The Mountains of Arizona •
Brushy Mountain • Tonto National Forest
• Bartlett Dam Area
• Maricopa County

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

All images

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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, itís 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.

(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. World Hockey Association