Rose Peak • White Mountains
• Greenlee County

Sign at the end of the parking area

A few feet later, another sign points to the trail

Nice trail and forest to hike through

Now on the south face, the trees get scrubbier, and the lookout comes into view

The sign at the lookout

The lookout as seen from near the benchmark area

View of the peak from US-191

View from Blue Vista up on the Mogollon Rim

Arizona PageMain Page

Prominence Peaks


Date: May 18, 2013 • Elevation: 8,786 feet • Prominence: 1,626 feet • Distance: 1.75 miles • Time: 45 minutes • Gain: 545 feet • Conditions: Clear but windy

Rose Peak is an easy hike, featuring a good trail that leads to an active lookout tower. The peak is located along the Coronado Trail (highway US-191) in Greenlee County, about 45 miles north of Clifton and about 20 miles south of Hannagan Meadow. The highway gets high on the shoulder of the peak, so that the hike is just a mile each way and about 550 vertical feet.

Beth and I were driving the highway for its scenic aspects, our first time here since 2007. We were driving south-to-north, and earlier in the day I had bushwhacked up the brushy Mitchell Peak, about 25 miles south. From there, we leisurely drove the highway north, enjoying the curvy roads and expansive views. The day was sunny and slightly warm, but with a stiff breeze at times.

The Coronado Trail runs from Clifton north to Alpine, a distance of 90 miles. Roughly speaking, the highway works through one "range" of mounatins, the ones surrounding Clifton and of which Mitchell Peak is the highest and most prominent. Then the highway crosses over a high meadow called Four Bar Mesa before entering into a second "range" of peaks, of which Rose Peak is the highest and most prominent. After Rose Peak, the highway dips into the Strayhorse Camping and Recreation Area before making the long steep drive up over the Mogollon Rim and toward Hannagan Meadow and Alpine.

We arrived to the pull-off for Rose Peak around 3:20 p.m. No one else was parked and we stopped at a picnic area. I got out to read the signs and look around. I didn't pack much for this hike: just a water bottle, my walking stick, and my camera. Beat and scratched from my battle with Mitchell Peak, I was looking forward to an easy hike up trail, something that wouldn't take long. At 3:35, I gave Beth a kiss and started the hike.

I walked the access road a tiny ways then angled left onto the signed trail. The trail is a pleasure, pitched nicely amid ponderosa pine, the slopes covered in the soft mat of needles and low grass. The trail switchbacks once hard-left, then again hard-right, and soon, passes a ridge, now on the south-facing slopes with million-dollar views down into the lowlands near Four Bar Mesa. The lookout tower was now in view, the slopes here being more open with scrubbier plants.

Quickly, I had surmounted the rim and was now hiking past the lookout's residence toward the tower. I did not climb the tower, nor did I see anyone milling around. I tagged some rocks near the tower, anything that looked like a highpoint contender. The views in all directions were stunning. Looking east, the summit ridge seemed to rise gently to another bump, so I figured I better go inspect.

I followed some paths through low brush and rock to get to the eastern bump, where I found the benchmark. Sighting back toward the tower, I sense the tower is located on slightly higher ground. The map cites a 10-foot differential between the two bumps, but the brush makes it hard for good direct sighting to be sure. Nevertheless, the walk took just a few minutes, and provided more opportunities for photographs.

The breeze was very strong so I didn't stay long. The hike down went very quickly and I was back to the truck after just 45 minutes being gone. The signs indicate either 1 mile to the top via the road, or 1/2 mile via the trail. Both seem off, so I cut the difference, figuring about 3/4-mile each way, which seems about right to me.

We got moving again, driving up the steep section of road to get to the top of the Mogollon Rim. We stopped briefly at the Blue Vista for photographs. The wind was very strong and chilly up this high. Immediately, the devastation wrought by the 2011 Wallow Fire was evident everywhere, and we would see this damage for long stretches of the high country north of the Mogollon Rim all the way into Alpine.

We drove about another five miles and camped at the Hannagan Campground about a half-mile south of the Hannagan Meadow Lodge. We were the only ones there that night. Being at about 9,200 feet elevation, the night was quite cold, dipping nto the 30s, but we both slept well. The next day, we started the drive out fairly early, going home via Springerville, Show Low and Payson.

(c) 2013, 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.