The Mountains of Arizona •
Hyde Creek Mountain • Highpoint: Santa Maria Mountains
• Prescott National Forest
• Yavapai County

Hyde Creek Mountain, Arizona
Camp Wood Peak (left) and Hyde Creek Mountain. Photo taken April 2017 from Connell Mountain
Hyde Creek Mountain, Arizona
At the summit cabin

Hyde Creek Mountain and its lookout (July 2023)

Hyde Creek Mountain as seen from the top of Camp Wood Mountain, July 2023

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Date: May 9, 2004 • Elevation: 7,272 feet • Prominence: 1,650 feet • Distance: 6 miles • Time: 4 hours • Gain: 1,600 feet • Conditions: Clear and warm

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We were looking to get out of town for the day, a peak to hike, not too big and not too small, not too far and not too close. A scan of Bob Martin's Arizona's Mountains mentioned Hyde Creek Mountain in the Santa Maria Range about 45 miles (as the crow flies) northwest of Prescott. It met all of our criteria, so off we went. We were on the road early and made the 100-mile drive to Prescott, then 40 more miles north and west to the Hyde Creek Mountain Trailhead.

Hyde Creek Mountain rises to 7,272 feet, topping the Santa Maria Mountains in the Prescott National Forest. The range abuts the big Baca Float #5 Land Grant, which is today incorporated into the O RO Ranch. Other big ranches are in the area, so it's a little fortuitous that the range and highpoint are in the Forest lands, and thus, publicly accessible.

The trailhead is near "Camp Wood", which is a big camping area in the forest marked by a sign. We took the good dirt road west of Williamson Valley Road about 15 miles to Camp Wood, then followed smaller roads northwest to the trailhead. The last two miles was over a narrower, rough road, but 4-wheel drive was not necessary. We were the only ones at the trailhead, which was just a tiny wide area in the road. We started hiking about 11:15 a.m. in nice, slightly warm conditions.

The trail heads north down into Stringtown Wash, then up and straight toward the obvious summit. The first mile and a half is gently sloped and rocky, although the trail is nice and wide. The scape was a forest of pinon, junipers, bigger firs, grasses, prickly pear cactus and lots of wildflowers (lots of periwinkles). We came to a gate after a while and passed through it, then stayed right at the only main junction we came to, where the sign mentioned Hyde Lookout up ahead.

The trail then enters a small canyon and gains steeply of the headwall, making two or three long switchbacks as it comes to "Lower Saddle", then "Upper Saddle", where we rested briefly. The summit was just directly above us, about 3/8 of a mile of hiking to go. We quickly covered this final stretch and arrived at the top about 12:30 in clear, breezy weather. A well-kept lookout hut sits atop the peak, and it appears to get regular maintenance. The screen door was probably put on this year. No one was in and it was locked tight, so we went around back to the summit rocks and benchmark, where we took photos and ate lunch.

From the top, Humphreys Peak stood to the northeast on the horizon, while innumerable ridges and hilltops spread out in all directions. The Bradshaw Mountains were visible to the southeast, as was Granite Mountain nearby Prescott. There was even a good, clean port-a-john up there. This peak is definitely not close to anywhere and a bit obscure anyway. But it is a great hike with great views.

We hiked down in just over an hour, for a round trip time of three hours, including stops, with 6 miles and 1,500 feet of gain for the entire trip. The loose rubble made for slow going, otherwise we may have been out sooner. After a late lunch in Prescott, we drove on home and had a relaxing evening.

(c) 2005, 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.