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Bronco Butte - Horse Mesa
8 Photosets

mini location map2003-10-18
11 by photographer avatarjoebartels
photographer avatar
Bronco Butte - Horse MesaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 18 2003
Hiking1.40 Miles 2,356 AEG
Hiking1.40 Miles   2 Hrs   4 Mns   0.68 mph
2,356 ft AEG
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Attempted and failed

So I'm looking at maps last night and notice Bronco Butte. Immediately I scratch my previous planned hike into Haunted Canyon and start trying to figure out the best route.

I figured there were two options. Either pick up a ridge near Fish Creek or take off on a sweet ridge tapering down to Apache Resort.

Woke up early and headed out. I wanted to just take off from Fish Creek and forge up, but figured it'd be wise to check out access on the other end first. Headed over to Apache Resort to check things out. It does look pretty easy but figured with all the people around I'd rather take off from Fish Creek. Coming back I checked out another option I noticed along the way. About 100 yards after the Reavis Ranch Trailhead turnoff on the opposite (north) side of the road is a cruel sandy road (Crabtree Wash). As mentioned I noticed it (or a spur off of it) went practically to where I wanted to go halfway up the mountain. I figured it was an old mine or something, but later noticed Crabtree Spring is there so that must be why the road is there I guess. At any rate Crabtree Wash takes you down to the little camping/beach pay area next to Apache Resort. I think the spur road up to the spring was 4x4 so I just decided to head back to Fish Creek and get on with the hike already!

Jumped out and started towards my pre-planned route. There was a couple camping at the area marked "Picnic Area" on topo so I jumped out of the creek to go wide as I'd rather die then snag on the small chat.

The cacti was thick but negotiable without incident. I went real slow watching every step as the temps seemed perfect for snakes to be out and about. Didn't see any snakes. Did see a big centipede, it was huge. I've seen millipedes before but this bad boy had big long legs and moved like a hover craft over the desert floor. Missed out on a photo as I got to picky trying to get a close-up. About ten feet later was startled by a tarantula. Of course the shock goes away quick and kept moving on looking for snakes.

I was glad there wasn't any hog-nats as I'd experienced days ago on the four peaks. Oddly though there were flies attacking my legs but that's nothing in my book compared to the face attacks.

The terrain got pretty steep and I began to doubt I'd truly make it to Bronco Butte. Nevertheless, figured I'd continue on as you can't learn without failing every now and then. Ended up getting pretty steep and came to a big fin ridge that I couldn't figure out with my printed map. So I just went up a tiny outcropping to check out the views and turn around. Going down was pretty friggin steep, had to scooch on the hinney a couple times :lol:

I was mesmerized this tiny outing went so quick. Only an hour each way. Of course it only turned out to be 0.7 miles each way, which was mostly up with a 850 ft gain. Probably comparable to a 0.7 mile stretch on Piestewa, minus the trail of course.

The best part of the day came unexpectedly. I stopped at the rest-stop/overlook above Fish Creek. Followed the sidewalk, which seems odd out in the middle of nowhere, to it's end. I thought there was going to be an overlook. There was but the ridge went on for some distance. I continued on expecting it to peter out quickly. As it turned out it went on for almost a half hour. I kept grabbing for my water hose on my Camelbak only to realize this was suppose to be a "quick" overlook :lol: The views where cool, but what was really cool was I was only a half mile from where I just hiked overlooking the whole area. I could easily see where I went wrong and took pictures for notes.

Got home, scoured my photos and tried planning a better route. Then decided I'd give old Google a whirl. Turns out Bronco Butte is anything but unconquered. There's even a radio tower, heli pad and windsock. The butte is also a geotrashing point of interest. Which I swear I'll keep my comments to myself as the trashers get so offended :roll: The recorded trips where interesting in one aspect. A guy mentioned a trail on his Superstition map. I quickly grabbed my Beartooth and wouldn't you friggin know it, there's a TRAIL. It's a cairned route but still, I can't believe I just scaled a friggin wall when there's a trail a quarter mile over. C'est la vie!

Guess I'll have to return but it sure did lose some of it's allure. Nevertheless, the views should be awesome.
- joe
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