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Saddle Mountain - Tonopah

Summary: A steep hike / scramble to the top of Saddle Mountain located southwest of the small town of Tonopah. See Friends of Saddle Mountain for more information about the area.
Note: AZ Game and Fish recommends only limited hiking between the months of November and March to protect bighorn sheep during the lambing season.
Directions: From Phoenix, head west on I-10 to exit 94 and 411th Ave. Turn left (south) and drive 2.7 miles and turn right on the Salome Highway. After a little more than 5 miles you'll arrive at a junction with Courthouse Road, which branches left. Turn left onto Courthouse Road and drive 0.7 miles and turn left onto Forest Road (FR) 8211. Remain on the main track for 0.9 miles to a junction. Stay straight on FR 8212 to park at the end of this road a short distance later on a area of reddish dirt.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Moderate
Length: 2.5 miles
Date Hiked: March 2012
Weather Conditions: Sunny and Nice
Required Skills:
Hike Description:

From the road end, look for a trail that begins on the southwest corner of the parking area. The trail winds its way through the desert a short distance before climbing along a ridge up to the right. It then contours along the hillside and climbs to an obvious saddle just to the east of the main peak. At the saddle, the path becomes less distinct as it climbs up to the west. When you reach the main ridge, turn right to climb up to the northwest eventually reaching a ridge with a dramatic drop-off on its western side. Continue upwards paralleling the ridge to eventually gain the peak which features a register and some nice views of the surrounding desert and the cooling towers of the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. When ready, return the way you came.

Rating (1-5 stars):
A friend and I completed the hike to the summit of Saddle Mountain via a steep gully from the southeast side of the peak, only to run into the trail (which we we unaware existed). We used the trail on the descent, then circled back to our vehicle in about 4 hours. 
Maps: Click here for a map of Saddle Mountain. I've marked our ascent route as 'alternate' - it was basically just a steep gully filled with loose rocks and not really recommended.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Saddle Mountain (from the east).

The ridgeline just below the peak.

USGS marker on the summit. View from the summit.