The City Highpoints of
Maricopa County, Arizona

Maricopa County, Arizona, contains 24 incorporated municipalities. Each town or city has a well-defined border so that it is possible to determine the highest point within each municipality. To determine the highest point within each city, I referred to, which shows the boundaries in excellent detail. I then carefully matched those boundaries with online topographical maps to determine the highest point. The highpoint must lie "inside" the city, or possibly along its boundary. Unincorporated county enclaves are not considered.

Because city limits can change, it is possible for some of these city highpoints to change as the city adds land. Such is the case with the city of Phoenix. For years, its highest point was a tie between the 2,705-foot summits of Camelback Mountain and Suappoa Peak, the top of South Mountain. In recent years, the city has added land way to the north, between Interstate-17 and Lake Pleasant. An un-named hilltop, elevation 2,866 feet, lies within this newly-added land and is, for now, the highest point inside Phoenix city limits.

The cities of Gila Bend, Wickenburg, Buckeye, Gilbert and Queen Creek have the potential to add more land and change its current city highpoint. All of the rest are landlocked by other cities, National Forests, Indian Reservations or Military lands so that physical growth is impossible. A few could conceivably grow in size, but are shut out from higher lands so that their city's highpoint will not change.

Below is a list of the city highpoints, updated periodically.

City Name Highpoint Elevation Prominence Description
Avondale Peak 3650 3,650 ft 1,210 ft

This peak is in the Estrella Mountains Regional Park, but not close to any trails. The hike requires a long approach and significant scrambling and route-finding. The peak is one of the more prominent city highpoints, and can be seen as the "obvious" highest hill north of the Sierra Estrella. The best long-distance views are from the west or east, where the peak's profile can be seen. If viewed from the north, it blends in with the main Estrella range. Permanency: Avondale is hemmed in by the cities of Phoenix, Goodyear and the Gila River Indian Reservation so that annexing more land is impossible. This highpoint will remain so for as long as Avondale exists.

Buckeye "Cat Hill"

Trip Report

3,671 ft 591 ft

Cat Hill is an unofficial name for the hill that lies above and north of the famous "Scar", the old road built over years by the Caterpillar people when they owned the land below the peak. Hiking up the scar just takes effort. The final 500 feet to the summit is off trail but not difficult, just brushy. Permanency: Buckeye's city limits extend over many hundreds of square miles with many "strip annexes" and county enclaves. However, most of the city lies in the desert below. The city limits include some of the southern White Tank Mountains, up to the regional park boundary. As such it is impossible for Buckeye to annex higher land within the White Tank Mountains.

Carefree Black Mountain

Trip Report

3,398 ft 1,018 ft

Black Mountain has a popular trail to its top. The town is completely enclosed by the cities of Scottsdale, Phoenix and Cave Creek, so that it cannot annex more land. Most of the hike is within Cave Creek. Only the final couple-hundred feet and the summit lie within Carefree. Permanency: Carefree is completely hemmed in by Scottsdale, Phoenix and Cave Creek, so annexing more land is impossible.

Cave Creek Elephant Mountain

Trip Report

3,926 ft 766 ft

Elephant Mountain lies within the Spur Cross Regional Park. No trails go to the top. On my first attempt, I encountered loose slopes that turned me back. A possible better approach would be from the southwest. The city of Cave Creek is hemmed in by the Tonto National Forest and would not be able to annex more land to include higher summits. I came back in 2021 viaa different route to climb this peak. Permanency: Cave Creek is hemmed in by Phoenix, Carefree and the Tonto National Forest, so that annexing more land is impossible.

Chandler Point 1,293;
Veterans Oasis Park

Trip Report

1,293 ft;
1,311 ft
0 ft;
~30 ft

Chandler is completely flat, sloping imperceptibly from the southeast to the northwest. The highest natural point in the city is at the northwest corner of Val Vista Drive and Hunt Highway, at the city's extreme southeast corner. The newly-developed Veterans Oasis Park at the corner of Lindsay Road and Chandler Heights Road has man-made hills that reach to 1,311 feet, with about 30 feet of prominence. Permanency: Chandler is completely hemmed in by Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert and the Gila River Indian Reservation, so that annexing more land is impossible.

El Mirage Point 1168

Trip Report

1,168 ft 0 ft

El Mirage is completely flat. Its highest point is at its northwest corner at the intersection of Dysart and Greenway Roads. Permanency: The city is blocked by Surprise to the north, the only direction in which higher land exists, so that annexing more land is impossible.

Fountain Hills Peak 3804 East Slope

Trip Report

3,180 (20) ft 0 ft

Fountain Hills' highpoint lies on the east slope of Peak 3804 in the McDowell Mountains, where the city limits cross over the ridge. Permanency: Fountain Hills is surrounded by Scottsdale, the Fort McDowell and Gila River Indian Reservations, and the Tonto National Forest. It cannot grow in size.

Gila Bend Peak 1280+ 1,280-1,320 ft ~100 ft

There are two hills on the northeast corner of Section 7 of Township 4 South, Range 3 West, in the northern appendage of the city. These hills both have summit contours of 1,280 feet, with the eastern hill very close to a 1,320-foot contour which lies just outside the section (and the city limits). Permanency: Gila Bend has nearly unlimited room to grow. It is hemmed in to the east by the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the Maricopa Mountains Wilderness, so even though higher peaks are found to the east, annexing land in that direction is impossible. There are higher peaks to the north across the Gila River, and to the west, but Gila Bend has not yet annexed in those directions and seem unlikely to do so. Annexing land to the south is not possible as the nearest higher peaks lie on military property. The permanency is the current city highpoints is strong, but could change in the distant future.

Gilbert Point 1411

Trip Report

1,411 ft 0 ft

Gilbert's highest point is at the northwest corner of Stacy and Recker Roads in at the southeast corner of the city. Permanency: Gilbert's city limits in this area are convoluted and could expand if more land is annexed. A possible new HP could be located 1/4-mile south of Stacey and Recker Roads, where Recker and Hunt Highway intersect. Furthermore, a small hill called Round Top sits on the county line near the Hunt and Higley Alignments, and should Gilbert annex that land, the new city HP would be where the city limits cross over Round Top. The Gilbert Town webpage shows a "planning boundary" that includes these points, but the official city limits, as of this writing, do not yet include these points.

Glendale Thunderbird Peak

Trip Report

1,862 ft 422 ft

This hill is in the Thunderbird Recreational Area. It is the hill southeast of the bend where 59th Avenue Turns into Pinnacle Peak Road. A trail leads to the summit. Permanency: Glendale is hemmed in by Phoenix and Peoria and cannot annex land in the directions where higher peaks exist.

Goodyear Sevenmile Mountain 2,948 ft 1,354 ft

This peak lies to the southwest of the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range. Permanency: Goodyear incorporated almost the entire Rainbow Valley to the west of the Sierra Estrella, south of the Gila River, east and north of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, including the small town of Mobile. Since Goodyear is unlikely to grow in size since it already gobbled up what available land it could, this will be the city's highpoint essentially forever.

Guadalupe Point 1,280 1,280 (10) ft 0 ft

This tiny city includes the berms on the west side of Interstate-10, south of Guadalupe Road. The brick walls at the top of the berms are the Phoenix city limits, so the Guadalupe city highpoint lies somewhere along the top of these berms, facing outward from the walls. Permanency: With no room to expand, this highpoint will remain so for as long as Guadalupe exists.

Litchfield Park La Loma Ranch

Trip Report

1,125 (5) ft 35 ft

This is a small hill on the old La Loma Ranch. The town is completely hemmed in so cannot grow in size. Permanency: Litchfield Park is also hemmed in by surrounding cities and has no room to expand.

Mesa Usery Mountain South

Trip Report

2,786 ft 336 ft

This hill lies east of the Hawes Road & Las Sendas Road bend. Unofficial trails wanderthrough the hills and one leads to the top. Permanency: Higher peaks are nearby but over the city boundary in the Tonto National Forest. Mesa has no room to grow in the direction of higher summits.

Paradise Valley Dixie Peak

Trip Report

2,429 ft 689 ft

The peak is located in western appendage in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Permanency: Paradise Valley is completely surrounded by Phoenix and Scottsdale. It cannot grow in size, so its highpoint is permanent. Note: the city limits get as high as 2,420 feet on the north slopes of Camelback Mountain.

Peoria Syenite Benchmark 2

Trip Report

2,783 ft 623 ft

This peak lies in a newly-annexed portion of the city, north of Highway AZ-74, west of Lake Pleasant and east of the Quintero Golfing Community. Permanency: Peoria has a history of aggressively annexing land any chance it gets. It is possible the city will grow north or west, where higher peaks exist, so don't be surprised if this happens. The permanency of this highpoint is tenuous at best.

Phoenix Whiskey Spring Head

Trip Report

2,866 ft 546 ft

Phoenix has added land progressively northward, absorbing hills east of Lake Pleasant, including this one. These hills supercede the old presumptive Phoenix city highpoints, Camelback Mountain and Suappoa Peak, by over 160 feet. Permanency: There is still room to grow, as higher peaks lie just over a mile north of the city's northernmost boundary. Thus, Phoenix's city highpoint could potentially change in the future.

Queen Creek Point 2225 2,225 ft 0 ft

Queen Creek's highest point is on the northeast ridge of Peak 2399 in the Santan Mountains, southern appendage of city (within Pinal County). Permanency: Queen Creek's highpoint is safe for the foreseeable future. The city could add land but not likely any that contains higher peaks. The city of Florence, plus the Gila River Indian Reservation block growth in the direction of the higher points.

Scottsdale Butte Peak

Trip Report

4,890 ft 1,170 ft

Butte Peak lies in the extreme northern appendage of Scottsdale, where the city abuts the Tonto National Forest. Permanency: The city has no more room to expand, so this highpoint will remain so for a long time.

Surprise Point 1690

Trip Report

1,690 ft 0 ft

Located near the corner of Dove Valley Road and 203rd Avenue, south of the Chrysler Test Track. Permanency: There is room to annex to the north, so this city's highpoint could change should land be added in that direction.

Tempe Tempe Butte

Trip Report

1,495 ft 330 ft

Popular hike with the big concrete "A" on its sides. Overlooks Sun Devil Stadium, and all sorts of tacky new high rises. Permanency: Tempe has no room to grow, so this peak's status as city highpoint is safe.

Tolleson Point 1038

Trip Report

1,038 ft 0 ft

Located at the southwest corner of McDowell Road and 83rd Avenue, at northeast corner of city. Tolleson cannot grow in size, so its highpoint is safe. Build-up around Interstate-10 may exceed the "natural" highpoint by a few feet. Visual inspection shows the difference to be negligible. Permanency: There is no room to grow in the direction of higher land.

Wickenburg Turtleback Ridge

Trip Report

2,624 ft 324 ft

A hill west of Kellis Road/Turtleback Mountain Road and across from W. Via del Cielo. Permanency: Wickenburg has unlimited room to grow in size, so its highpoint could change. The northern city limits come near some peaks that are slightly higher, and if Wickenburg were to expand south, there are higher peaks less than a couple miles away.

Youngtown Jack in the Box

Trip Report

1,150 (10) ft 0 ft

The town's highpoint is at the Jack in the Box on the southwest corner of 111th Avenue and Grand Avenue, at northeast corner of city. Permanency: Youngtown is surrounded by other cities, so its boundaries are set. There is a little room to grow, but the likelihood of the town annexing land is unlikely. In fact, there was recently some talk about disincoporating the city. This has to be the lamest city in the county.


Other City Highpoints in Arizona

Below is a list of the highpoints for selected cities in Arizona. I have hiked a few not aware it was a city highpoint. This list is not complete and I have no intention to figure out the highpoints for all of Arizona's cities.

City Name Highpoint Elevation Prominence Description
Apache Junction Silly Mountain 2,139 ft 359 ft

Popular hiking area in the southeast part of the city. The city limits wrap around the hills to the south and east. Trip Report.

Marana Big Caprock Peak 4,416 ft 496 ft

Good trails then some easy open rock scrambling. Trip Report.

Payson Peak 5446 5,446 ft 122 ft

Hike starts from the Gibson Court Trailhead and a good trail goes to the top. Trip Report.

Prescott Valley Glassford Hill 6,178 ft 618 ft

The hill partially lies in both Prescott and Prescott Valley. The summit is in Prescott Valley. Trip Report.

Sierra Vista Huachuca Peak 8,410 ft 1,910 ft

The city limits of Sierra Vista include the entire Fort Huachuca Military Reservation. Trip Report.

Star Valley Diamond Point 6,383 ft 483 ft

A good road leads to a gate below the summit; normally the public is not allowed to the top, but I went on a cold day after a light snow knowing no one would be up there. Trip Report.

Tucson Point 3260 3,260 ft 2 ft

A small mound at the corner of East Dawn and North Shalom Roads in southeast Tucson. Trip Report.

Williams Bill Williams Mountain 9,256 ft 2,296 ft

The city limits of Williams encompasses Bill Williams Mountain. Trip Report.

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(c) 2013-20 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.