The Mountains of Arizona •

Florence Junction, Arizona
The western hills, as seen from the south
Florence Junction, Arizona
And suddenly, I was on the ridge aiming for the west hill summit (Peak 2460)
Florence Junction, Arizona
Summit of Peak 2460, the western highpoint. This is looking north
Florence Junction, Arizona
Look over at Peak 2489, the east hill
Florence Junction, Arizona
View southwest
Florence Junction, Arizona
View south, highway US-60 and AZ-79, pretty much all of Florence Junction
Florence Junction, Arizona
Peak 2489, the east highpoint
Florence Junction, Arizona
And suddenly, I was on the ridge aiming for the east hill summit (Peak 2489)
Florence Junction, Arizona
Closing in on the top
Florence Junction, Arizona
View north, the community of Queen Valley down below, the Superstition Mountains in back
Florence Junction, Arizona
Look over at Peak 2460

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Florence Junction Hills

Peak 2460 • Peak 2489

This little unnamed band of hills lie north of the junction of highways US-60 and AZ-79, the locale called Florence Junction, so I call them the Florence Junction Hills. Technically, they'd be part of the Superstition Mountains, although these are just foothills of that range, nothing special about them.

I remember passing through Florence Junction ("Flojunk") in the 1990s and there being a gas station and other small shops, with wooden-plank walkways. Whatever used to be there has long since been removed. The modern US-60 alignment is slightly south of the older alignment of US-60/70, which still exists as a short frontage road. This road connects to El Camino Viejo (The Old Road) which goes to a few scattered homesteads in the area.

There are two ranked summits in these hills, and they would be my objective for today. I didn't have all day, but I knew if I got an early start, I could be done my late morning, giving me enough time to get home at a reasonable hour to do nothing productive. On today's agenda was Peak 2460, the western highpoint, and Peak 2489, the eastern highpoint and the highpoint of these hills.

Peak 2460
• Florence Junction Hills
• Superstition Mountains
• Pinal County

Date: January 5, 2022 • Elevation: 2,460 feet • Prominence: 380 feet • Distance: 1.2 miles • Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes • Gain: 540 feet • Conditions: Cold and clear


I got on the road about 7:30 a.m., the day sunny but chilly, in the 40s. I dealt with weekday Phoenix traffic, heading eastbound on US-60 into Apache Junction, then southeast to Florence Junction. By now, the sun was higher and right in my eyes as I drove. I exited at the AZ-79 offramp, went north to the old frontage, and stopped briefly to take an image, plus look at my maps and figure out a plan.

I went west on the frontage, then north on El Camino Viaje about a half mile. The peak is about a half mile east of the road, so it was just a matter ot finding a place to park. Conveniently, there was a big open dirt area on the west side of the road. Inconveniently, it was very muddy in spots. But I drove in, avoided the mud and parked behind a thicket of palo verde so that my car was hidden, despite being just 20 feet from the road.

The land here is all State Trust land. There were a few signs about No Trespassing, but upon closer inspection, in smaller letters, said that a permit is required, which I have. There was no fencing. Thus, I felt 100% comfortable being here, fully in compliance.

I started hiking, on the move at 8:35 a.m.. The sun was still behind the hills ahead of me. In the shadow, it was cold, but not uncomfortable. I walked on a beeline toward the summit, then realized it would be easier to angle southeast and gain the high ridge from there, where it was lower and the slopes to it lenient. The ground is covered in cactus (lots of prickly pear) and rocks, rocks and rocks. The big ones were fine to hop on, but the little ones, they all wanted to roll. Nothing seemed solid with them. I had to move carefully.

Once on the high ridge, I looked north and saw a few rock outcrops. The closest one was easily passed, just a simple walk over its top. Up ahead was a much bigger rock outcrop. I saw a way around it on its right. This was a slightly-loose slope of talus, ranging from smaller rocks to bigger blocks. Even the big ones creaked and groaned when I put weight on them. Again, I moved slowly and deliberately.

I had not realized that this big rock outcrop was the summit. I assumed it was one more to the north, but as I gained elevation, it was clear this was it, a pleasant surprise. I ended up doing an "end run", circling slightly to the northeast before finding a friendly ramp that led to the top.

Conditions were fantastic. It was warming now, with a bright sun. I snapped images, relaxed, and signed into the register which dated back to the 1990s. This peak doesn't see that many visitors. The register held about twenty names, some years with no entries. I added mine for the amusement for the next visitor in 2025.

From the top, the sweep of cliffs of the Superstition Mountains were north, then its myriad of foothills. Closer in were homes and other buildings, and the "town" of Queen Valley, which seems to be a big mobile home village. Also, I could smell smoke. I had sensed it a few times hiking up, and once on top, I could see what it was. Someone was burning something in Queen Valley and there was a big plume of it. It did not appear to be a home or anything. Perhaps they were burning brush.

The hike down went well, the only thing being to make sure I wouldn't fall due to the rolly rocks. I was back to the car at 9:45. I relaxed a little bit, then drove toward the second peak ...

Peak 2489

Elevation: 2,489 feet • Prominence: 369 feet • Distance: 3.5 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Conditions: Sunny and warming up


It did not make sense to hike both peaks as one loop. There is too much drop and gain and drop and gain through rocky terrain to make it worthwhile. Instead, I got back onto eastbound US-60 briefly, then onto northbound Queen Valley Road. There are two tracks that branch off the Queen Valley Road. They merge, and run north, along the east side of this second peak. So the plan was to hike these paths, then head cross country to the peak.

When I got to the main track, there were two cars parked there, naturally blocking the path. So I drove to the second one and there was no one there. I drove in about 50 feet to a gate. The sign there said to just shut it afterwards, this being State Trust land. The road in past the gate was rough. I could have got the Subaru in another half mile but did not want to bother. I was close enough to walk it, and the car was reasonably hidden, also recognizing that Queen Valley Road sees little traffic anyway.

I walked north on the road about a mile. It dipped a little, losing about 50 feet. The hills perfectly framed Superstition Mountain up ahead. The sun was higher now and all the peaks and features were fully visible, not hiding in shadows.

I walked until I was past a long ridge on my left (west). When it felt right, I angled off the road and aimed west, now hiking through the same brush and rock terrain as on the western peak. Even on flat terrain, the rocks rolled and more than once I nearly fell.

This portion went well, no problems. I did scare up a few cows, but they moved aside quickly. The ground slowly angled upward and I was closing in on the peak. I could see its top, a rock outcrop with two lobes. From down below, it was not evident which one was highest. I angled slightly left and gained the ridge about 500 feet south of the summit.

Like before, there were a couple of easy rock outcrops to move through, then I was at the base of the summit rocks. And like last time, attacking them directly wasn't wise, so I angled right and hiked along the margin with the rock outcrop on my left, and rocky talus below me, some of it loose. Soon, I was in the cleft between the two rock lobes. It was evident the north one was higher, so I stashed my poles, eased up one move, then quickly was on top.

Views from up here were just as good as from the other peak. Nothing had changed in an hour. The register held a few names, not as many as the other peak, likely because this one is a little farther back from the roads. I was the first to sign in since 2017. I took a ten-minute rest up here and drank some water. That smoke plume was still going strong and there was more of that smokey scent in the air. It wasn't unpleasant, which again made me think it's probably brush they're burning off.

For the hike down, I retraced my route and carefully walked down the steeper slopes until I was back on the flatter terrain. I let my mind wander, and bam, next thing I know, a rock has rolled from underfoot and I am on my right side, head whomping into a small cactus and my right arm smashing into another rock.

Fortunately, there was no damage. My arm was fine, just sore, and was sore for a couple days afterwards. I didn't get many cactus barbs in my head. It was one of those small cactus plants that grow just a few inches off the ground. Thank heavens it wasn't cholla, otherwise I would still be there. Anyway, I got my self up and walked out the rest, reminding myself about the rolling rocks.

Back on the road, I walked back to my car, this hike covering 3.5 miles and taking 90 minutes. It was close to 11 a.m. now. I changed, and drove home. I had a zoom meeting later, so I cleaned up and did that, plus type all this up.

So, yeah, these hills aren't anything to plan a vacation around, but they were fun and I enjoyed them. They had just enough rocks to make the ascents minorly challenging and I would recommend them if you live in the area and want something easy to do.

(c) 2022 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.