The Mountains of Arizona •
Baldy Mountain • Hieroglyphic Mountains
• City of Peoria
• Maricopa County

Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Baldy Mountain as seen from near the start
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Low on the ridge, the peak is still a distance away
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Inching higher
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Above the last saddle
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Cholla and saguaro
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
More saguaro
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
More cholla and saguaro as I get ever higher up
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
More of the same
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Cholla close-up, the false summit is ahead
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Now the real top is in view
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Summit cairn
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
View north
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Lake Pleasant looking east
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Starting the descent
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Now I see the tops of the cactus
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Lower down on the ridge
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
This is what I parked next to
Francis Rogers Baldy Mountain, Arizona
Interesting rock fracture; Plaque at summit honoring Ms. Rogers

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Date: November 2, 2019 • Elevation: 2,757 feet • Prominence: 587 feet • Distance: 4.5 miles • Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes • Gain: 1,060 feet • Conditions: Sunny and a little warm


This peak is cited on maps as Baldy Mountain, and is located about two miles west of Lake Pleasant, northwest of Phoenix. I found a good reference for the peak on HikeArizona, and decided to find out for myself. It's rare for me to hike in the Hieroglyphic Mountains (the range west and south of Lake Pleasant), so this was a good opportunity to drive out this way.

I left home about 9 a.m., arriving to the area about 10 a.m., a drive of about 60 miles. I took the Loop-101 freeway to Interstate-17 to the Carefree Highway (and a stop for drinks), then west about ten miles to the Castle Hot Springs turnoff a little west of the main entrance to Lake Pleasant.

Driving north on Castle Hot Springs Road, the mountain comes into view early, being the highest and most prominent of the peaks in the immediate area. It has a symmetrical profile with steep slopes leading up to a pointed top. And it is not bald, even from a distance. From below, it is clear that cactus cover this mountain from bottom to top.

A hiker named "2HIKERZ" put in a trail to the top (with his wife), making an ascent of this peak far easier than having to dodge cactus the whole way up. I had never heard of the peak until the past few days, and now I was eager to find out about this unknown gem of a peak and hike.

I drove north about three miles on Castle Hot Springs Road, going a little beyond the turnoff to the Lake itself. The road apexes, then drops slightly. Here, I was abeam of the peak and now sought a place to park. I found a scant dirt track that dropped down a soft embankment, and drove in about a hundred feet. I parked near an open fenceline, mere feet from the road but hidden by brush and about 10 vertical feet. This was far better than parking alongside the road. The skeleton and hide of a dead burro lay nearby. There was fresh poop everywhere too. But hey, my car was hidden.

I got my stuff together and started walking about 10:30, the day sunny and pleasant, air temperature about 75 degrees. I walked south about a quarter-mile to where a gentle ridge meets the main road. I cossed a fence line and soon found the trail, which is not well-defined quite yet (apparently deliberately so, so as to not attract the attention of the ne'er-do-wells).

The route follows a long and gentle ridge on a southeast-northwest bearing. The trail was usualy easy to follow but whenever it grew weak, there were small cairns to follow. The route then goes up a slope of black volcanic boulders. The trail gets weak here, given how difficult it would be to put in a trail of any kind in this bouldery terrain. But I paid attention, kept an eye out for cairns and never once lost the trail. The trail was a godsend because without it, it would be difficult to avoid the cholla cactus that is everywhere. The trail surmounts a bump, elevation 2,290 feet.

From this bump, the remaining ridge comes into view, full of glorious cactus. The route drops 80 feet, then starts up the slope to the top, still 750 feet higher. The route is steep but never too steep, and the trail combined in and out with rock outcroppings to where simple scampering with hands was necessary. But the trail never once failed me and always avoided the cholla, staghorn and prickly-pear cactus that was literally everywhere.

The route steadily narrows to a point up above, the presumed summit ... but it is not. It is just a false summit, with the true top just a few yards beyond it and perhaps ten feet higher. I was at the summit an hour after starting, a two-mile hike with a net 870 feet of gain. The views were fantastic and the day sunny and clear with no humidity. It was warm, too, but there was a soft breeze.

I took a fifteen-minute break up top, which is flat and features a six-foot high cairn and abundant flora. Affixed to a rock nearby is a plaque proclaiming the mountain to be "Francis Rogers Mountain", named for a cartographer with the Arizona Highways Department. It gives dates of 1915 to 1960, but I am not sure if this is when she lived, or was a cartographer.

The hike down also took an hour. It was easy going, but unwise to rush things due to the chance of running into a cholla. Which I did more than once, but they were minor encounters. I was back to my car at 12:45 p.m., where I changed and relaxed, breathing in the lovely scent of dead burro. For a peak that I only "discovered" this past week, I was very impressed by it. It is a pretty mountain with bold lines, a good trail and a forest of cactus to both admire and avoid.

When I got home, I looked up "Francis Rogers" on the Google machine but came up with nothing ... or a lot, since it is a common name. But nothing about a cartographer and links only back to the HikeArizona site. Whoever put the plaque up there, and when, is a mystery for now. I tried a variety of key words but came up with nothing. If anyone knew her or knows the history of how or when the plaque was put up there, please send me a note.

The plaque looked new, not a scratch on it, and still shiny. It's been up there at least since about 2010, when the earliest reports of the peak on HikeArizona mention it. The peak may not see a whole lot of hikers, given that 90% of the people who come here are headed for the water, and 9.9% of the rest are looking to shoot. The register log held a group of names from earlier this year, a few more since then and no one after April, until I signed in (the plastic container and the ink pen are rotting, so a new container and pencil will be needed).

I want to thank 2HIKERZ and his wife for their fine work in putting in the trail, entirely of their own effort. It is a good trail, a little faint in places, but easy to follow. Thank you!

Update: A new (as of 2021) shooting range has been developed on the east flank of Baldy Mountain, designed for long guns only. A close study of the satellite images shows a semi-circular fence acting as an "exclusion zone" for this shooting range. This fence appears to get very high on the mountain's slopes and ridge. It does not appear to impede access to the summit, nor the trail, but I cannot be certain of that. It seems the trail is outside the boundary, but at the highest parts, I couldn't tell for sure. It's something to be noted if heading that way.

(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.