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Saddle Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-11-01
13 by photographer avatarLJW
photographer avatar
 
Saddle Mountain Loop, AZ 
Saddle Mountain Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2021
LJW
Hiking15.79 Miles 4,251 AEG
Hiking15.79 Miles   7 Hrs   27 Mns   2.55 mph
4,251 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Had a go at Saddle Mountain from the Cross F Trailhead earlier in the year and returned for a shorter version of the loop starting at Peeley TH. Sort of a Cornucopia - Thicket Spring and Saddle Mountain Mine Tour Loops combo. Rested my hopes on the sycamores along 25A, and they ended up in the neighborhood of prime. Overall there was more fall color than expected. Got going not long after sunrise and went counterclockwise.

Cornucopia through Thicket Spring not too much fall color. Most of the oaks had dropped their leaves, but in McFarland Canyon near the Sheep Creek jct there was some yellow below the pines. Ascended Sheep Creek to Saddle Mountain Trail, which is my favorite of the bunch. It provides some of the best views of Pine Butte and the Peeley - Sheep ridgeline, and this time around I was surprised by the couple pockets of maples shining bright red.

Left the trail when it seemed the route up the ridge was clear enough. There are just about no good lines through the brush up Saddle Mountain for any sustained lengths. It's one of the rougher bushwhacks, or the roughest, compared to the other summits in that part of the Mazzies, but it is a short one. I think it's overall easier than North Peak, for instance, even if the going is slower. Great views all around but the pano is probably better from the tougher, shorter, southern summit.

Breaked in Potato Patch before setting off again down 91. Saw the only person of the day before heading down to the Sunflower Mine area, a lone backpacker who I thought might be hiking the AZT until I saw him when I was driving out around the 87/Ord turn off. The Mining road that connects 91 to 25A was maintained some this winter but is already in need of some more clearing. It is easy to follow, however.

Along the 25A to Cornucopia under the yellow sycamores. Water flowing down the whole way. No idea how or why anyone drives to the end. Up Cornucopia the leaves dulled as I climbed. Made it back to the TH and it was still empty.
Culture
Culture
Truck Remains/Wreckage
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Peeley Road at peak, Thicket Spring leaves are gone, Saddle Mountain/Sheep Creek prime, 25a and Cornucopia few days past peak
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Thicket Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

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