The Mountains of Arizona •
Harvester Benchmark & Dobbins Lookout • Phoenix South Mountains
• City of Phoenix
• Maricopa County

Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Harvester is the peak to the left in this image
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Closer in, looking into the sun
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Standing on the highpoint, looking west at the towers
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
On the western rockpile
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
North view into Phoenix
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Scratched benchmark
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Dobbins Lookout hut and viewing platform
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
The hut
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Two images of me from 1992 at Dobbins Lookout
Harvester Benchmark Dobbins Lookout, Arizona
Ma Ha Tauk Ridge as seen from the upper mountain road

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Date: July 30, 2021 • Elevation: 2,555 feet • Prominence: 245 feet • Distance: 1.4 miles • Time: 45 minutes • Gain: 280 feet gross • Conditions: Warm and humid, no breeze, a bee


I woke early intending to hike a short trail to the top of Harvester Benchmark, a hill in the South Mountains of Phoenix. The hill lies east of the range highpoint and is accessed by the National Trail and the Old Man Trail. I wanted a little exercise and figured this hill would be hikable in a short time frame and in the heat.

I was on the road a little before 6 a.m., and in the park about 6:30 a.m.. The day was sultry, temperatures in the high 80s, sunny with clouds, and no breeze. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it would warm up fast so my window of opportunity was about an hour or two at most.

I followed the road into the park, and taking it uphill, going as far east as it goes, where it ends in a small parking lot, a trailhead for the National Trail and a couple other trails. There were two cars already parked here. A bicyclist rolled in as I was parking. I'd seen a couple of them plus joggers. Being a Friday, it was not crowded.

I followed the National Trail eastbound, dropping about 50 feet to a saddle. A lady hiking out warned me of a snake in the trail, but I did not see it. The trail gains uphill and achieves a saddle northeast of the Harvester Benchmark hill. The Old Man Trail crosses the National Trail here and heads up the Harvester Hill.

The trail is short and lets out on the small summit ridge of this hill. The apparent highest points are to the east, where I found the benchmark in a rock, completely scratched up (see image in the photo sidebar). I also walked to the rock outcrop on the west tip. The sun was very low in the east so images taken that way came out too glared.

I walked back the same way, back to my car after about 45 minutes on the trail. I call the mileage as 0.7 one way, and 1.4 miles round trip. It was warming, but still reasonably pleasant.

I drove out shortly and then took the small spur road to Dobbins Lookout. I was here once before, with my mother, in October 1992 just after I first moved to the Phoenix area. I was the only car in the parking lot this time. I walked to the highpoint, a few yards beyond the restrooms, topped by a concrete pad on top of natural rocks. I intended to take a photo when I felt a sting --- a bee had just stung my left arm! I swatted it away, and noted a few more bees circling me. Getting the hint, I walked down off this hilltop back to the parking lot.

I then walked to the Dobbins Lookout viewing platform, on which sits a cylindrical copper-plated dais, placed here in 1960, with arrows pointing to surrounding natural features. The hut is a few feet downhill. I walked to it and within it. I have no real memory of being here 29 years ago. It all looked new, yet vaguely familiar.

Although I was the only car in the lot, a few hikers came up from below, one guy huffing so loudly I thought he may keel over. A motorcyclist raced around the parking lot. Other than that, it was completely quiet.

I exited the same way, back to my place about a half-hour later. The hike went well, not an epic, but it got me out and another chance to visit the South Mountains. I stopped at a minimart for drinks and a packet of Benadryl. The sting left a pinkish welt about an inch in diameter. I took a Benadryl to stave off a possible histamine event, and took a nap. I felt no ill effects, but with bee stings, you never know for sure.

(c) 2021 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.