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Chiricahua Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-05-24
12 by photographer avatarLJW
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Chiricahua Peak Loop, AZ 
Chiricahua Peak Loop, AZ
Hiking21.14 Miles 5,720 AEG
Hiking21.14 Miles   9 Hrs      2.82 mph
5,720 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I fixed a hike I did last summer by swapping Mormon Ridge for Saulsbury and turned it into a loop. Ended up on six summits: Little Baldy, Fly's, Chiricahua, Paint Rock, Monte Vista, and Johnson. Basically a longer version of the Chiricahua Peak - Monte Vista Peak Loop with, by my count, 7 obvious summits to choose from: these six and Raspberry Peak. Once on the crest of the Chiricahuas, the peaks never loom too far above.

Started at sunrise parked down E Turkey Creek Road by the Coronado NF sign. The road to Saulsbury involves crossing the running Turkey Creek, which denies access to all but those with a nice enough ride. Saulsbury is in fantastic shape to Saulsbury Saddle. Comes and goes for the middle portion, higher up is clear as well. Much prefer Sauls to Mormon. Nice forested canyon down low and better views higher up. Little Baldy Mountain is right off the trail and very much worth the effort. Not many bare summits in the Chiricahuas, so it's nice to have some panoramic views even if it's not one of the high peaks.

Round Park and the slopes of Fly's Peak are prepping for the summer wildflowers. Few monsoons and they'll be covered yellow. Fly's has the weakest views of the six. Fly's trail is gone from the south, except where it cuts through the aspens higher up.

Crest Trail was in great shape the whole way. Will be overgrown and spotty in the summer, but for now it's clear and smooth. Cut over Chiricahua Peak to Aspen Saddle on Crest 270A. Aspen Saddle has amazing views, enough to placate those disappointed by Chiricahua Peak. From Aspen Saddle Crest 270D heads to Chiricahua Saddle. Very uneven, and the trail disappears in parts come summer, but it's clear now. Worth it to, if nothing else, circle back to Crest that way.

The trip back from Chiricahua Peak to Turkey Creek is the best part of the loop. Crest Trail runs along the ridge right under Paint Rock. Passed it, then worked my way up from behind. Obvious route, sees more hikers than I thought. One wall to scramble up to make the summit. Best views of the day, easy highlight of the loop.

Took Crest down to Monte Vista. Great shape the whole way. Met a second pair of hikers on the summit. Tower unoccupied. More Crest to the saddle below Johnson Peak. Wasn't going to summit Johnson but I met a hiker who was thinking about heading up. Said if he's going I'm going, and we went up. Hundreds of ladybugs on the summit. Views are pretty good despite the trees. Neat little summit.

Morse Canyon in great shape and received recent maintenance. For one reason or another Morse gets the most help of the trails off Turkey Creek. Passed a couple campers who were hiking up to the saddle, exhausted, who asked about big views. Sometimes you can only shrug. Farther down, a group of birders were in town and had lugged out cameras with cartoonishly big lenses to photograph a bird that I guess hadn't been around those parts for twenty-odd years.

Nice to get down there while it's still cool. As a Phoenix resident, in season in summer usually just means beats the hell out of 100F by noon. Temps ranged from high 40s to high 70s. Not a cloud in the sky. Camp sites were packed for Memorial Day weekend, but the trails are never crowded.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Morse Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Saulsbury Canyon Light flow Light flow
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