Promontory & Myrtle Points • Highpoint: Gila County
• Mogollon Rim

Date Climbed
1. November 11, 1999
2. November 1, 2003

Elevation
7,920 feet

Distance
1 mile round trip
(Actual hiking)

Time
3 hours
(Includes drive times)

Gain
200 feet

Conditions
Unseasonably warm the first
time, rain and sleet the
second time

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Promontory Butte


Nordic Beth


Some old guy

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The highest points in Gila County lie at the edge of the cliffs along the Mogollon Rim. Here, the Gila and Coconino county boundary runs exactly along the cliff edge, and by dumb luck, two points (Promontory and Myrtle Points) both achieve 7,920 feet of elevation. Thus, hiking to these points is very simple. Previously, it was long believed that Mazatzal Peak was the highest point in Gila County. A hike up Mazatzal is quite grueling by comparison.

I have been to the highpoints twice, once with Ken A., and again with my wife Beth. Both visits have been interesting for their own reasons. The high country atop the rim is very lovely and a nice place to visit in summer. The highpoints are barely worth the effort, but do make a good excuse to come up here.

First visit, November 1999: This was the second hiking date Ken and I had set up, both of us now "serious" about visiting the fifteen county highpoints in Arizona. A few weeks earlier, we had hiked Browns Peak, the Maricopa County highpoint. I drove on that one, so now it was Ken's turn to drive.

Ken was an hour late picking me up, getting bogged down in the freeway construction nearby my home. Then, when we were about 20 miles out of town, his vehicle was running funny, so we decided to return to my house and take my truck. Getting back was an epic, as Ken would ignore (or not hear) my directions, so we ended up following roads and freeways that didn't go to my home. There's more to this story, but not enough space here to fully explain it. Suffice to say, we finally arrived back to my home, where we transferred gear and I drove us.

We arrived into Payson around noon and achieved the Rim near Woods Lake about an hour later. Quickly, I turned left (west) onto Forest Road 300, the Rim Road. First up was Promontory Point. I followed a lesser-quality road (FR-76) south to where it petered out amid some big ponderosa. From where I parked, we walked a mile west and south, finding the highpoint cairn sitting astride the cliff's edge. To make it count, we had to actually touch the outward-face of the cliff, technically within Gila County.

For Myrtle Point, we got back onto FR-300 and went west another ten miles, passing through more open areas and old burns, plus thick forest in spots. We found the side road to Myrtle Point and made the quick walk out to tag the various rocks. The weather had been nice and warm, and we had good success with these two points.

Back to my truck, the battery light blinked on. It still had juice and the truck seemed to run alright, but I was concerned enough to not waste time. We exited back to the paved highways and into Payson. So far, no problems. I drove home and again, no problems. Maybe there wasn't a problem and the light was on for no reason. We got back to my place, shook hands, Ken drove off and I drove to get a dinner. Now dark, with my lights on, my truck lost all power and I had to be towed to a mechanics that night. I'm just glad the truck didn't die on me up on the Rim.

Second visit, November 2003: Originally, Beth and I were going to hike up a peak south of Interstate-8 called Table Top Mountain, but Beth woke up that morning feeling not 100%, and the weather was sort of unsettled, so we opted against Table Top for now, and sat around trying to decide what to do instead. Beth asked if there was an easy highpoint to do, and I suggested the Gila County liners on the Mogollon Rim. So, without any advance planning, we simply hit the road, stopping at the Wide World of Maps shop in Mesa to pick up the necessary maps. We left Chandler around 9:30 a.m. and drove to Payson in a little over an hour, where we had a breakfast at the "Knotty Pine" restaurant, a real locals hangout. After getting gas and supplies we drove up AZ-260 to the Rim and began our quest.

We followed the exact same roads as I did with Ken in 1999. We visited the point on Promontory Point first, and made the quick side trip out to the benchmark that I'd ignored 4 years earlier. The weather was getting sort of nasty, with fog and drizzle and temps in the mid-30s. Unfortunately the views from out over the cliffs were hidden by the fog. As a result we didn't dawdle, and made the round trip hike in about 30 minutes.

The area on Myrtle Point was second. We arrived in much denser fog, with sections along road where I could only see 20 feet. We drove in the little access road (FR-300C) and walked quickly out to the high area along the cliff. I was concerned when I didn't see the cairn I recall from the last time, then I found it, kicked over, rocks strewn about and the register just flung in the brush. I reconstructed everything, then hightailed it back to the truck. By now, we had a light sleet.

We didn;t waste time, driving back to the paved highway and down into Payson, where we ate a dinner and headed for home. The next day we went to the Phoenix International Racetrack to watch the big NASCAR race. It was sunny and warm, the whole experience a complete change from yesterday's sleety and cool hikes up on the Rim.

(c) 2006, 2012 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.