Stoney Mountain • Phoenix Mountains Preserve
• Maricopa County


A roadrunner!
 

Stoney Mountain is the peak toward the right with a flattish top
 

View south, Piestewa Peak in the back
 

West view of North Mountain and Shaw Butte
 

Northeast view of the ridge I ascended
 

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Date: January 2, 2017 • Elevation: 2,020 feet • Prominence: 518 feet • Distance: 4 miles • Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes • Gain: 620 feet • Conditions: Cold, gray sky, no sun

I wanted to start off 2017 with a hike, and this peak, which lies across the freeway (AZ-51) from Piestewa Peak, was a good choice. It was close to home and wouldn't take too long. Good trails get close to the peak, and a lesser use-path leads to the base of the summit.

We had rain for New Years Day, and today started dry with no rain, but a low cloud ceiling. It was cool, temperatures about 50 degrees, and the sun barely could be seen through the thick overcast skies. It was good for hiking, although I would have preferred bluer skies. For photographs, the light was lousy.

I parked at the Dreamy Draw Dam trailhead, east of AZ-51 at the Northern Road exit. This was my first time ever at this trailhead. I did not even know it existed until I saw it on the maps. Given how many times I have been to Piestewa Peak, I was kind of annoyed with myself at not being aware of other trailheads in the area.

The parking lot was crowded, and I had to wait in line about 10 minutes until someone left. There were lots of people here—families, couples, kids, dogs, joggers and old guys like me. I rolled in and got my stuff in order, locked the vehicle and started walking about 11 a.m.

At the trailhead, a roadrunner came walking out of the brush toward a puddle, presumably to drink. I like seeing roadrunners, and this one allowed me to shoot an image of him (left sidebar). I walked in a few yards then turned left onto Trail 100.

Trail 100 is the main trail in the preserve, running a few miles from one end to the other. Here, I was just yards from the freeway. The trail gains onto a hump, then drops into a drainage and a tunnel underneath the freeway that allows access to the other side. The ground in here was slick mud from yesterday's rain.

Now on the other side, I walked Trail 100 which gained about 75 feet and traversed below Peak 1922 on its south and west. The trail then dropped about 75 feet into a desert basin, with fancy homes on the opposite slopes. There were a few hikers on this side, and a lot of mountain bikers.

The trail then gains about 100 feet to a saddle northwest of Peak 1922, and south of the high ridge that contains Stoney Mountain summit. Now on the east side of the small range, I kept to the trail as it skirted by some homes, meanwhile dropping into and out of a few arroyos. The ground was rocky and wet in spots. There were a few puddles.

I kept walking until I was on a ridge northeast of the summit, having walked about 1.5 miles to get here. The main trail then bends left (west) here, but at the ridge crest, a scant trail left the main trail, going up this northeast ridge, a direct bearing to the top.

For the most part, this lesser trail was easy to follow, but it's not a maintained trail. I lost it a couple times, and had to guess a couple other times. It keeps to the left of the rock fins along this ridge. About halfway up, the trail grows thinner as it traverses below a big rock fin. Everything was wet—the rocks were a little slippery, and the dirt was mud. I had to move carefully.

Soon, the trail meets the main crest north of the summit. The saddle is small, just a few feet wide. The trail then continues past one small pinnacle toward the main summit, now just 50 feet above me. Here, I had to use hands in a couple spots, but the scrambling was easy, easy Class-2 at the worst. Soon, I was on top.

I stayed up here a few minutes, shooting photographs and checking out the boring summit. Up here, the breeze was strong and I got chilled fast. I didn't spend long up here. The gray skies and faint sun meant that any images I took would not be good ones. You can see for yourself.

Going down, I went slow due to the wetness and sometimes-loose slopes. But it went well, and I was down the ridge to the main trail in about 10 minutes, and from there, back to the main trailhead about 30 minutes later. I had been gone for an hour and 45 minutes, covering four miles.

I saw a lot of people (and dogs) on the main trails, but no one on the summit or the spur trail. I suspect few people go to this summit. Those who want a peak will migrate to Piestewa Peak. Many people on Trail 100 were bikers or joggers. The scramble and the loose slopes up high probably would scare off the average hiker. It's not difficult, but it's not trivial either.

(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.