Casa Grande Mountain • Casa Grande Mountains
• Pinal County


The initial walk follows Hanna Road, which leads to the towers above
 

I left Hanna Road and followed the Bolt Trail
 

The towers peek above as I hike the Bolt Trail
 

Looking back down along the Bolt Trail
 

The towers as seen from where the Bolt Trail merges with the main ridge trail
 

The summit is about a mile away
 

Now a little closer. Note the abundance of cholla!
 

The summit hill
 

Me and my trusty pal Stick Scott at the top
 

Looking back at the route from below the summit
 

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Date: November 29, 2014 • Elevation: 2,350 feet • Prominence: 868 feet • Distance: 4 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 900 feet • Conditions: Sunny

The Casa Grande Mountains are a small range situated south of where Interstate-8 and 10 meet, partially within the city of Casa Grande. The range is just a couple miles long, a summit at 2,350 feet, and a prominence of 868 feet. Some of the range is enclosed within the Casa Grande Mountains Park, but the main ridge and summit are within the Casa Grande Military Reservation. There is a decent network of trails including one that leads to the top. I found some interesting information on this peak and decided I wanted to go see it for myself.

I drove about 60 miles into Casa Grande, then followed Florence Boulevard to Trekell Road over Interstate-8, then left onto Hanna Road for a mile, parking in a dirt parking area set aside for hikers. I arrived at 8:30 a.m., the day being clear and cool, with no clouds anywhere. There were about 20 vehicles already here and I could see people walking up the road and some coming back, so it is apparently a popular hike for Casa Grande-area hikers. The parking area is at 1,485 feet elevation.

The initial hike follows Hanna Road, which is dirt by now, into the range. The road snakes steeply up a canyon, bends a couple times and ends at some communication towers, approximately at 2,100 feet elevation. Most hikers seemed to be heading for the towers, which would make a decent workout. I followed Hanna Road a little ways, perhaps 0.3 mile, but then left it and started up the Bolt Trail, which angles to the right (looking up) and is marked by a small cross in honor of Joel Bolt, who was a well-known hiker in the area.

The Bolt Trail is a little steep at first, gaining up a hillside until it attains the spine of a side ridge that comes off the main range. Once on this side ridge, it stays on the crest and gains moderately steep to where it ends, intersecting the main range crest trail about 200 yards south of the communication towers. The Bolt Trail itself runs a little less than a mile, but very few people were on it, the majority sticking to the road to the towers. I was on the main range crest trail after about 30 minutes from my truck.

I turned right and immediately scampered up to top out on a small hill, marked "Casa Grande 2" on the map. This hilltop has an elevation of 2,332 feet, just 18 feet lower than the summit, which was visible a mile to the south. There was a cookie tin with a sign-in log and a torn-up Bible, but I didn't sign in as this was not my main destination.

I dropped off this hill and found the crest trail, following it as it descends and ascends a handful of intervening bumps along the ridge. The main ridge is broad and covered in cholla cactus. The trail is well constructed and allows safe passage thropugh the cholla thickets. There was a hiker ahead of me about 50 feet, and I didn't want to rush her so I deliberately kept my distance. I stopped to take photos or rest often. Finally, the trail ascends one last slope and tops out on the summit, marked by a big cairn and a flag. Someone had rigged a solar-powered light so that the flag is lit at night. Checking the time, it had taken me 58 minutes from my truck.

I chatted with the hiker and she took a photo of me, the one you see here. Within a minute, three other people arrived. Then the first hiker started on her way down, and I stuck around another few minutes for the views. The day was very nice, with good crisp views in all directions. Table Top was visible to the west, and Newman and Picacho Peaks to the east. The grid of streets of Casa Grande and Eloy were below, along with farm fields and desert. I spent about 10 minutes on the summit before starting down myself.

The hike back went fast. A whole group of people had congregated atop that Casa Grande 2 peak, holding hands and having some sort of prayer meeting. I was back onto the Bolt Trail, where there were now a few more people coming up. The descent went well, but having a staff helped as it was loose in spots. I was back on Hanna Road and to my truck exactly two hours after starting out earlier, meaning an approximate 50-minute descent time. There were still a lot of people arriving and starting up. This is definitely the main hiking location in Casa Grande.

After leaving, I made a side-trip to the Skydive Arizona in Eloy, where my wife likes to jump out of planes. She wasn't with me today, but I made sure she'll be doing more plane-jumping-out-of in the near future. The drive home went well. There was some traffic, some of it caused by a three-car fender bender (everyone was out and looked okay), and also the usual Interstate-10 traffic in that area as people get close to Phoenix.

(c) 2014 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.