Maricopa County, Arizona, contains 24 incorporated municipalities. Each town or city has a well-defined border so that it is possible to determine the highest point within each municipality. To determine the highest point within each city, I referred to www.citypopulation.de, which shows the boundaries in excellent detail. I then carefully matched those boundaries with the topographical maps at www.mytopo.com to determine the highest point. The highpoint must lie "inside" the city, or possibly along its boundary. However, unincorporated county enclaves are not considered.
Because city limits can change, it is possible for some of these city highpoints to change as the city adds land. Such is the case with the city of Phoenix. For years, its highest point was a tie between the 2,705-foot summits of Camelback Mountain and Suappoa Peak, the top of South Mountain. However, in recent years, the city has added land way to the north, between Interstate-17 and Lake Pleasant. An un-named hilltop, elevation 2,866 feet, lies within this newly-added land and is, for now, the highest point inside Phoenix city limits.
The cities of Gila Bend, Wickenburg, Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek have the potential to add more land and change its current city highpoint. All of the rest are landlocked by other cities, National Forests, Indian Reservations or Military lands so that physical growth is impossible. A few could conceivably grow in size, but are shut out from higher lands so that their city's highpoint will not change.
Below is a list of the city highpoints, as of August 2013.
Avondale Unnamed Peak 3,650+ feet, Estrella Mountains Regional Park, N33.294114, W112.32197. Avondale is currently hemmed in by the cities of Goodyear and Phoenix and is unlikely to annex more land. This peak will remain the Avondale highpoint for a long time.
Buckeye Unnamed Peak 3,671 feet, south of White Tank Mountains Regional Park boundary near “Tower Road”, N33.544232, W112.55086. It is possible that the city highpoint for Buckeye could change if the city annexes more land. For now, this peak is safe for the near long term.
Carefree Black Mountain 3,398 feet, N33.815126, W111.94119. Carefree is unable to annex more land, so Black Mountain will remain the city highpoint "permanently".
Cave Creek Elephant Mountain 3,926 feet, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, N33.895877, W111.98233. Cave Creek is hemmed in by the Tonto National Forest to the north and would be unable to annex more land that would include higher summits.
Chandler Spot elevation 1,293 feet, Northwest corner of Val Vista Drive and Hunt Highway at southeast corner of city, N33.204713, W111.75527. Chandler is effectively hemmed in by Gilbert and the Gila River Indian Reservation. Thus, it cannot expand and its city highpoint, however lame, will remain so permanently.
El Mirage Spot elevation 1,168 feet, Southeast corner of Dysart and Greenway Roads, northwest corner of city, N33.623470, W112.34196. This highpoint is unlikely to change in the long term.
Fountain Hills Inferred elevation 3,180+ feet (20-ft intervals), on southeast ridge of Peak 3804 in the McDowell Mountains, on Fountain Hills-Scottsdale city limits, N33.627723, W111.78733. Fountain Hills is hemmed in by Scottsdale and the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. It's unlikely it could ever annex more land that includes higher summits.
Gila Bend Unnamed Peak 1,733 feet, peak in northeast appendage of city, N33.092668, W112.59312. A peak about one mile east could be within city limits in the near future. Gila Bend could grow enormously in size and possible include any number of higher summits. Its boundaries are in flux, so permanency at this point is weak.
Gilbert Inferred elevation 1,410+ feet (10-ft intervals), Northwest corner of Stacy and Recker Roads in at the southeast corner of the city, N33.206509, W111.70317. Gilbert's city limits in this area are very convoluted and could expand if more land is annexed. A possible new HP could be located 1/4-mile south of Stacey and Recker Roads, where Recker and Hunt Highway intersect. Furthermore, a small hill called Round Top sits on the county line near the Hunt and Higley Alignments, and shoudld Gilbert annex that land, the new city HP would be where the city limits cross over Round Top. The Gilbert Town webpage shows a "planning" boundary that includes these points, but the official city limits, as of this writing, do not yet include these points. For a visual summary, click here for a map.
Glendale Unnamed Peak 1,862 feet, Hedgepeth Hills/Thunderbird Recreation Area near northeast corner of city, N33.689055, W112.17936. Although Gendale has some room to grow, it's very unlikely it will annex higher land.
Goodyear Sevenmile Mountain 2,948 feet, southeast appendage of city, N33.126045, W112.22387. Goodyear could also grow in size, but this prominent peak, located way south near the town of Maricopa, will likely remain the Goodyear city highpoint permanently.
Guadalupe Inferred elevation 1,280 feet (10-ft intervals), on east slope of small hill on western city limits, N33.373056, W111.96855. Guadalupe cannot grow in size, so its highpoint is "safe", unless it gets graded down.
Litchfield Park Inferred elevation 1,125 feet (5-ft intervals), small hill in La Loma Ranch, N33.513216, W112.36099. Litchfield Park is hemmed in by surrounding cities, so it cannot grow in size.
Mesa Unnamed Peak 2,786 feet, Usery Mountains near northeast corner of city, N33.488684, W111.63960. Mesa will not likely annex land with higher elevations. There are points nearby that are higher, but these are on Forest lands.
Paradise Valley Dixie Peak (Peak 2429), 2,429 feet, in western appendage in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, N33.55337, W111.99228. Paradise Valley is completely surrounded. It cannot grow in size, so its highpoint is permanent. Note: the city limits get as high as 2,420 feet on the north slopes of Camelback Mountain.
Peoria Unnamed Peak 2,765 feet, east of Jackass Cove, Lake Pleasant, in northeast appendage of city, N33.88451, W112.22820. Peoria is "famous" for adding land. However, it has incorporated all around Lake Pleasant, but as of yet has not incorporated higher summits. There's an outside chance the city could grow in size, but the nearest higher peaks are some distance away.
Phoenix Unnamed Peak 2,866 feet, near northwest corner of city, east of Lake Pleasant, N33.89695, W112.21772. Should Pheonix decide to add more land north of New River, or the Anthem areas, its highpoint could change.
Queen Creek Inferred elevation 2,225 feet (25-ft intervals), northeast ridge of Peak 2399 in the Santan Mountains, southern appendage of city (within Pinal County), N33.16011, W111.68591. Queen Creek's highpoint is fairly safe. The city could add land but not likely any that contains higher peaks.
Scottsdale Butte Peak 4,890 feet, near northern city limits in New River Mountains, N33.89606, W111.86054. Scottsdale's highpoint is also safe. There is very little room to grow in size, given it has expanded all the way north to the Forest boundaries.
Surprise Spot elevation 1,921 feet, Southeast corner of North 195th Avenue and Joy Ranch Alignment, at northwest corner of the northern appendage, northeast of the Chrysler Test Track. Multiple areas east along the Joy Ranch Alignment also supersede 1,920 feet. N33.825495, W112.481697. The land north in unincorporated. Should Surprise grow in that direction, its highpoint will change, as the land rises in that direction. Don't be surprised if this happens.
Tempe Tempe Butte (Hayden Butte) 1,495 feet, N33.42814, W111.93576. Tempe's boundaries are set, so it cannot grow.
Tolleson Benchmark 1,038 feet, southwest corner of McDowell Road and 83rd Avenue, at northeast corner of city, N33.465304, W112.237895. Tolleson cannot grow in size, so its highpoint is safe. Build-up around Interstate-10 may exceed the "natural" highpoint by a few feet. Visual inspection shows the difference to be negligible.
Wickenburg "Turtleback Ridge" 2,624 feet, west of Kellis Road/Turtleback Mountain Road and across from W. Via del Cielo, N33.946523, W112.738599. Wickenburg has unlimited room to grow in size, so its highpoint could change. The northern city limits come near some peaks that are slightly higher, and if Wickenburg were to expand south, there are higher peaks less than a couple miles away.
Youngtown Inferred elevation 1,150 feet (10-ft intervals), southwest corner of 111th Avenue and Grand Avenue, at northeast corner of city, N33.605124, W112.298652. Youngtown is surrounded by other cities, so its boundaries are set. There is a little room to grow, but the likelihood of the town annexing land is unlikely. In fact, there has been some talk about disincoporating the city.
(c) 2013 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.