The Mountains of Arizona •
Greens Peak • Springerville Volcanic Field - White Mountains
• Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
• Apache County

Greens Peak

Looking up slope. Two cows feeding

The start of the road

Higher on the road, looking down on my truck and the distant Mount Baldy

The clouds are starting to build

The summit towers (inset: benchmark)

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The Arizona
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Date: July 16, 2012 • Elevation: 10,133 feet (10,135 feet per LIDAR) • Prominence: 992 feet (per LIDAR) • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 670 feet • Conditions: Cool and sunny but humid

ArizonaMainAZ P1KPBUSGS BM Datasheet

The plateau north of Mount Baldy in eastern Arizona features dozens of small, symmetric mounds of volcanic rock, covered in ponderosa forest and grass meadows. Most of these knolls rise just a few hundred feet above the plateau, with elevations in the 9,000-foot bracket. Greens Peak is the highest of these knolls and the only one to breach the magical 10,000-foot barrier. Not surprisingly due to its height, Greens Peak hosts communications towers and has a road to its top.

These knolls are part of the Springerville Volcanic Field, the second-largest field in Arizona. The knolls have round symmetric profiles, and the various sources I could find call these monogenetic volcanoes, meaning they erupted just once, but never in such quantity to form into one large mass with a sophisticated magma system.

We planned to spend a couple nights in Greer. We were last here in 2004, after our climb of Mount Baldy. In 2011, the giant Wallow Fire burned much of the forest surrounding Greer, but Greer itself (mostly) escaped the fire. We wanted to come back and visit again, to escape the desert heat, and to enjoy the quiet, slow pace of the high country. We left on the 15th and made the 200-mile drive through Payson and Show Low, much of it through rain showers and thunderstorms, arriving in Greer around 1 p.m. We got situated in our cabin and relaxed.

The storms were active, but for some reason, I thought I would still go take a look at Greens Peak. From Greer, I went west on AZ-260 to Forest Road 117, then north about 4 miles on hard-pack to FR-61, then to where the side road leads up to the top. I parked at a cattle grate about 100 feet above the junction, and started walking. To save time I went directly up the bunchgrass slope, but a loud crack of thunder stopped me. After hiking for about 5 minutes, I hightailed it back to my truck and decided to play it safe back at the cabin. The rain was heavy, and we stayed in, listening to the rain and the steady thundering.

The next morning started benignly, with sunny skies and spotty clouds, so I tried again. I parked at the lower road junction mentioned above and walked the road to the top, taking about a half-hour. The views were fantastic the whole way up, with great views of Mount Baldy, which, despite its elevation of over 11,400 feet, is so broad that itís hard to get a sense of its mass. Well, Greens Peak offered one such vantage point.

The summit is narrow and oriented along a north-south alignment with a gentle saddle between the two ends. I found the benchmark on the north end behind a building, then walked to the south end to "be sure", but to me, the north end is highest by a few feet. Once at the south end, I descended down the slopes directly. In moments I was at the top part of the road, which I followed a few dozen feet. When it felt right, I descended down the main slope on a beeline back to the cattle grate on the lower road and to my truck. The whole hike took an hour.

Since the road looked so good, I drove right back up. According to my truck's thing that tells miles, the one-way distance from the lowest junction to the top is 1.4 miles. It was about 9 a.m., and the thunderheads were already starting to amass. This would be it for the hiking for today. I didnít stick around, and drove right back down, and back to our cabin in Greer.

(c) 2012, 2016 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.