August 25, 2008

Hiking in Arizona: Four Peaks Wilderness

So the last few months, I have driven by Four Peaks a few times and have always wondered if hiking to the summit was possible. If you are unfamiliar with these mountains, they are located about 60 miles northeast of Phoenix. Browns Peak is the highest peak in Maricopa country with an elevation of 7,657 feet. For those familiar with Phoenix, that is roughly 400 feet shy of being three times the height of Camelback Mountain.

Four Peaks Up Close

Time To Give It A Shot

Yesterday, I decided to finally give it a shot. I read up on what trails to take and how to get to the trailheads. From what I found, taking a dirt road over 12 miles was the only way to get to the starting trailhead known as Lone Pine Saddle.

How To Get There

There are two different ways to get to the trailhead, both being dirt paths.

Route #1

Take the SR87 northeast out of Phoenix until you see the FR143 sign on the right hand side. It is easily noticed because there is a sign saying Four Peaks. The downside to this route is the road is very rough. It is not recommended for a small car or low clearance vehicle. Which is why I went with route #2. It is approximately 19 miles until you reach the trailhead, so plan on taking some time to get there.

Route #2

Route #2 requires a little more driving. You have to drive on the 87 until you hit the 88 junction just south of Rye. From there you take the 88 south towards Roosevelt Lake. On the right hand side, there is a turn off for the FR143 which is also marked. This road is steeper and shorted than the one coming up the west side of the mountain. But it is much easier on your vehicle. It is also a shorter drive, consisting of 12 miles of dirt road driving.

The Lone Pine Saddle Trailhead

Once you reach the parking area on Four Peaks, you will see a couple signs marking the different trails. Make sure to double check the trails so you know which one you are on. This was my main mistake on this adventure.

I ended up taking the Four Peaks Trail (#130) instead of the Brown’s Peak Trail (#133). This resulted in walking a really long ways, only to notice that I started to circle the peaks. The trail was still a great time however. I managed to see some wildlife and even heard a loud 4-legged creature, which could of been a bear or mountain lion. I am not real sure…

Here is a view of Theodore Roosevelt Lake I took along the way:

Next Stop, Brown’s Peak

So I will be returning to Four Peaks soon to finish my goal to make it to the very top of Brown’s Peak. I plan to do it in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for a followup post.

UPDATE: I have since returned and hiked up to Browns Peak, check out the video and pictures here.

10 thoughts on “Hiking in Arizona: Four Peaks Wilderness

  1. Jorn

    Justin, you definitively live where I want to live.. that’s just great to have such places as you’ve been posting pictures of nearby.

    I have to drive at least 300 km to see a mountain..

    Keep up posting pictures..

  2. Jenn

    Route # 2 is fine in a regular car as long as you do not get terrified driving on a dirt road with 1,000+ ft cliffs on either side of you, and don’t mind losing hubcaps.

  3. Pingback: Browns Peak Hike - Arizona

  4. Dina

    Thanks for sharing your experience with others.
    I would love to hike to the top of Brown’s peak, but I have no one to join me,I guess I’ll do it by myself.I’m really excited about it.
    Terrific photos!

    1. Tammy

      I will hike it with ya Dina. I’m always hiking alone as well and not safe but I will be darn if I’m staying inside!!!!!!


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