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Sentinel Peak - 2 members in 8 triplogs have rated this an average 4.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
8 triplogs
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8 Triplogs
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Jun 19 2021
MAP
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 Routes 78
 Photos 1
 Triplogs 56

39 female
 Joined Oct 21 2016
 Tempe, AZ
Sentinel PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 19 2021
MAP
Hiking14.06 Miles 4,167 AEG
Hiking14.06 Miles   10 Hrs   52 Mns   1.36 mph
4,167 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Started hiking around 3:45 am to attempt to beat the heat. Lots of wildlife out in the early morning including an adorable skunk who was not interested in moving from the trail! The trail was great and easy to follow for about four miles. Pools of water here and there with more pools in the lower canyon. The further up the canyon I went it became dry. Also, I saw maybe four bear poos along the lower section of trail. They all looked pretty fresh but felt hard when I poked them with a stick (had to be sure!). The trail begins to have small segments missing around the split from the South Fork of Cave Creek (31.83625,-109.223987) but the trail is pretty much always there the entire hike. It breaks up & is sometimes challenging to find or is obscured by bushes. Anytime the trail seemed to disappear I continued in the same general direction and it would quickly reappear. Flagging and cairns also mark the trail after the point where it becomes more challenging to find.

Leaving the South Fork of Cave Creek #243 trail and heading to Burnt Stump Trail I just went directly up through brush. That small segment (about 1000 ft) was thorny BUT, in comparison with Heliograph Peak (in the Pinalenos) or KP Creek to Blue Peak (in the Blue Range Wilderness), the thorns felt like feathers. There has to be a more direct entrance to Burnt Stump Trail though because, once I found it, it was a pretty nice trail. Burnt Stump has some overgrowth along the trail and a couple challenging sections where the trail washed out & is now a single track. The Burnt Stump spring is right on the trail (31.81542, -109.23684). It is contained my a piece of metal creating a small pool. I'm not usually finicky about water as long as I have a filter but this water looked kind of strange and not something I would drink if it wasn't an emergency. Still, it was there & filled the metal pool in mid-June so that's good!

Then on to the Sentinel Peak Trail. All the peak trails in the Chiricahua Mountains seem to really take it to the next level for that tiny final stretch & Sentinel is no exception. The trail either disappeared or I lost it towards the very top. There's great views getting up there but views are obscured at the very top. There's a concrete pad at the top & I took a quick rest to prepare for the suddenly warming temps (9 am-ish). Headed back down & felt grateful for the breeze and fleeting cloud cover but it honestly wasn't bad. Back in the canyon there is enough tree cover to create shade on one side of the canyon and there was a decent breeze. The flies were pretty insane though. They would not leave me alone. Maybe I was just really stinky at that point. Stopped to cool down at the pools of water a few times which was exactly what I needed. Got back to my car & the temp said 103. It definitely did not feel nearly that hot in the canyon. The hike took much longer then anticipated. I thought I would be back at least a couple hours earlier but I think the trail-finding & navigating obstacles slowed the hike down significantly. Great hike though! The canyon part is so so beautiful, views along the Burnt Stump Trail are gorgeous, & the trails really are in good shape for the most part. I would suggest adding additional time for trail navigation and/or slowly moving through the dry creek bed.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Burnt Stump Spring - SE Chiricahua Dripping Dripping
The metal enclosure holding the water was full. Water was dripping out down the drainage but the pool was completely full. Water did not look great though.
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May 25 2020
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 58
 Routes 525
 Photos 7,282
 Triplogs 478

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Sentinel Peak - Chiricahuas, AZ 
Sentinel Peak - Chiricahuas, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 25 2020
DixieFlyer
Hiking18.20 Miles 4,157 AEG
Hiking18.20 Miles   10 Hrs   24 Mns   1.99 mph
4,157 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This was day #3 of 3 days of hiking in the Huachucas/Chiricahuas, and we saved the worst for last. Actually the destination was fine, but the journey there was a brutal one.

We started and ended the hike at the South Fork Trail #243 TH. Note that the trailhead location is now different from what the guide on this site has for the TH. The reason is that in September of 2014, there was a major flood event in the eastern Chiricahuas caused by the remnants of Hurricane Odile. Large portions of the South Fork Trail were washed out and/or covered in rock rubble. As a result, heavily damaged sections of the trail were rerouted above the canyon bottom, and the trailhead was moved back about 0.4 miles to its current location (31.87345, -109.18478).

The trail was nice and easy to follow for a while. There are quite a few creek crossings -- some are dry and some had some water, but it was easy to keep your feet dry. The trail is generally easy to follow for about 3.5 miles until you come to an apple tree on the left side of the trail (there are several apple trees in the area). Past that point, the trail is sketchy in places, and we wound up having to rock and boulder hop through a dry creekbed in many sections. After about 5 miles you come to Pinnacle Rock, and the trail is pretty much non-existent past that point. We mostly were in the creek bed for a while, and then we were basically bushwhacking.

I had hoped to be able to follow the South Fork Trail to the junction with Burnt Stump Trail #366, but the South Fork Trail had disappeared well before that point. It became obvious that we were not going to be able to follow the South Fork Trail up to the Crest Trail, so we bushwhacked over to the Burnt Stump Trail and took it up to the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. The Burnt Stump Trail was overgrown, but we were able to follow it for the most part. We lost it at one point, and wound up being on a steep, slippery hillside, but we managed to get back on the trail.

We continued on the Burnt Stump Trail until it ended with a junction with Horseshoe Ridge Trail #282. We took the Horseshoe Ridge Trail for about 0.6 miles to the Baker Canyon Saddle, where we took Baker Canyon Trail #225 for about 0.8 miles until it intersects with Crest Trail #270C a very short distance below Sentinel Peak. We then took Crest Trail #270C up to the Sentinel summit.

The sections of the Horseshoe Ridge Trail and the Baker Canyon Trail that we were on were actually fairly decent, at least compared on what we had been through to get to them.

There were more trees at the summit than I thought there would be, so there weren't any 360 degree views. We could see the foundation of what used to be a fire tower, and there was some old rusty stuff scattered around.

To retraced our steps to get back to the TH. On the way back, we were able to stay on the Burnt Stump Trail, although it was largely overgrown with ceonothus, locust, oak, sticker bushes, and other assorted pleasantries. We got to a point where we decided to leave the trail and bushwhack our way down to the creek below. We stayed in the creek bed for a good while until we finally got to where we could occasionally pick up a trail.

I hiked with Tom and Sean, who are a couple of young guys in the Air Force -- both are bad-a$$ hikers who are much stronger hikers than I am. On the way back, about 2.5 miles from the TH Tom was ahead of us and he looked up and saw a bear on the trail ahead of him, about 20 yards away. Tom and the bear stared at each other, and the bear ambled off the trail, crossed the creek, and started going uphill. When Sean and I got there, we could see the bear moving through the vegetation on the hillside. The bear was looking down at us as we were looking up at the bear. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a pic.

This was a tough hike -- I imagine that we were rock/boulder hopping through the creekbed for probably 4 miles of the hike. For me, that was tougher than bushwhacking that we did.

I originally thought this hike would be 14-15 miles, and I would not have hiked Sentinel from here had I known that the hike would be 18+ miles. Starting from Rustler Park would probably have been 19-20 miles, but it would have a much easier and enjoyable hike. I imagine that you could also start from the Mormon Canyon TH and hike an even shorter distance, and perhaps also from the Morse Canyon TH.

I WOULD NOT recommend that anyone do this hike just to bag Sentinel Peak -- there are better ways to get there. We were originally also going to bag Finnicum Peak, but we did not have enough time.

The South Fork Trail seems to be very popular with birders, and I imagine that is the reason that most people go here. There is also a nice swimming hole about a mile from the TH, which might be of interest to some people.

Over our 3 days of hiking in SE Arizona we wound up hiking 45.7 miles with 11,588 feet of elevation gain. This hike was easily the most difficult of the 3 hikes.
Geology
Geology
Rhyolite
Named place
Named place
Sentinel Peak
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
there were next to none as far as wildflowers go

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Fork Cave Creek Medium flow Medium flow
There was a good bit of water in the creek in a number of places.
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
2 archives
Feb 10 2017
Pivo
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 Guides 2
 Routes 423
 Photos 4,602
 Triplogs 3,585

64 male
 Joined Mar 01 2009
 Tucson, AZ
T & A, AZ 
T & A, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2017
Pivo
Hiking4.07 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking4.07 Miles   1 Hour   38 Mns   2.54 mph
850 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 no routes
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Floridasunshine
After starting up T Hill, the U of A PD was enforcing the time restrictions, so we headed over to A mountain to get a little work in for the day.
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2 archives
Feb 05 2014
mtabbert
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 Triplogs 428

68 male
 Joined Mar 05 2013
 Payson, AZ
Sentinel PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 05 2014
mtabbert
Hiking4.25 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking4.25 Miles   1 Hour   19 Mns   3.23 mph
900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Jan 22 2014
mtabbert
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 Triplogs 428

68 male
 Joined Mar 05 2013
 Payson, AZ
Sentinel PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2014
mtabbert
Hiking3.00 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles      58 Mns   3.10 mph
600 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Nov 02 2013
Pivo
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 Guides 2
 Routes 423
 Photos 4,602
 Triplogs 3,585

64 male
 Joined Mar 01 2009
 Tucson, AZ
South Fork of Cave Creek #243Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 02 2013
Pivo
Hiking15.28 Miles 4,580 AEG
Hiking15.28 Miles   8 Hrs   15 Mns   2.12 mph
4,580 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
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Baja Arizona Hiking
Floridasunshine
MyRudy
Hike with the group. Area had lots of burn so the trials are difficult to find. Wear long pants, and gloves, be prepared for a long day and poison ivy in the canyons.
One other group member,Joseph and I bypassed the trail the and took the direct route up to the summit from the saddle. That segment was approximately 3/4-1 mi with 1000' of elevation gain (straight up) ,that workout made for a few adult beverages and baked pasta back in camp.
What a beautiful canyon.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Perhaps 2 weeks early before peak color.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated


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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Fork Cave Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Nov 01 2009
hhwolf14
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 Photos 832
 Triplogs 173

42 female
 Joined Oct 13 2007
 Loveland, CO
South Fork of Cave Creek #243Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2009
hhwolf14
Hiking16.00 Miles 3,420 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles
3,420 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The first 3 miles of this one are worth spending the whole day. The colors are not peak yet, but are still very sweet. There was a light brushing of snow on the slopes of the higher elevations. There's a bit of a question for the total distance of this hike all the way to Sentinel Peak- reports to the Crest trail are 13.8, and I easily bushwacked an extra bit- so I think 16 is fair. The trail is well marked until the last segment climbing to the Crest trail. It is very slow going through here, lots of deadfall, loose rocks and raspberry plants grabbing you as you try to make your way up the slope. It also makes for sore feet and ankles as you head down. I would strongly recommend a walking stick or trekking poles for balance on this one, not usually a fan, but it helped a lot on the way back.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
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Oct 28 2007
sumnergeo
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 Guides 2
 Routes 1
 Photos 44
 Triplogs 24

76 male
 Joined Mar 26 2004
 Houston, TX
Chiricahua Peak from Rustler Park THTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 28 2007
sumnergeo
Backpack31.00 Miles 200 AEG
Backpack31.00 Miles5 Days         
200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Over five days at the end of October and beginning of November, Zac Ribbing, the Trails Ranger for the Coronado Natl Forest, and I walked the Crest and Snowshed Trails plus the adjacent trails to all the springs and peaks. We carried loppers, a pruning saw and a D-handle saw and were able to cut back brush and remove logs along portions of the trails.

On October 28, we backpacked from the Long Park Trailhead to Snowshed Saddle. This is about five miles and took us 2 ½ hours. We set up a base camp in the saddle and worked down Snowshed toward Pine Park and out the Crest Trail toward Sentinel Peak on October 29-30. On October 30 we moved our base camp to Anita Park, about 2 ½ miles back toward the TH and an hour 15 minutes of hiking. We made Anita Park our base camp for Oct 30 - Nov 1 (Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos!). From Anita Park, we walked trails to all the springs and peaks off the Crest Trail.

Weather was perfect with night time lows in the 30s and daytime highs in the 70s. Clear skies made it possible to see over 125 miles in all directions. The waning moon made for dark skies early and moonrise later at night.

Most of my account is of trail conditions because we plan to return in June 2008 with a crew to clear logs and open up the Snowshed Trail to Pine Park from the Crest.

The Crest Trail from Long Park to Juniper Saddle (over four miles) has two large trees across the trail but is otherwise clear of logs, brush, and has good tread. Since there are five (or six) yearlings that seem active along this stretch, they may have improved the tread. The Crest Trail from Juniper to the Price Canyon Trail (about 1 ½ miles) has a number of trees down but is otherwise in good shape. The rest of the Crest Trail out to the junction with the South Fork Trail (another 1 ½ miles) crosses significant areas burned during the 1994 fire and there are hundreds of trees (many of them under four inches in diameter) across the trail but the trail is easy to follow. We scouted the side trails to Chiricahua Peak, Ojo Agua Fria, Headquarters Spring, Anita Spring, and Booger Spring and found the trails easy to follow but with significant timber across all the trails. The trail around the back side of Flys Peak (east side ) to Bear Wallow Spring, the Centella Point Trail, and Tub Springs had only a few trees across the trail. The trail to Flys Peak has many logs across the trail.

Snowshed Trail from Juniper Spring to Deer Spring (about one mile) is in good shape but has one or two logs across the trail. From Deer Spring for about 1 ½ miles toward Pine Park, the trail is difficult to follow. One significant discovery was a switchback about 1/3 mile below (east of) Deer Spring where the trail crosses a large outcrop. Just past the rock, the trail drops about 40 feet in one long switchback. This is flagged and should make trail finding much easier through this area. We flagged, placed rocks on logs and cut and lopped brush to define and reestablish the trail over this segment. Past this, the trail is in good shape and easy to follow although there are several logs across the trail above Pine Park. For anyone coming up Snowshed Trail from Pine Park, follow the rocks and flagging; it is NOT easier to go cross country to the top of Snowshed Peak. The trail from Snowshed Saddle to Snowshed Peak is marked with rocks on logs through the lower portion near Snowshoe Saddle. Above this, the trail is significantly overgrown with aspen and has some downed trees.
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it's the only earth we have
average hiking speed 2 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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