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2021-12-15  
7388 - 7455 - North Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-12-15
25 by photographer avatarLJW
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7388 - 7455 - North Peak Loop, AZ 
7388 - 7455 - North Peak Loop, AZ
 
Hiking20.58 Miles 5,353 AEG
Hiking20.58 Miles   9 Hrs   20 Mns   2.71 mph
5,353 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Last week I hiked the crest of the Mazatzals from Rock Creek south to Peak 6768. I came back this week to complete the crest north from Rock Creek to North Peak. The forecast seemed favorable for some low clouds and good run off, and it ended up being one of the best days I've ever spent in the mountains.

Got started around sunrise. Pulled off and parked along the road since I'd be walking it at the end anyway. The roads to Rock Creek are nicer than the road to Barnhardt, but it'll take high clearance to cross the two creeks on 442 when running. Clouds were settled below the crest and made for a nice sunrise. I expected them to dissipate, but they grew larger throughout the day. I ended up walking through the clouds for an hour and a half up Rock Creek Trail until climbing above the falls. There was an inch or less of snow on the trail. Falls were running okay, and I would think Deadman and Sandy were the same and will be so for a few days. I left the trail at some point between the leveling off after the falls and the saddle above Hopi Spring.

First stop 7388. Snowy and slippery up to the summit but easy to avoid bushwhacking. Very steep. Perfect amount of snow for cushioning the downsteps, and it added to the impossible quiet. No register or benchmarks on the top. A worthy summit relative to the traffic. Solid panorama of the Eastern Mazzies and Pine Mtn, the Bradshaws, etc. off in the distance.

Down to the saddle between 7388 and 7455. Maybe better than either summit is the forest on the saddle between. The open pine forest on the cliffs at the top of Alder Creek is one of my favorite places in the Mazatzals I've been to. Climbing the ridge to 7455 is open with sparser pines. The summit is flat and forested except for the views west. The cliffside views along the ridge are awesome.

The forest thickens along the ridge until turning off for the descent to North Peak's southern saddle. It was an easy walk down through the oaks with no bushwhacking. Clouds were cycling around east of North Peak and persisted for the climb and my time at the summit, occasionally passing over west before dissipating. The climb up from the south is a moderate bushwhack and at some times unavoidable. The manzanita etc were covered in wet snow and I was soaking wet by the time I made the summit. No views east for the clouds, clear views north and west. Can't imagine a better day to be up there.

Down the north ridge and in my attempts to avoid the snow-covered brush I overshot the saddle/lookout. Headed back up the trail a shortways and then back down. North Peak Trail was covered in snow most of the way, but the sun had taken care of a lot of it. Trail's in great shape if a little slippery.

Long road walk back. Opted for 451 which is in serious disrepair in some spots. Reminded me of Pole Hollow with the new forest growing in. Circled back around with 414 and 442. Didn't see anyone all day. I did North Peak last year in a loop with Mazatzal Divide, North Peak, and Pole Hollow, but this was definitely the better route.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Alder Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Center Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mineral Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mineral Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Medium flow Medium flow
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