The Best Hikes in Four Peaks Wilderness

884 Triplog Reviews in the Four Peaks Wilderness
Most recent of 443 deeper Triplog Reviews
8.3 mi • 4,600 ft aeg
Exploring alternate routes up Amethyst
My husband and I just completed climbing Amethyst and Sister peaks yesterday! We were excited to be able to bag all four peaks, but we did them in two separate trips. I just wanted to hop on here and give some beta on our climb and how we avoided trespassing on the mine property.
We are both rock climbers, so we decided to bring gear with us to be sure we could be safe while trying some new route finding. We brought a 70 m rope and a small trad rack. It was the perfect amount to protect, but also lightweight. We knew several people had done this traverse without gear, but we decided to prioritize safety :) I have seen some comments on mountain project saying this climb goes at class 3, but I think that could steer some hikers and climbers wrong and put others in a situation where they really need gear to be safe, but didn’t bring it because of one person’s opinion. There are a multitude of no fall zones, so prepare wisely!
Anyways, my husband and I wanted to climb peak 3 and 4, but we didn’t want to trespass on mine property. In all honesty the chute directly above the mine is definitely the best way to get in between three and four easily, but it’s closure to the public means that’s not an option anymore. I had seen a suggestion from other climbers saying to go past the mine property to a chute Closer to the backside (south eastern) of amethyst. We explored back there and there ended up being three distinct class five climbs that we used gear on. It was definitely hard to tell what side of the mountain we were on because there was no visual of the rest of the peaks from the backside. However a bushwhack scramble spit us out on the saddle going up to Amethyst Peak. It is a nice option to be able to do the Traverse going 4 to 1, so I hope that people continue to find routes by Amethyst. If anyone is interested in going up the south eastern side of Amethyst I would recommend bringing some gear because the cliffs get pretty sheer back there.
Seeya out there!

Claire
8.3 mi • 4,600 ft aeg
First time doing the Motherlode. We opted to go North to South because we wanted to avoid the private property and thought a downhill scramble would be easier than uphill when connecting the Ridgeline to the trail. We camped at the TH on the night before and started the hike at 6:00am. We followed the GPS track from this website and it was a BIG time saver. I think this traverse was not as difficult as others have said because we just had such good beta from all you helpful folks. We descended Amethyst Peak via this sketchy side drainage in order to avoid the mine. The recent fire burns and brush made the descent kind of miserable. We summited Amethyst Peak by 1:00pm but got back to the car by 4:45pm. We could have made way better time if there was a more useable (and legal) route to connect to the Amethyst trail.
5.2 mi • 2,064 ft aeg
We started this trail at about 2am and hiked it in the dark. It took about 3 or so hours of super slow hiking to reach the saddle. Once we were at the saddle, we then set up a few hammocks and slept for an hour for the sun to rise, and then hiked up to the peak once it was light outside. Awesome sunrise, would do again, but probable start a little earlier, maybe around 8pm or so.
5.2 mi • 2,064 ft aeg
The forest service opened 143 from the Tonto Basin to the Lone Pine TH. I don’t like to be dramatic, but it’s bad. Very bad. Simply everything is destroyed. Very, very few pockets of pine trees still exist. From SR-188 through the 12 miles to Lone Pine TH, I saw one small group of pine that was intact. While Fire typically burns in Mosaic patterns, this one burned probably 90% of the wilderness. Of that 90%, probably roughly 80% was high intensity just by what still exists. Fortunately, the manzanita is regrowing, but this area will need extensive restoration efforts for years ahead to return somewhat to what it was before. The road seems repaired & re-graded up to the Lone Pine Road. The road was pretty rough. High Clearance recommended. I did not do much more than 500’ of the Brown’s Trail since the TNF still has a closure order.
6.06 mi • 2,193 ft aeg
Arrived at the TH around 7 am. A little later than I had planned but it worked out fine. It was a cool 57 degrees to start and a nice 78 degrees by the end. A great day for a hike. Overall, I have no additional inputs for the route. It was relatively easy to follow and I was moving along the trail faster than I had thought. Until that last push to the top. Haha. It was a good way to get familiar with the area. And the views! I stayed up there for at least 30 minutes just enjoying the peak. Some bushes were covered in ladybugs! Thousands! After enjoying their company, I headed back down, jumped in the truck, and finished the trip enjoying the scenery.
Overall, Brown's Peak was fun but I need more. Motherlode here I come!
8.75 mi • 3,200 ft aeg
This is the traditional 4-3-2-1 approach. We hit the trailhead at 6AM and headed out to the Amethyst mine. About two miles in there’s a post with trail descriptions. Continue right. Follow the trail until you’re almost at the base of Brown’s. There’s a campsite and a trail heading south that can be hard to miss. Make your way to the Amethyst mine, go around the ‘no trespassing’ fence and start heading up the chute, left of the building. The chute took us 30-40 minutes to get up. Try and stay right as this will save time once you start heading up to peak 4. Rather than going more so along the eastern side of 4, we headed up early off the chute up a safe route heading south. After we got to the top of the false peak, we simply made our way along the ridge east up to the peak. Either way, getting up to 4 is pretty self-explanatory. This is a great time to study the other peaks and potential routes.

Coming off 4, we advise staying as high as possible along the ridge line. Get to the base of 3 and find a solid route more so along the east side. The west side contains more sheer cliffs. Any route you take up the side of 3 will start to get more technical and into some borderline class 4 spots. Once you’re high enough on 3, the ridge line is simple to follow over to the summit. We made it up to 3 to find another ammo can and a flag. Study peak 2 really good, this is obviously the hardest one. We suggest not taking the distinct Pete’s Reverse Z ramp, as tempting as it may be. You will know the slab when you see it. We decided to try for a safer route.

Coming off 3 can be a bit of a challenge. The east side of it looked pretty sketchy to us so we tried our luck on the northwestern part. Try and come off 3 heading straight north but veer west a bit to avoid some other cliffs. At this point, we headed straight for the bottom of the Reverse Z, at the base of 2. We did not ascend up the Reverse Z, for good reason. We ascended and wrapped around 2 along the east side. Almost exactly halfway around the East side, we felt it was safe enough to ascend straight up to the summit. This part is class 3 & 4 scrambling up rocks with great holds. We went straight up and arrived exactly at the summit of 2 to find another ammo can. We made it up peak 2 in about 1 ½ hours.

Follow the rocky ridge off 2 until it ends with an abrupt cliff northernly. Keep in mind, the east side of this ridge will be about a 50-foot drop, but the ridge is safe to hike along. Make your way off that, descending down the west side and heading directly north. At this point, there will be a few spire formations and small peaks that we avoided going over. It’s best to stay along the base of them along the east side. Spiraling up the east side of peak 4, was almost a clear trail. Well, a clear trail for this kind of hike that is. Similar to our approach on 2, we wrapped about halfway around the east side of 1 and climbed straight up. Any farther east around 1 toward the northern side would’ve offered a sketchier climb. Descend off peak 1 directly west. There will be a distinct chute to descend down. After you get to the bottom, it’s about two miles till the parking lot. Round trip, we made it in about 8 hours and 30 min.

Overall, this hike/climb is a blast if you treat it that way. It can actually be fun route finding if you’re smart about it. Going with two people makes it a lot easier to scope out routes. It would be great if this route was groomed someday and became more popular!
7.8 mi • 4,060 ft aeg
First, thank you for the beta posted on previous triplogs and the GPS route that I downloaded and used via Route Scout app.

I hiked the four peaks on 5/27/2019 starting with Amethyst, the most southern, and in order of 4-3-2-1. My Strava app logged 9.7 miles and 4,332 vertical feet. I began at Lone Peak Trail Head at 6am and returned 7hr and 45 mins later. Temps were in the 40's (f) throughout the morning, tons of wind, overcast (only over the peaks though) and there was a chance for rain. Perfect!

I made it to the summit of peak 4 (Amethyst) in 2.5 hrs. Very windy and cloudy. From the summit of peak 4 I could not see the saddle between peaks 3 and 4, nor any other peak. Heading down to the saddle from peak 4 I tried not to follow the GPS. This lead to some wandering and descending below the saddle, resulting in the need to hike back up. This added a lot time.

I eventually had to use the GPS to find the path that started up to peak 3 from the saddle. Shortly after starting on the path I climbed up an alternate route to the main ridge and headed north to the summit instead of traversing along the western side of peak along the GPS route. I don't advise this if you are uncomfortable climbing class 5.5 or 5.6 rock with exposure. For me this was a very straighforward way to the top. I can't speak for the GPS path, but this route has some fairly technical sections so be aware. At 3hrs and 50 mins I made it to the summit of peak 3 (sister). From the summit it was still cloudy and the saddle to north and peak 2 were not visible. Descending peak 3 to the north I descended too much on the west side and ended up hiking back up a gulley on the south side of the prominent towering rock feature in the middle of the saddle. I believe the GPS route will keep you a bit higher on the north ridge of peak 3 and you can avoid the bushwhacking. Despite this detour the traverse over to peak 2 was not that bad in terms of finding and following a path, mostly because I think the weather was clearing and once I crossed the saddle between peaks 3 and 2 I could start to get a view of the east side of peak 2 and where to go up. By this time my phone battery was at 10% so i was not checking the GPS.

I arrived on the summit of peak 2 in just under 6 hours. Although the skies were clear by this point I didn't stay long. I descended north along the ridge until I almost came to the cliffs that descend to the east. There was an obvious opening in the cliff where it looked like a good place to descend. It seemed further down than what I thought was possible, having vaguely scouted a route from Browns peak on previous hikes. The down climb through the opening in the cliff was the sketchiest of the entire hike for me. Lots of loose rock and steep drops. On the way up to Browns (peak 1) I wandered a bit looking for the path that started the steep climb up. Once I found it, it brought me up just east of the Browns peak summit.

I loved this hike and plan to return.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
We went in from canyon lake and found a spot to anchor and tie up the boat. There is a buoy marked for the reef where we had seen another person tie up their kayak in a video on youtube. There is a large rock to the right of that buoy that has some yellow writing on it. We anchored between these 2 spots. After anchoring, all 5 of us started our nearly vertical hike/climb to the cave. We started out trying to go mostly straight up from that spot, aiming for the wall that leads to the cave. We were met with a dead end as none of us were prepared to do a serious climb. We backtracked and took an approach going to the east. We realized at this point that it would be a lot of zig zag hiking to reach the path along the highest cliff wall. We did happen to see a couple cairns on the way up. But, they did not seem to be on any type of "easy" path. We saw virtually no wildlife other than small lizards. Luckily the temperature never exceeded 86° considering the previous days temperature was 100°. All but one of us was able to reach the cave. He had to turn back to the boat just minutes from the cave. Once at the cave we thought we would be able to see more remnants of the event. We were slightly disappointed by the lack of evidence but still enthralled by our success. It took roughly 90 minutes for the first of us to reach the cave. The 2nd hiker reached it in about 105 minutes, the 3rd and 4th in 130 minutes. We had a lunch in the cave and explored the cave looking for any possible traces of the the event. We found a few bone fragments and some interesting rocks. We admired the walls timeline of previous explorers as well. All in all, it was a great experience. The reward of more remnants would have been the icing on the cake. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our time together and felt a great sense of accomplishment for our adventure. For future hikers, trail markers would be highly advised. Just please remove as you come down to keep the area natural. Everything looks pretty much the same so it is hard to find the way you came up.
25.77 mi • 5,861 ft aeg
Pine Mountain via Ballantine
Ballantine to Boulder Flat
Best scenic hikes in glacier nation...
Best scenic hikes in glacier national park

Did most of this by headlamp. Trail is in great shape and seems easier than it did back in 2016. Either the hills are settling or I ate my Wheaties this morning.

Boulder Flat to Rock Tank
Trail is in relatively great shape! Thanks @mt98dew for your maintenance last year. Only wandered off trail once (and it was only through waist-high manzanita, so meh), and there was one or two spots that required crawling, otherwise kept up a solid pace all the way to Rock Tank. Speaking of, that spot is gorgeous. Got some Horse Camp Seep vibes, only these tanks are somewhat protected and the water was delightfully cool. Finished water in pack (3L) and pulled to full capacity (4.5L).

Rock Tank to Pine Mountain
Trail got a bit thicker for awhile, then it entered the pines and holy wah awesome. While I was in the area I zipped up the Connector trail, which is a bit of an annoying thing, got nice views from the road... er, AZT. Ballantine got a bit hard to follow deeper in the pines, with some overgrowth and needles hiding the tread, didn't mind too much. Missed the main cut off from the creek and hacked my way back to cairns and eventually the saddle.

There were hints of path from the saddle up to the summit, plus hints of rock walls / ruins, which kept the off-trail section interesting. Vegetation was definitely not an issue. Made it to the summit unscathed, found two metal disks, and then retreated. Again, easy summit to do, with several open sections and paths. If it gets too hard just backtrack and look around.

Descent to Cline Trailhead
From the saddle down to Cline was in ridiculously good shape. Big cairns, recent maintenance, and great views. Going up this in the afternoon would be a scorcher. Things started to get hot near the bottom because it's apparently summer already or something.

FR 143
It's a road.

Connector Trail to Boulder Flat
At this point I was hot, running low on water, and a joy to be around. Bike trails are not the easiest to hike, either, with the narrow ruts, steep sections, loose dirt, and steep sections. I slipped more than a few times and my knees were hating me. At least the views were good?

Boulder Flat to Ballantine Trailhead
After polishing off the last of my water at the Flat I felt a little better. Plus, it was all downhill and the temps were already sinking. Pine Creek (S) got some recent maintenance to keep the trail out of some of the drainages and it looks fantastic.
7.07 mi • 2,866 ft aeg
Four Peaks Mother Lode Attempt
Headed up for yet another Mother Lode attempt with a group of four others. Was hoping that more people == more chance of success... didn't quite work out that way. Tried to hit sunrise from top of Brown's but we moved too slow for that, missed it by a solid hour. After a short break we made a painless descent to the 1-2 saddle and accidentally dead-ended on that divot there, which caused a demoralizing backtrack followed by a fairly clean ascent up 2. Descent down 2 was soul-crushingly slow. There were rumblings of a mutiny before we hit 2-3 saddle, and a few minutes into that break all four of them were set on a retreat down to Amethyst Trail. I had been carrying summit brews for everyone, planning on sharing at Amethyst, decided to selfishly hog them to ease my saltiness at this betrayal. Descent down from the saddle was surprisingly easy (well-defined path heading down on the north side of the drainage) and a sour ale buzz made the rest of hike out passable.

One of these days, Mother Lode, one of these days...

(PS think there was a @DallinW and @The_N sighting on Peaks 4/3 too!)
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