The Mountains of Arizona

Brushy Mountain

Brushy Mountain viewed from Bartlett Dam Road

Now seen from the top of a smaller hill

Nearing the top

Last saddle

The top yonder

View southwest toward the McDowell Range and an assortment of smaller bumps

View northwest, Kentuck Mountain in the center

Bartlett Dam Reservoir

Peak 3342

Peak 3342 from down below, partway up the first ridge

A little higher now

View west, Bartlett Dam Road snakes through the hills

Summit nigh

View east from the top, Brushy Mountain

North view, St. Clair Peak (left) and Indian Butte

South view

West view, Peak 3260


All images

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Bartlett Lake Road Peaks

Brushy Mountain • Peak 3342

These two peaks lie right dang smack beside one another and share a common saddle, just south of Bartlett Lake Road north of Phoenix. Most people would hike them both in one outing, but not me.

Brushy Mountain
• Tonto National Forest
• Bartlett Lake Area
• Maricopa County

Date: February 16, 2019 • Elevation: 3,533 feet • Prominence: 638 feet • Distance: 1.5 miles • Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes • Gain: 670 feet • Conditions: Cool and blustery with fast-moving clouds


Brushy Mountain rises south of Bartlett Dam Road, about 10 miles east from where the road starts off of Cave Creek Road, and about 4 miles from the Bartlett Dam Reservoir. The summit lies less than a mile from the road, and looked to be a fast hike. I had not originally planned to hike this peak today, but I had to make some adjustments to my original plans, and suddenly Brushy Mountain looked like an attractive consolation.

I actually wanted to hike St. Clair Peak, which lies north of Brushy by about three miles. From my home, it is about 40 miles to the area, and I arrived here about 11:30 a.m., the day cool and very breezy, as the remnants of a small storm were still lingering and moving through. From Bartlett Dam Road, I went north on Horseshoe Dam Road about two miles to where it tops out at 3,700 feet elevation. St. Clair Peak rises to the east of this position. The land up here is contained within the Tonto National Forest, but consists of high desert plants rather than big trees.

The satellite images show a rougher "forest" track that leads east from Horseshoe Dam Road toward the peak. I was hoping I could drive in a few yards to hide the car, then hike the rest. However, this littler road is gated shut (actually, welded shut) at the main road with signs saying that parking is prohibited. So I parked north about 200 feet near another gate and started hiking. Then I got a little uncomfortable leaving my car where it was. I was pretty sure I was legal to park there, but I had no day pass, and I did not want to risk a fine. I am not sure if I need one, but I figured it would be wise to play it safe. My gamble could cost me a hefty fine. So I immediately canceled this hike, knowing I had some homework to do before coming back.

Since I had driven all this way, I looked around for another peak to hike. Going back to Bartlett Dam Road, I drove east a couple miles to place me north of Brushy Mountain. I knew from the satellite images there was a smaller track that went in about an eighth of a mile off the main road. I found this track and drove in just a few yards, but down into a small drainage where I found a great pull-out to park in, hidden by palo verde trees and from the main road. This would do nicely. I was already packed and ready to go, so I started hiking immediately, the time a little bit before noon.

I followed the track south, gaining about 30 feet to top out in a clearing with fire rings. This clearing lies on the saddle connecting Peak 3160 to the east and Peak 3342 to the west, with Brushy Mountain visible to the southeast. The clearing is evidently used by shooters, judging by the shells on the ground. However, no one was here today.

I should have trudged up toward Peak 3160, but instead found some paths that went up then side-hilled around this little peak, which is the north sub-peak of Brushy Mountain. The brush was not a problem at all and I was able to weave through it easily. I kept going up and over, dropping into little drainages then back out, to get myself to the 3,000-foot saddle that connects Peak 3160 and Brushy Mountain.

I then marched up the remaining 530 feet to the top, just following paths and openings upward. The terrain was friendly, with rocky soils, light-to-moderate brush, and occasional bigger rocks. I aimed toward some low rock bands and the slope steepened. I then angled right to get into one final small saddle below the top, crossing a couple small scree slopes. I slipped once and nearly fell into a prickly-pear cactus patch. The recent rain had made the ground soft and larger rocks would move easily, so I tread carefully.

I was soon on top, which is marked by a 4-foot tall cairn. Surprisingly, there was a sign-in log book. It held just a few names, the same three or four people who have hiked everything in this state. I was the first to sign in since 2013. I doubt the peak goes years between visitors, but I doubt it sees many people anyway. The views were nice, but the wind was brisk and cold. Clouds were moving above me very quickly. I did not stay long as I wanted to keep moving.

I followed the same route down, except this time I just barged up to Peak 3160 and followed its ridges back down to the clearing below. This worked much better, and I was back to my car a little after 1 p.m.. I was rushing a little bit as I needed to get home. Otherwise, I would have hiked Peak 3342.

I likely would not have hiked this particular peak had my other plans not fallen through, but I am happy I did. It was a fun, short hike and not a bad peak in terms of brush, logistics and views.

Peak 3342

Date: November 24, 2021 • Elevation: 3,342 feet • Prominence: 422 feet • Distance: 1 mile • Time: 70 minutes • Gain: 480 feet • Conditions: Pleasant


Peak 3342 lies west of Brushy Mountain along Bartlett Lake Road. I hiked Brushy back in February of 2019, but time constraints kept me from hiking Peak 3342 as well, otherwise I would have. These two peaks are reached from a common saddle and together could be both hiked within a three-hour window.

There are six ranked peaks that lie south of, and parallel to, Bartlett Lake Road. My plan today was to possibly visit all of the remaining five peaks, none of which are farther than a mile from the road. It was an optimistic plan, and as usual, I had to scale it back once reality set in. Turns out I only visited this one peak, which I'll explain below.

I drove up from Tempe to the Bartlett Lake Road, and drove it to its end near the Jojoba Boating Marina, a 14-mile drive from where Bartlett Lake Road leaves Cave Creek Road. A dirt secondary road, Forest Road 19, leads south to the Riverside Campground. Where this road achieves an apex, there are two ranked summits on either side, Peak 2440 to the east and Peak 2448 to the west. So I get there and take one look at Peak 2440 and immediately sense this may be too much for me. I drove a little past it and tried to get a couple looks. Its summit is a big rock outcrop forming pillars. It is possible there was a hidden ramp or alternative that a mortal like me could handle, but I did not want to hike up to find out. So Peak 2440 got cancelled. I then looked over at Peak 2448, but lost interest in that one fast when I could not locate a place to park. That peak sits on top of a ridge protected by a bulwark of low cliffs. I am sure I could have found a way up, but just wasn't that enthusiastic about the effort I'd need to put in. I lost interest in both once I lost interest in the first peak.

I returned to Bartlett Lake Road and headed west now. Peak 3069 comes next, just a mile later, and looks like a fun peak, but I could not find a place to park (not wanting to park along the main road). I cancelled that one quickly, but may come back in the future if I can do some more map-studying to see where I could park and what approach I could follow.

Back on westbound Bartlett Lake Road, I drove about three miles, to roughly milepost 10, and looked for the tiny dirt road that drops into a drainage and offers places to park and hide from the main road. This is where I started my hike up Brushy Mountain from three years ago. It looked exactly the same now. No one was here, and being a weekday, it was very slow overall. I rolled in, parked and killed the engine. I was dressed and ready to go in moments.

I hiked up to the saddle that connects Peak 3342 and Brushy Mountain. I then went right and started up the slopes, which were covered in cactus, scrub and knee-high grass in places. But it was all spaced out so I could usually keep to a straight line without difficulty. About ten minutes of moderate hiking, I was now on the crest of the lower ridge, and got my first close-up view of the peak.

The route keeps to this ridge, goes up and over one rocky bump, then curls south and aims uphill for a cliff band. Once I was at the base of the cliff, I angled left and scampered up a steep slope of brush and rock, some of it loose, to achieve the highest ridge. The summit was just fifty feet ahead, perhaps 20 feet higher. The ridge is rocky and narrow, but safe. I carefully stepped through the rocks and soon was on top. The one-way hike had taken just 30 minutes, covering a half mile.

Views up here were good, especially of the surrounding hills. I lingered up here for about 15 minutes, resting and taking photos. There was a steady breeze, which was welcome. The temperature was in the mid 60s, the sky clear but a tad hazy. The sun would glare things out in the distance.

The hike back went well. I followed essentially the identical route and was back to my car quickly, total time gone a little over an hour. With time to kill, I brought out my camp chair and sat in it for almost an hour. The sun was warm but pleasant and I did nothing but sit, stare and let my mind rest.

The last peak I had eyes on was Peak 3260 to the west, but like Peak 3069, I could not see an obvious way to access it, so I also shelved that one for more study and possibly a later visit, perhaps to combine with Peak 3069. I was one for five today, but not at all disappointed. The reward is rarely the actual summits tagged (or whatever one's goals may be), but the time spent on the pursuit. I have no complaints and was grateful and happy I had the opportunity to be out amid the great scenery and terrain.

(c) 2023 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. .