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Santa Rita Crest Loop, AZ
mini location map2019-10-17
10 by photographer avatarLJW
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Santa Rita Crest Loop, AZ 
Santa Rita Crest Loop, AZ
Hiking18.87 Miles 5,341 AEG
Hiking18.87 Miles   7 Hrs   55 Mns   2.94 mph
5,341 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Looking east in Madera Canyon the rock walls and peaks that make up the Santa Rita Crest are just about as imposing as Wrightson itself. I decided to take a tour around it and summit three of its peaks- McCleary, 88 Mac (Peak 8853), and Mount Ian- before ending with Wrightson. Started around 6am and was the first car at the trailhead.

Super to Pipeline there was a gentle flow of water in the creek. Some of the trees down there are just beginning to change color for the fall but are still a while away from some nice color. Passed Roger's Rock and was happy it was just a side show on this hike. Four Springs was a little confusing as trails fork off a number of times, and it's unclear where they go. Trail is faint in spots by Armour Spring, but overall the trails were in good condition.

There is just enough of a trail to make the short climb out onto the ridge and over to McCleary a navigational non-issue. Rocky with a hint of scrambling.

Got onto the Crest Trail and decided to forgo Florida Peak. To have gotten it would have added a decent amount of elevation gain and around 2-3mi. Took Crest to the saddle by Mac, left the trail, and walked up the ridge. Much better ridge walk than McCleary: more open, and more even footing with better views along the way and from the top.

Back onto Crest and it moves down away from the peaks before rejoining them about 1-200ft below Ian's summit on the east side after some switchbacking. Very quick climb up to the top. A small colony of Ladybugs were still holding strong on Mac and Ian. A little bit of scrambling required, and there was no clear use trail from the direction I came, but leaving one existed intermittently.

Decided I couldn't skip Wrightson and the opportunity to look back over the way I came. Views were better with each peak. Shared Wrightson with a few other folks as clouds started to coalesce a few hundred feet above us.

Took Super 'round the mountain and enjoyed the warm sunshine and cold autumn wind. The Upper section of Super is one of my favorite stretches in the range, and yet is so much less trafficked than the lower section. Saw a twin-spotted rattlesnake around Riley Saddle. Wildflowers were moderate on super just above and below Josephine Saddle.

Josephine Saddle down on Super saw four groups of hikers. Evidence of recent bears on Pipeline, Four Springs, Super, and the northern parts of Crest. Temperatures ranged from low 60s to high 70s.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Aspens by Ian are starting to change, as are those on Josephine Peak. Very little color overall
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Mostly on Super above and below Josephine Saddle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Armour Spring Dripping Dripping

dry Baldy Spring Dry Dry

dry Sprung Spring Dry Dry
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