Mount Ord • Mazatzal Mountains
• Maricopa & Gila Counties


Mount Ord as seen from near the Bushnell Tanks exit along the Beeline Highway
 

Ord, now seen from a distance along the Mount Ord Road
 

The summit finally comes into view, hiking along the road
 

The parking area about 1/2-mile below the top
 

The residence and manned lookout tower. The summit is the rise below the tower.
 

The Four Peaks
 

Mount Ord in snow, Jan. 2017
 

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Date: October 22, 2006 • Elevation: 7,128 feet • Prominence: 2,408 feet • Distance: 6 miles • Time: 4 hours • Gain: 1,700 feet • Conditions: Crystal clear and beautiful

Mount Ord is a prominent, symmetrically-shaped peak loacted at the far northeast corner of the Phoenix metropolitan area. It sits near the Maricopa-Gila county boundary along state route AZ-87, the Beeline Highway, about 50 miles from downtown Phoenix. On the clearest days, Mount Ord is visible from most points east of Phoenix, situated north (left) of the familiar Four Peaks.

Getting to the top of Mount Ord is fairly simple. A decent dirt road gets within a half-mile of the summit, and a secondary road closed to unauthorized vehicles actually goes to the top, on which sits some communications towers. I was spending the weekend hiking a couple of easy summits, starting with Pine Mountain yesterday. I had camped at the Houston Mesa campground in Payson last night, then drove south along the Beeline this morning, arriving at the highpoint of the highway where the main access road to Mount Ord's top starts.

This particular "Mount Ord Road" is narrow and paved for about a mile. It becomes dirt after passing a corral, then sweeps up some hillsides and gaining the northern flanks of the peak. From here, it gains the top from the northeast. There is another Mount Ord Road, an older dirt road starting about a thousand feet lower down near Ord Mine, about a mile east along AZ-87. The two roads meet one another about midway up.

I didn't want to drive all the way up, so after a few miles, I started looking for a wooded, secluded place to park my truck. I came upon a junction with Tonto Forest Road 1688, near a stock tank. This road was scant, but I backed into it about 50 feet and it offered me a reasonably well-hidden place to park the truck. Not that car thieves are everywhere up here, but the road is traveled a lot and I prefer to park away from the road if possible. The day was stunning: bright blue skies, bone dry, and very mild.

Across the road was a couple, camping with their teenage son. They greeted me in broken English, and we had a short chat, as best we could. I couldn't place where they came from, but I would guess Turkey or somewhere like that. I asked some generic questions about the area, and the father would reply by repeating the main nouns in my sentence. For example, I asked about the summit, and he replied, "Yes, yes, the summit". They were friendly, and really all I wanted was to acknowledge them, and vice-versa.

I started hiking about 9:30 a.m., following the main Mount Ord Road. The scenery was already amazing, with views of the northern Mazatzal Mountains including Mazatzal Peak itself, and the steep-sloped Mount Peeley across the highway. I gained a few hundred feet, then lost them all as the road dipped. About a mile from my truck, the road met up with the other road mentioned earlier. I took my first break at a sharp bend near a cattle grate. I GPS'd my position, and figured to this point I had covered about two miles and 1,000 feet of gain in an hour and a half. Just around the bend stood the summit, so I was actually pretty close.

The last mile went fast, and I came upon the gate at the end of the "public" road. I walked past the gate and up the steeper access road to the top, arriving at 11:20 a.m. Mount Ord is topped by a huge, 100-foot tall lookout tower. Climbing it is prohibited. There is also a residence there for the lookout people. The rest of the summit is taken up by a series of other towers and buildings. There was a worker there, sitting in his truck.

I found the actual highest point underneath the lookout tower, and strolled around the buildings before returning to the residence to sit on a stone wall to enjoy a snack and a call to my wife. I stayed on top for 30 minutes, took a few photos, and marveled at the visibility. I could see peaks over 100 miles away, making out some unique peaks near Gila Bend, out west toward Wickenburg, and east as far as the San Carlos Reservation. Nearer, of course, were the mighty Mazatzal Range peaks, and the Mogollon Rim cliffs to my north.

The hike down went very quickly, taking me slightly more than an hour to return to my truck. I met an older lady who had grunted up that lower "Ord Mine Road" and we chatted. She uses that road to train for the Grand Canyon. The Turkish family was gone by this time, and I spent some time relaxing before changing back into more comfortable clothes and driving back home. In all, this was a very enjoyable hike. The top is a mature forest of pine, juniper and some oak, and there were some sections lit in the bright colors of fall.

(c) 2006, 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.