Ladybug & Webb Peaks • Pinaleno Mountains
• Graham County

Ladybug Peak


South view from Ladybug Peak's summit
 

The main spine of the Pinalenos from Ladybug Peak's summit. Heliograph Peak has the towers


Webb Peak


Webb Peak as seen from our isolated camp
 

The start of the walk in, with the gate spanning the road
 

Old derelict lookout's residence
 

The lookout tower.
 

Hawk Peak (with observatory) and Mount Graham (behind) from Webb's summit

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Date: June 19-20, 2010 • Elevation: 8,780 feet (Ladybug); 10,030 (Webb) • Prominence: 285 feet (Ladybug); 530 feet (Webb) • Distance: 1 mile (Ladybug); 3 miles (Webb) • Time: 40 minutes (Ladybug); 75 minutes (Webb) • Gain: 285 feet (Ladybug); 620 feet (Webb) • Conditions: Beautiful

Beth and I planned a weekend camping in the Pinaleno Range near Safford. We've been up here a couple of times but it had been five years since our last visit. On that visit we drove to the end of the Swift Trail Parkway to Riggs Lake, commenting we'd like to come back some day to camp up here. We didn't know it would be five years, however. The primary intention was to camp and relax, and get out of the desert heat for a couple days. I lined up a couple of easy hikes while up here: Ladybug and Webb Peaks. Neither are big hikes, but together they made for a nice workout and fun couple of days.

We didn't leave the Phoenix area until 6 p.m. on Friday, so it was well after dark when we arrived into Safford. We finally rolled into the Arcadia campground at 10 p.m., and took one of the remaining spots. At 6,500 feet, we had nice, moderate temperatures overnight. The next morning, we got moving around 9 a.m. From here to the range crest was about 5 miles and 2,000 feet of gain, so it wasn't far to this point. At the range crest, where the road now emerges onto the south-facing slopes of the Pinalenos, there's a big pull-out here, with incredible views down into the valleys southwest of the range. With the skies clear and humidities in the single per-cents, we had crystal-clear views to the farthest horizons.

Ladybug Peak is the southeasternmost summit of the Pinalenos, and from here the slopes go down fast to the deserts below. The hike up Ladybug follows a trail for about one-half mile amid ponderosa forest to the rocky top. True to its name, there were ladybugs up here, but not in any great numbers. The views south were outstanding. I noted a register in a strong box, and signed in. Judging by the quantity of trinkets in this box, I surmised this is a geocache.

The return hike went quickly, and I was only gone for 40 minutes. Beth was relaxing back at the truck. I piled in and we drove up the rest of the Swift Trail Parkway to Riggs Lake, looking for a spot to camp, but given it was a weekend we weren't surprised to find it filled to capacity. No problem, we backtracked to the Soldier Creek campground about 4 miles back, and took a spot near some big rocks. It was about noon and we had the afternoon to relax. Some Japanese women came by, picking wild edibles, and showed us one such green, something they call "endochin". I was happy to know that if I ever got stuck in the wild, I could find this edible plant and survive very well, as long as my truck with drinks and clothes was nearby.

The problem was the campground, mainly the crowd camped there. There were boatloads of kids, and all the spots were on top of one another. After debating, we broke camp and drove up the main road about a half-mile to a bad road marked as an "undeveloped" camping area. I drove in and we had a great camp all to ourselves, with amazing views of Webb Peak just across the way. It was quiet and peaceful. I had Webb Peak planned as one of my hikes but frankly, enjoyed the lazing around with my wife too much to do it today. We didn't do much the rest of the day but hang out together. The night was very cool, not surprising as we were about 9,300 feet elevation. We both slept well.

The following morning we broke camp and drove out, turning off onto the spur road (FR-88) that leads up Webb Peak. The road is gated, but hiking is welcome. I started at 8 a.m. up the road, following it for 1.5 miles to the top, a gain of 620 feet. At this elevation there were lots of aspen and spruce, and flowing streams, too. The top features an old lookout tower that still stands, and an abandoned residence. The views are blocked by trees, but I climbed up two of the tower's ladders, gaining me about 30 feet, so that I could get shots of nearby Hawk and Graham Peaks. I have to admit feeling a bit afraid—the metalwork all seems solid but the wood planks at the landings seemed a little loose. I returned to the ground and hiked out, a round-trip of 70 minutes. Together, the Webb and Ladybug hikes covered about 4 miles round trip and 1,000 feet of gain.

From here we drove down the mountain, my truck never leaving second gear until we were on the desert flats below. In Safford we got gas and drinks and drove back home. The trip went exactly as planned, and we had a lot of fun.

(c) 2010, 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.