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The Best Hikes in Southwest

1,174 Triplog Reviews in the Southwest
Most recent of 522 deeper Triplog Reviews
4.13 mi • 1,221 ft aeg
 I decided to take advantage of the cool weather and hike to another low elevation peak. This one has an elevation of 3,084 feet and prominence of 1,124 feet; plus it is the highpoint of the Little Harquahala Mountain range.

Instead of following the HAZ default route, I went out-and-back on the ascent route that @FLYING_FLIVER used when he did this hike.

I believe that a sedan could probably make it to where I parked. I had intended to drive about 1,500 feet further, but there was a big dropoff into a wash. I could have gotten in and out of the wash, but I decided to go ahead and park and add the extra 1,500 feet to this short hike.

This hike follows the same MO as most hikes to the obscure peaks that I have been doing recently: hike across the desert floor to the base of the mountain; go up a steep slope to a ridgeline; and then follow the ridgeline to the summit.

This one turned out to be much easier than most though. Hiking across the desert floor was on an easy-to-walk-on road; the ascent to the ridgeline was not very rocky or brushy, and wasn't all that steep; and once on the ridgeline there is a use trail that can be followed all the way to the summit. So this one turned out to be a fairly easy and enjoyable stroll on a nice day: it was sunny, not too windy, and temperatures were in the low 40's when I started and in the low 50's when I finished.

At the summit I located the benchmark and both reference marks, and I also built a cairn to hole the height-of-light upright. I stayed up there for a while to enjoy the nice views, and retraced my route on the way back. I stopped my to see the azimuth mark on the way back, and also spotted a mine shaft.

This one turned out to be better (and easier) than I thought that it would be.
6.29 mi • 394 ft aeg
Senita-Victoria Mine
 drove from quitobaquito back to the senita basin trailhead. bobby did the loop, and i did two thirds of the senita basin loop and then took off on the victoria mine trail, went to the mine, then headed back to the campground where i met up with bobby again (he drove back from the senita basin trailhead). interesting note: no actual senita cacti were spotted on or around the senita basin loop trail. they were all on the drive in, once you got off of the south puerto blanco road.
0.71 mi • 30 ft aeg
 Apparently they had to remove the vegetation around the pond when they replaced the liner recently. it looked odd without all those reeds. saw some sonoran mud turtles in the pond and some tiny fish upstream. we did see where they had temporarily transplanted some of the vegetation just a little bit away from the pond area. 12-second turtle video: [ youtube video ]
4.04 mi • 2,108 ft aeg
 After camping overnight along the road, I started out from the car at 7:50 am. It was 37°. A little cold, but not bad if I kept moving. The trail is easy to follow. At the road it is marked by a couple of fence posts, and there are cairns all along the trail. This is a great hike to start at sunrise, and watch the sun work its way down on the peaks.

There was a little snow on the trail, and occasionally a frozen pool, but the ice and snow were never a problem. Lots of vegetation here: manzanita, barrel cactus, yucca, ocotillo, prickly pear, brittlebush, cholla, and grass everywhere. I heard but did not see a spotted towhee on the way up. The guide is correct: this trail is steep. And when it is not steep, it’s steeper. I had to shorten my poles to 105 cm on the way up, and extend to the max on the way down.

It took me three hours to get to the top. Lots of people report two hours or so, but 3 hours would be typical for me for a hike like this. I spent an hour on the top. There was sun, no wind, and I enjoyed reading the summit register while eating my lunch. A shout out to earlier HAZers I saw in the log: Dixie Flyer (12/21/20), Jim_H (3/29/18), Ben Chumley (1/21/18). There was an enigmatic signature by Mrs. Fred Becky (sic) Seattle (1/17/16). Wasn’t sure what to make of that one.

Going down was quicker. I started to see other hikers as I headed down, including a couple who were obviously spooked by the steep trail. Although, I would say the road was definitely high clearance, there was a VW Golf at the trailhead when I left. Not sure how they made it there.
3.1 mi • 1,700 ft aeg
 Another trip to one of my favorite destinations in west-central Arizona. Saddle Mountain is still pristine, despite the constant human presence below, with spectacular plants and equally spectacular views. I did notice that someone or some group has been busy here. Trails below are well-marked as never before, with small basalt boulders lining trails in some spots. Also, an increasingly visible trail is now forming on top beyond the intermediate saddle. This seems a result of large numbers of cairns, directing hikers toward the summit. With most hikers now following cairns, visible trails are forming. Whether a good thing or a bad thing is entirely subjective, I suppose, but I'll give it two thumbs up. Down below, I came upon a couple of petroglyph sites I had been previously unaware of, so a good day all around.
3.25 mi • 361 ft aeg
 We made the road from Ajo to Charlie Bell Pass in a Subaru Outback on April 5; most of the road is not bad at all, but the last mile is really rough as people have said. We saw no one along the way or on the hike, just one flyover by a Border Patrol helicopter. There was water in the wildlife basin. This is an amazing site for petroglyphs and other remnants (if you know what to look for) of the Hohokam and other early people of SW Arizona. At the trailhead there is now a telephone for people in trouble with directions for its use in English, Spanish, and O'odham.

Wildflowers
Ocotillos were in flower; also a few hedgehogs.
3.63 mi • 1,134 ft aeg
Casa Grande Mtn Flag Trail
 This hike is my normal go to hike that I do 2,3x a week for the cardio. Sometimes do the same trail (with the family) just past the electronic towers and take the dirt trail to the top of the peak which is South West from the gate but not as far (2.53 mi). When with the family, I don't make it all the way to the Flag. It is a nice hike which starts out on a dirt road from the parking lot, really easy to follow. When you hit the pavement, that's when the fun starts. Remember to regulate your breathing (in through nose, out through mouth) and keep pushing on, your heartrate will escalate! Once to the top, follow the fence line trail South to the top and continue on this trail South/South East (you'll see Old Glory to the South). The trail goes up and down the ridge line all the way to the top of a peak which Old Glory is atop. Follow the trail back the way you just came and you'll be good! There is another trail you can take back down called Bolt Trail almost back to the towers. This trail is ok going up but kinda slippery going down due to gravel and such.
6.11 mi • 1,460 ft aeg
Telegraph Pass hike
 Walked the road outbound to just past power pole 74 where I turned left to reach the official trailhead. Road walk was intermittently steep and always rocky. This appears to be the preferred route out. From the gate at the trailhead the road is concrete all the way to the last of the towers at the top. Winds were fierce, causing another hiker to scream in fright at the top. The return trip from the trailhead was on an actual trail to the right of the road. After about half a mile of ridge walk I dropped down a purple dot-marked trail into a wash where I followed purple and orange dots back to the parking area. Didn’t see a soul on the return trip! Definitely a steep and serious workout trail, but worth the time to take in the views.
15.3 mi • 1,574 ft aeg
 Wanted to take a few friends out for some arch fun and eagletail arch was settled upon. I wasn't very keen on the 10 mile out and back slog from off Centennial with a knee injury so we opted for the condensed version.
We drove out to the eagletail wilderness trailhead. I was very surprised to see 2 vehicles about a mile past the gate but no humans. Off we went approaching from the opposite direction than in the past. Excellent views from this end. Scrambled up to the arch and had a bit of fun climbing around and retraced our steps out. Perfect short hike for my recovering knees.
2.6 mi • 1,210 ft aeg
 Began the hike on a Saturday, a little before noon. The trailhead was busy, with NPS vehicles taking up three spaces for a crew doing trail work. While putting on our boots, several cars pulled up but with nowhere to park they had to continue on.

The trail started out gentle and easy. When the unmaintained section began, it climbed steeply up a sideways sloping rock incline. From there it zigzagged further upward through multiple steep segments with a few brief sections requiring both hands and feet to ascend. After a heart pounding ascent reminiscent of the last third or so of flatiron, we reached the flatter section up top. Beautifully constructed large cone shaped cairns led us in the direction of the arch.

Taking the split to the left brought us to a dramatic overlook, and the trail appeared to continue downhill but faded into obscurity. Continuing about 30 feet in this direction on a horizontal rock scramble, one can see a steep, loose social trail below leading to the arch. Alternately, hiking back to the former left turn and taking a right instead follows a different set of cairns to that same steep, loose social trail.

That trail loses another 200 ft in elevation before turning into a flat section along the base of the wall out of which the arch is carved.

The arch itself is staggering, as are the views from underneath. It is difficult to fit the whole arch in a single photograph due to its massive size, but you can come close if you scramble over to the far side from where the trail terminates.

The descent was a bit brutal on the knees, but quicker than the ascent. Overall a very worthwhile hike! :y:
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