Blue Point Ridge (Water Users Peak), Arizona
The Mountains of Arizona •
Blue Point Ridge HP • Water Users Peak • Tonto National Forest
• Salt River, Saguaro Lake Area
• Maricopa County

Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
The peak, with the important "watch for horses" sign
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
About halfway up
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
At the high saddle, about 2/3 the way up
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
The highest point, viewed from a rock outcrop to the east that I first thought was the summit
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
Southwest view, the Usery Mountains and the Salt River
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
West view, with McDowell Mountain in the center
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
East view, Four Peaks
Blue Point Ridge Water Users Peak, Arizona
Stewart Mountain to the north

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Date: December 6, 2019 • Elevation: 2,433 feet • Prominence: 553 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 990 feet • Conditions: Cloudy and cool


This is the highpoint of a small band of hills that front the Salt River on the north, west of Saguaro Lake and south of Stewart Mountain. The whole "area" seems to be called Blue Point. The Bush Highway runs below the hills and parallelling the Salt River.

I saved this hill as a short hike I could get to with little advance planning. I left home early, got drinks and snacks at the Chevron on the Fort McDowell Reservation, plus a Tonto National Forest day pass. The day was cool and cloudy, but expected to be dry. Being a Friday, I did not expect the area would be over-run with boaters.

I drove north on the Beeline Highway to the Bush Highway exit, then followed that a few miles as it descended past the turn-off to the Butcher Jones recreation area, Stewart Mountain and the Saguaro Dam facilities. The road then bends right (west), and I pulled into the massive Water Users parking lot. I was the fifth or sixth car in the lot, which could hold a hundred cars plus boats and trailers. I saw one guy fishing in the river. Another person had a kayak strapped to his car.

I got my boots on and everything locked up, then walked across the road and into the brush, starting my hike at 7:15 a.m.. They've put up a new fence here, and I had to scoot under it. Once past it, I started uphill, the terrain steep and rubbly at first.

The initial half-mile is generally steep and a little thick with vegetation, with pencil cholla, regular evil cholla, saguaro, ocotillo and general brush. I had to weave through it carefully. Then the slope moderates and the going is a little more open. On the main ridge, I even found a footpath that ran for about 200 feet.

The route then comes to a saddle, roughly 600 feet up, with a little under 400 feet to go. The brush closes in slightly, but there was always some way through it if I looked hard enough. I just aimed for the rock outcrop above and was pleased with myself when I ascended it, not realizing there was still more to go.

The actual highpoint was a little more to the west, about ten feet higher. I dropped off this false summit and walked to the real one, my ascent time about 50 minutes. The top has a decent-sized cairn. I spent about ten minutes here, taking photos and signing in to the log. The register was placed here in 2015 by Barb Lilley. She named the peak "Water Users Peak", which I kind of like. Just a few people had signed in since then. I was the first since January.

I had good views in all directions. I could see Saguaro Lake, the Four Peaks, Stewart Mountain, and the wall of cliffs in the Goldfield Mountains. Looking west I could see the Usery Mountains and pillar of McDowell Mountain. The temperature was in the low 50s and it was slightly breezy up here. When I got too chilled, I strapped on the pack and started down.

I followed the same route down, but lower down, I angled more to the southeast, following the ridge. This would put me back onto the road a little east of the parking lot, but it had the advantage of being less steep and less brushy, and not fenced either. The descent took about the same time. I was back to my car at 9:15 a.m.. That had gone well and a little faster than I was expecting.

I drove west a mile or so to the Blue Point parking lot, looking to hike another smaller ranked peak in the same hills. However, the lower slopes here were more like cliffs, and I wasn't that interested in the lower peak to begin with. I drove west a few more miles and inspected the short hike to the Coon Bluff highpoint, but really wasn't that interested in it either. I needed to clean up and get to work anyway, so I drove home.

I enjoyed the hike, as it went fast with no unnecessary challenges. It was prettier than I was expecting, too. I picked a good day, as on weekends the whole area can be filled with people. Signs in the area warned against horses. I did not see any but they tend to roam wild out here.

(c) 2019 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.