Connell Mountain • Range Highpoint: Connell Mountains
• Prescott National Forest
• Yavapai County


Tower atop Connell Mountain Highpoint
 

Walking up the faint path
 

Now in the trees, getting closer
 

The tower
 

North view of Camp Wood and Hyde Creek Peaks
 

West view of Mohon Peak and Mount Hope
 

East view of Granite Mountain
 

Horsing around on the ladder (photo by Scott Peavy)
 

Me looking where to go (photo by Scott Peavy)
 

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Date: April 15, 2017 • Elevation: 6,412 feet • Prominence: 441 feet • Distance: 1.2 miles • Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes • Gain: 530 feet • Conditions: Blue skies and warm • Teammate: Scott Peavy

The Connell Mountains are a small range in Yavapai County, about 45 miles west-northwest from Prescott. Yeah, I had never heard of them either when Scott Peavy suggested a side-trip to visit them on our trip to the area. We had just spent a few hours hiking Juniper Mesa, and since we were in the area, and the hike looked short, we added this peak into the agenda.

It was about 1 p.m. when we were done with the Juniper Mesa hike and the small side trip to view and touch the O RO Ranch east gate. We backtracked southeast to where Williamson Valley Road loses its pavement (or more accurately, to where the pavement starts again, since we were on the dirt part). This point is 22 miles out of Prescott and at the junction with Camp Wood Road, which heads generally west.

So we were on pavement for just a few moments. Once on Camp Wood Road, the road was hard-pack dirt again, but in good shape. Mileage marker #46 is posted here, and they count down as one heads west. We were not sure what was at "Mile 0". Another sign said the road was open range for the next 67 miles. According to the map, this road eventually leads to the mining town of Bagdad.

We followed this road west through the valley, then gaining elevation into the hills and more ponderosa forest. Fourteen miles from the junction, we were in the Camp Wood Area (says a sign). There is camping here. Beth and I were here back in 2005 when we hiked Hyde Creek Peak. It looked familiar in the general sense, but I had no specific memories of the road or the drive from 2005.

Past the Camp Wood Area, the road drops about a half-notch in quality. It's still good, but windier, slightly narrower and a little bumpier in spots. Big rock outcrops lie everywhere, forcing the road to weave through them. Being Easter weekend and with lovely weather, we saw lots of campers out here. We came to the Mileage marker #25 area (21 miles in from the main road). We then found Forest Road 702, and followed it south about 1.4 mile to where it rises to a soft ridge. This placed us directly west a half mile of the summit of Connell Mountain. It was close to 3 p.m. when we started the hike.

The Connell Mountains are a small range with just 440 feet of prominence, and (to me) no different from the surrounding Santa Maria Mountains, which contain Hyde Creek Peak. Why they get their own designation is unknown. But they do, and suddenly, its summit is now "important" to us.

From where we parked, we could see the top, featuring a tower of some sort. A scraggly opening in the scrub seems to offer a hiking route up, so we followed it. This went about 0.3 mile, gaining about 350 feet. Sturdy wooden posts about 5 feet high and 8 inches in diameter were erected in regular intervals. Too big to be fence-line posts, we surmised they may have once held wires (electricity? communication?). There was a concrete foundation at the bottom. Perhaps these things are related from some time in the past.

The hike up went fast and a little tiring. The tread was loose in spots, but mostly open. We went as far along this open lane as we could until it just ended, surrounded by brush including lots of madrone. Instead of plowing through the madrone, we angled left and walked more up than across to gain the ridge. Soon, we were in a saddle below the top. From here, we walked up another 140 vertical feet and quickly arrived to the top. Scott's thing that tells time said we'd been hiking 26 minutes. The GPS put our one-way distance as 0.6 mile.

The tower is metallic, but seems to be a beacon rather than a lookout. A ladder is the only way to the platform, about 50 feet higher. The summit area was open, and a pleasant surprise, offered some excellent views of the many surrounding peaks. We stopped for awhile up here.

To the west and northwest, we could see Mohon Peak and Mount Hope, then to the north were Camp Wood and Hyde Creek Peaks. Looking east we could see Granite Mountain, Martin Mountain, West Spruce Mountain and farther back, the Bradshaws. To the south and southwest, we weren't sure. Neither of us get out to this area much, so we were not terribly sure what we were looking at. I guessed that some of the visible summits were McCloud and Crosby, possibly Weaver Peak, and way in the distance, Harquahala Mountain. The day was bright blue and calm. We took many photos, then I climbed up about 10 feet on the ladder.

The hike down went well and we followed our path, for all intents and purposes. Interestingly, our downhill hike took 27 minutes, and overall, we had been gone for one hour and fifteen minutes, adding in our rest atop the summit, the ladder excursion, and all those times I had to stop and blow my nose due to the abundant pollen.

We drove back to Williamson Valley Road and past Prescott, stopping for gas and drinks at the Maverick in Prescott Valley. Two guys almost rammed one another in the parking lot, then followed up with lots of middle fingers. Then we drove back to north Phoenix where Scott dropped me off so I could get my vehicle stashed at the Denny's along the Carefree Highway. Thirty minutes later, I was back home.

So, yeah, the Connell Mountains aren't much, but the hike was short and easy, and the views from the top were worth it. I knew that I probably would never be in the area again, so tagging this summit was a nice bonus. Some day, driving the road into Bagdad would be interesting. Much of the area is ranch property, the big ones being the Camp Wood and Yolo Ranches, then the O RO to the north a little bit. However, the immediate area around the peak is Prescott National Forest land.

(c) 2017 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.