 miles round trip).
So, I’ll have to rely on my Jeep to get me closer.
Last week, I hiked on Cooks Mesa, and the recon I gathered inspired me to try FR 560 as a drive route to get closer to Squaw Mtn. I knew driving the out-of-date, unmaintained ranch road would be very challenging, if not impossible. I was fully aware I may have to abort the drive, and turn around way short of a decent hike start point.
Although there were six or seven spots on the 10 mile drive in, that had me thinking “Abort”, I was able to drive the road to a hike start location without incident.
The 10.1 mile drive/crawl to my ‘trailhead’ took me over 3 hours.
FR 560 begins on the far eastern side of Cooks Mesa and ends 12.4 miles later, off the mesa, to the west. At the west end, FR 560 actually climbs about 1,000 Ft up the side of a ‘No-Name’ mountain, one mountain past my destination mountain. The west terminus of FR 560 is at a cattle tank, appropriately named ’Top of the Mountain Tank’.
This tank must have been important to ranchers, as it took alot of work, time and effort to construct a road up the side of that mountain. FR 560 actually has a ‘cut’ on the side of that mountain, in order to go upslope on a more horizontally level, flat surface.
I had read that the west portion of the road bed was totally gone. - Not so.
By using Google Earth (and other aids) I was able to locate the entire track of the far western end of FR 560, including the ‘up the mountain’ part. It’s definitely not drivable, once it crosses South Fork Squaw Creek and starts going up to the tank, but it is easily hike-worthy. That portion of the road is more like a wide, overgrown trail, but it is there.
So, for anyone with a high clearance, 4-WD vehicle, I can verify that getting close to those mountains on FR 560 is doable. I wouldn’t dare attempt it after a rain, however.
The hike portion
- 6.6 miles - AEG 2,229 Ft.
Since I knew FR 560 still went all the way up the side of that ‘No-Name’ mountain, once I parked the Jeep, I decided to hike the road all the way to its end, even though I knew I’d have to backtrack and go up higher, to get up Squaw Mountain.
In total, FR 560 alone is 12.4 miles long, and including the drive and hike, I covered the entire length of that road.
Cool - Now I have bragging rights. (that nobody in their right mind cares about).
From the end of the remnants of FR 560 at ‘Top of the Mountain Tank’, I bushwhacked up to Squaw Mountain.
Why go up this mountain, you may ask?
Well the top of Squaw Mountain is the location of a little disk in a boulder, named ET 2 JEK.
ET 2 JEK is the last of 5 disks I have located named “ET (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) JEK”. This series of traverse stations start with #1 on Perry Mesa and were set, going east, all the way to West Cedar Mtn, which is home to #5. The challenge (through the last few years) was to hike to all five disks, and this was the last, and most difficult one to get to. (HA - Another proud moment for me that no one else should care about).
Once done with photos on the mountain, I took a more direct track down to S Fork Squaw Creek, then used FR 560 back to my trailhead. The drive out, over Cooks Mesa was the same slow crawl, but luckily uneventful.
This was a long, sometimes tedious adventure, but well worth the effort. Too bad the New River Mountains are so remote. If they were just a bit closer, many of us would spend alot more time exploring them.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|