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Big Horn Peak - Big Horn Wilderness

Summary: A steep hike / scramble to the highest peak in the Big Horn Wilderness.
Directions: From Phoenix, head west on I-10 to exit 81 and Salome Rd. Turn right and drive 0.6 miles to a bridge across a spur of a CAP canal. Turn right before the bridge and follow the fence line and canal 3.5 miles north. Turn right and look for a small pull out on the left next to a bridge across the main CAP canal.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Moderate
Length: ~5 miles
Date Hiked: February 2012
Weather Conditions: Sunny and Nice
Required Skills:
Hike Description:

From the parking spot, cross the bridge over the canal and follow the road to the right and up and over a small hill. Hop the fence on the right and head east along a dirt road, then turn north on a spur road just before reaching a prominent hill located between the "Borrow Pits" (a fence will be on your right). Duck under the barbed wire fence and travel cross country to the northeast towards an arm that extends off of the south side of Big Horn Peak (see map below). It's an easy stroll through the creosote bushes, though you'll have to cross a few minor washes as you near the bottom of the slope. As you near the arm, scan the peak to make note of a prominent ravine that forms a notch near the top of the south facing side of Big Horn Peak. Though you won't be climbing up the ravine your route lies just to the left. With the ravine identified, climb up the arm to the northeast to eventually gain a rounded shoulder. Turn left (north and slightly west) to continue climbing at a more gentle grade up the teddy-bear cholla dotted slope (using care note to brush the cacti). Continue in a westerly direction across the ravine you had identified earlier (you'll see some cliffs at it's head). A less prominent ravine lies just to the west of the main notch, use this one to climb up above the cliff bands. Although the climbing is not technical, you'll want to stick  to rockier areas that provide better traction. Above the cliff bands bend northeast once again to climb at a diagonal to a rocky ridge that lies below the summit. Climb straight up this ridge to a minor saddle just to the east of the peak. From here, it's a short scramble to the top of the peak itself.  The summit features great 360 degree views and has a register located in a fruitcake tin that dates back to the early 1990's. The summit seems to get about a dozen or so visitors per year. When ready, return the way you came, using particular care on the loose rock as you descend the steep slope.

Rating (1-5 stars):
I completed the hike to the summit of Big Horn Peak and back in about 4.5 hours at a medium pace. .
Maps: Click here for a map of Big Horn Peak.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Big Horn Mountain.

The peak from below.

Looking up from the shoulder. View from the summit.