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Black Salt River, AZ
mini location map2022-01-21
27 by photographer avatarDixieFlyer
photographer avatar
page 1   2
 
Black Salt River, AZ 
Black Salt River, AZ
 
Hiking13.30 Miles 2,859 AEG
Hiking13.30 Miles
2,859 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I decided to go out near the Salt River Canyon Wilderness and hike up to two peaks:
1) Black Mesa SRC
2) Salt River Peak

Black Mesa
I had read that FR 3271 was in rough shape, so I parked a short distance off of Cherry Creek road and started hiking from there. I didn't think that the road was all THAT bad, and if I had it to do over again I would have driven in about 1/2 mile and parked at the first gate that you come to. FR3271 is rocky, but it isn't rutted out.

Cherry Creek Road was in fine shape -- it looks like it had recently been graded.

I really enjoyed this hike. The views were great on the hike up, so I did not mind the road walk. By the time I left the road to go to the mesa, there was very little elevation left to gain, as the road almost went up to the top of the mesa. The off-trail up to the mesa wasn't too bad: there was some knee to waist high grass to walk through, but no sticker bushes or anything too onerous. There were a few low prickly pears and some ankle busting rocks, both of which were obscured by the grass, so you couldn't see them from very far away -- so I took my time on this section.

Views at the summit were great. I saw 2 benchmarks and the height of light laying on the ground.

There seems to be a lot to see in this area, so I may have to go back up there sometime and explore a bit.

Salt River Peak
I drove about 1/4 mile on Shute Springs Road, and the road was so washed out that it was undriveable. There was a bypass on the right side, but I wasn't sure what it was like, so I went ahead and parked and started hiking from there. It turned out that the bypass was OK, but by the time I saw that I figured that I would go ahead and keep hiking. I am glad that I did actually, because this extra road walking was the most enjoyable part of the hike (other than being on the summit).

If you are going to drive Shute Springs Road, I'd recommend the clearance of a 4WD vehicle, although you won't necessarily need 4WD.

Once I got to "the summit", which is where the "trailhead" is, I went east on a crappy road toward a saddle north of the peak, and then went on a steep off-trail ascent of the peak. This road was not easy to walk on -- it was like a roller coaster, and it was steep and slippery on the descents. There was a lot of waist-to-chest high grass on the off-trail part, and on the steep ascent the grass in places was almost in your face. Fortunately there was nothing prickly on the off-trail, so it could certainly have been worse. There was some ankle busting rock obscured by the grass, so I took it slow going up and down.

Views at the top were awesome, so the destination was much better than the journey!

At the summit I located 3 flivers: the benchmark and two reference marks. There were more entries in the summit register log than I thought there would be; the entries went as far back as 1983.

Synopsis
I enjoyed the Black Mesa hike the best, although it was cool to be up on Salt River Peak.

Distance and elevation gain for these 2 hikes are below. Stats above are the sum of the two.

Black Mesa SRC: 6.5 miles with 1,323 feet of elevation gain
Salt River Peak: 6.8 miles with 1,536 feet of elevation gain
_____________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
HAZ Member
DixieFlyer's
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