Calderwood Butte • City of Peoria
• Maricopa County

Calderwood Butte from the 99th Avenue Trailhead

Saguaros stand on the steep hillside

The top up ahead

My hiking pole at the top

Southwest view of the ridge that comes from that way, with the White Tank Mountains in back

Southeast view toward Sunrise Mountain and the morning sun

Calderwood Butte from Sunrise Peak, Jan. 2017

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Prominence Peaks


Date: September 4, 2016 • Elevation: 1,703 feet • Prominence: 303 feet • Distance: 1.4 miles • Time: 35 minutes • Gain: 310 feet • Conditions: Pleasant • Teammates: Other random hikers and their dogs

During the hot summers, I like to keep a few short hiking options open, and in recent years, have identified a number of little bumps in the metro-Phoenix area that I can "climb" without too much effort or time. For one thing, I had no idea how many such bumps we have here in metro-Phoenix. There are dozens, going by the minimum 300-foot prominence rubric. Many are developed into city-run parks with trails.

Calderwood Butte is one such hill, located in Peoria, roughly near Jomax Road and 99th Avenue. The Agua Fria River runs along the base to the west. In recent years, a lot of new homes have been built surrounding this little peak. A small parking lot on 99th Avenue serves the trailhead.

I left home early and was here a little before 7 a.m., the sky a sunny blue but, surprisingly, the air temperature rather nice, instead of already hot. My new Subaru's thing that tells temperature had the outside temperature as 75 degrees, which is great for this time of year. I got here by following AZ-101 (Loop-101) to Interstate-17, then Happy Valley Road west a few miles to Lake Pleasant Parkway, then to Jomax and then 99th Avenue. The drive covered 30 miles.

I parked, got my shoes on, and started walking at 6:50 a.m., following the trail up onto the east slope of the butte. The trail angles left (south) then switchbacks up the south-facing slopes, gaining the top ridge after about 250 feet of elevation gain.

On the ridge, the trail drops slightly to the other side, bends left (west) and rounding a ridgebump, the top is in view up ahead. The one-way hike took me 15 minutes, covering about 7/10 of a mile. Four people and one dog were already on the summit. I spent about five minutes looking around. The weather was really nice.

The day was clear with almost no humidity. I don't get out this way much, so identifying all the little hills is kind of tough. The big White Tank Mountains were to the west, and all sorts of hills and peaks up north toward Lake Pleasant.

The hike down went quickly and I was back to the car at 7:25, a 35-minute hike. This hike had gone better than planned. First, I did not expect it to be as short as it was. Second, the weather was so nice, I still had energy for more walking. It seemed silly to drive 30 miles for such a short hike, so I looked for another hike in the area.

Nearby are two more significant hills, West Wing Mountain and Sunrise Mountain, with both trailheads at West Wing Park near 83rd Avenue. I drove there, parked and thought about hiking Sunrise, and got as far as a few hundred feet into the hike. Then I decided not to bother. Instead, I will save these two peaks for one single journey later when it cools some more.

Instead, I drove a little more west and south to hike in the Thunderbird Conservation Area.

(c) 2016 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.