The Mountains of Arizona

Jackson Butte, Arizona
Jackson Butte
Jackson Butte, Arizona
View northwest at Haystack Butte, from the plateau portion of Jackson Butte
Jackson Butte, Arizona
Walking toward the summit bump
Jackson Butte, Arizona
Battling brush and rocks
Jackson Butte, Arizona
I sit on the top rock
Jackson Butte, Arizona
View north of "Tucker Place" and Timper Camp Peak
Jackson Butte, Arizona
Another view of the summit bump as we walk down
Jackson Butte, Arizona
Walking down the slopes, Matthias' car is parked at the near end of the airstrip below. Carol Spring Mountain, which we hiked a couple hours later, is the peak on the left skyline.

Carol Spring Mountain as seen from the gate along US-60

Sign at the top

Summit towers

View of Jackson Butte, which we hiked earlier today. Directly behind is the Apache Peaks summit

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Globe & US-60 Corridor

Jackson Butte • Carol Spring Mountain

These two peaks rise about 20 miles north of Globe, along US-60 to near where it crests the cliffs overlooking the Salt River Canyon. Jackson Butte was the main goal, a pointed peak with a distinct rocky crown. Carol Spring Mountain lies nearby and was only climbed because it was there, it was easy, and our other planned peak got cancelled when we couldn't find a good way in.

Jackson Butte
• Tonto National Forest
• Sevenmile Mountains
• Gila County

Date: May 26, 2018 • Elevation: 6,106 feet • Prominence: 1,066 feet • Distance: 2.8 miles • Time: 3 hours • Gain: 1,110 feet • Conditions: Overcast, warm and slightly humid • Teammates: Matthias Stender

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Jackson Butte is about 20 miles north of Globe, along US-60 as one heads toward the Salt River Canyon. The peak lies west of the highway, across the way from another highly-prominent mountain, Seven Benchmark. We chose to tackle Jackson Butte today, instead of Seven Benchmark, since it was shorter and looked less brushy. It's warm now, so scaring up snakes in the brush is a real concern. We'll save Seven Benchmark for when it's much cooler.

For this hike, my partner was Matthias. Our usual fellow gangster, Scott P., had already climbed this peak. It was his photos that we went by to get an idea of what to expect. Since the hike looked short, we planned for a second peak nearby, Timber Camp Peak, which lies north across the valley from Jackson Butte.

I met Matthias at the Wal-Mart in east Mesa, then he drove us through Globe and northbound on US-60. Jackson Butte has a distinct shape, a trapezoidal "base" topped by a small flat plateau, with a 300-foot bump on its east end being the highest point. We could see it from miles away. The highway gains elevation, and we found the small Forest Road that led us to a small parking area where we would start the hike.

The parking area is the west end of an old air-strip that cuts across the forest road. We rolled in about 7:15 a.m., the day cloudy with overcast skies and no chill to the air. Despite being at about 5,000 feet elevation, it was warm, no doubt an effect of the clouds that bottled up the ambient warmth from the previous day. Our parking area featured a fire ring, some old metal junk, general modern trash, and a lot of ants. Jackson Butte's east slopes were not far away. The summit was probably just a mile on a direct line. We started hiking fairly quickly.

We walked up some cattle paths, then down to a fence surrounding an earthen tank. We worked though some awful brush to get past one drainage, then came to another fence, which we scooted under. So far, we'd walked about 500 feet and gained about 20 feet... and it may have been the crux of the hike. The brush was ugly.

Very quickly, we were on the slopes of Jackson Butte. We walked upward, following open lanes whenever we found them. The ground was grassy with lots of rubbly rock. There was a lot of cactus and scattered trees, but nothing big. The day was still warm and still, and a little humid. It wasn't a comfortable hike. Fortunately, the actual hiking was easy... just steep and loose. At one point, we looked down and saw some truck pull up to Matthias' vehicle. Then they slowly reversed and left. We had no idea who they were or what they were up to.

We grunted upward, eventually gaining about 800 feet to place us on the upper plateau. We were about quarter mile northwest of the summit bump. Up on this plateau, the walking was easy and mostly flat. We aimed for the bump and soon started up its slopes.

From below, it looked to be a jumble of heavy brush, small sections of scree and talus, and cliffs and other rock outcrops. It didn't look impossible, just messy. We strung out here, following our own noses up this slope. The rock was often loose, and there were a couple spots where we needed hands to clamber up the rock slopes and small cliffs. Usually, these scramble bits were augmented by branches poking you in the back or the head.

Nearing the top, we found a couple cairns, but we also noted some landmarks we could use when we descended. The final few feet was fast, and we were soon on the summit. Matthias was already standing on the summit boulder. The benchmark and a reference marker were set in rock flush to the ground, which the summit boulder was about six feet higher. I took his photo, then we traded places so he could take my photo. There was not enough room for two people to stand on this boulder.

Another boulder about 20 feet away appears as high, so we went over and tagged it, but my opinion was that the boulder nearest the benchmark was higher, by about 6 inches. After tagging the boulder-tops, we took a longer break on the ground near the benchmark. We had good views in all directions, the best being a distant view of Haystack Butte, about 15 miles away. We also had some cooler breezes up here, but it was still warm, probably in the 70s. While not "warm" in the usual sense, it was still and humid, so it felt warmer.

For the hike down, we retraced our route as best we could. There are some low walls of rock in spots, apparently built by Indians way back when. This peak would be a great viewpoint, if you needed one. Going down, we sometimes had to figure out what we did coming up. But we got down in one piece, the fun parts being where tree branches would poke you in the back or the head while scooting down a few feet of rock.

We did not folow the exact same slopes down that we did going up, but that probably didn't matter. We carefully walked down the slopes, managing the loose sections well, and avoiding brush most of the way. We deliberately aimed a little more to the east. We could see ranch roads that we could follow back to Matthias' vehicle that would allow us to avoid that nasty brush we had at the start of the hike. This worked well, and added not a lot of extra distance to our hike. We were back to the car a little after 10 a.m., about a 3-hour hike. Whoever had been inspecting the vehicle earlier left it alone, which was nice of them.

It was still early, so we did not linger, and started back out to the highway and up the road a little way to get to Timber Camp Peak. However, we found the access road to be gated and locked at the highway. We did not want to walk the road in, so we dropped any plans to hike that peak, and instead looked across the road at another option, Carol Spring Mountain. This one has a road and communication towers on its summit. It would not be a wilderness hike, but it does have a lot of prominence and would be a worthy second hike for the day. So we hiked that peak instead.

Jackson Butte is a fun, short hike, but not trivial. It is a steep slog up the slopes, then a messy and steep slog again up the bump to the top. However, the views are excellent and there's just enough challenge along the way to feel like you earned the peak. Note: I returned alone in February 2019 to hike Seven Benchmark. Yup, it was brushy.

Carol Spring Mountain
• Tonto National Forest
• Gila County

Elevation: 6,629 feet • Prominence: 949 feet • Distance: 2.5 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 670 feet • Conditions: Same


Climbing Carol Spring Mountain requires no special skills. A good partially-paved road winds up a little over a mile to the top, gaining 670 feet. There are towers at the summit, which can be seen from the highway. Since Timber Camp Peak was no longer an option, this peak would be a good second hike.

We started walking at 11 a.m., and took it slowly. We just followed the road until it fed us to the top, where the towers stood, and a loud generator making noise. An old forest service sign marks the top. The highest point appeared to be some disturbed mounds of dirt and concrete slightly west of the buildings. A pretty summit, this was not.

We found a shade tree slightly below the summit to rest and drink. We then walked to the far end of the towers. While the summit itself was a dud, the views all around were very good. We could make out Turnbull, Graham, Natanes and Baldy Peaks looking south to east to north, and then looking west, view Seven Benchmark, Jackson Butte, the Apache Peaks, Four Peaks, and big Pinal Peak. To the north were the cliffs fronting the Salt River Gorge.

The hike down was as equally exciting as the walk up. We were back to Matthias' vehicle quickly, where we changed and got moving back home. The round trip had taken us about 90 minutes. The crux of the hike was crossing US-60, which was heavy with traffic, this being the first day of the Memorial Day weekend.

Carol Springs Mountain won't go down as an epic hike, but it does have nearly 1,000 feet of prominence, and were it not for the road and towers, it would be a short but challenging "bust up" the west slopes to gain the top. It was a good short workout, easy to do, and a perfect second hike for the day.

(c) 2018-22 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. .