The Mountains of Arizona

Kunde Knoll as seen from McCracken Knoll. It is the low forested ridge, with Summit Mountain in the background

Interesting tree as we near the top of Kunde

Summit area of Kunde Knoll

McCracken Knoll Highpoint

The rocks at the summit

View east with Sitgreaves, Kendrick and Humphreys

Sweat, tats, blood, chops. I could be the bass player for the Carpenters

Cactus clump growing in a rocky nook

Coleman Knoll

Cool old tree as we near the summit area

Summit rock and cairn of Coleman Knoll

A shot of McCracken Knoll as we hike down from Coleman

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Williams Area Knolls

Kunde Knoll • McCracken Knolls Highpoint • Coleman Knoll

I was up before dawn today after a restful evening at the Super-8 in Williams. I was going to meet up with Matthias sometime later this morning, but we had not worked out the how and where and when details. Our plan was to hike three knolls south of Bill Williams Mountain, clumped close by one another.

I started today with a hike up Pouquette Hill north of Williams. When I was done, I texted Matthias my whereabouts. I was going to head toward Kunde Knoll first, with a rough time when I would be there.

Kunde Knoll
• San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Kaibab National Forest
• Coconino County

Date: July 23, 2022 • Elevation: 7,608 feet • Prominence: 328 feet • Distance: 1.1 miles • Time: 45 minutes • Gain: 275 feet • Conditions: Sunny, spotty clouds • Teammate: Matthias Stender

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From Pouquette Hill, I returned to Williams, then headed southbound out of town on the Perkinsville Road. The road weaves through a few residential areas, then heads due south toward Summit Mountain, which I hiked four years ago. By now, all other cars heading south had left the road to their respective homes or camping spaces. Except for a large white truck-like vehicle bearing down on me. I drove along the road until I was at the side road west of Kunde Knoll. Then the driver of this vehicle pulls up beside me. It was either Matthias, or an axe murderer. I was relieved that it was Matthias.

It was totally random that we were heading south on Perkinsville Road at the same time. Like I said, we had made very little effort to coordinate anything. So it was quite by happenstance that we met up as we did. As I was not a passenger in his vehicle this time, I cannot tell you what European prog rock bands from 1970s he was playing. (Note: he later told me it was The Muffins and Soft Machine Legacy)

Kunde Knoll is a low ridge of a peak, nothing really interesting about it, except that it's a ranked peak. I was here in 2018 after hiking Summit Mountain and gave it a quick look, but did not hike it at that time. This time, I was more interested in the pair of knolls to the north, McCracken and Coleman, and since Kunde was close by, I wanted to hike it. It did not look too long.

We parked in a clearing and started uphill through the moderate forest. We aimed a little south of the highpoint, going by openings in the trees. We sometimes found paths, but going cross-country was easy. We were soon on the south end of the ridge.

Now hiking north, we went up through the ponderosa and gambel oak, and occasional rock sections, until we were "on top". The summit is indistinct, but we found a cairn where others had felt to be the highpoint. We stopped to sign in and rest. The summit area was actually kind of pleasant, with views to the west.

We stayed a few minutes up top, then started down and back to our cars. The round trip hike covered just over a mile and took about 45 minutes. It was not a memorable peak, but I'm glad I tagged it.

McCracken Knolls HP
• San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Kaibab National Forest
• Coconino County

Elevation: 7,560 feet • Prominence: 380 feet • Distance: 0.7 mile • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 390 feet • Conditions: Same as before


Our next peak was just north, about a three-mile drive. We followed FR-108 in a couple miles past the camping people, heading southwest past a big marsh called Coleman Lake. Up ahead was our next objective, McCracken Knolls Highpoint. The McCracken Knolls consist of about four peaklets, of which the easternmost one is highest.

Matthias and I parked in a clearing beside the road, where it makes a sharp bend from west to east. The summit was directly above is, a forested steep hill. There would be no cleverness to this peak. It looked like a steep uphill grunt. We were moving in minutes.

We hiked up the slopes, growing steeper by degrees. There were lanes to follow, and the undergrowth was not too dense. It was steep but simple. Almost to the top, the foliage closed in, a lot of gambel oak growing tightly together. Then soon, we were at the base of a big rock outcrop ... an actual knoll.

Getting up these rocks wasn't difficult, but it was brushy. The scramble was short and in moments, we were on top, one rock jutting up about 5 feet, a perfect summit rock. Looking around, the rocky crown was very extensive, not just a small pile of boulders at the top. The knolls extended many yards and it looked like they formed cliffs about 30 feet high above the slopes below them. It looked like a real challenge to get up these, if coming from a different direction. We may have got lucky to ascend the way we did, because our scramble was short and not exposed.

We stayed up top for awhile because this really was a nice summit. We had fantastic views in all directions. We could see Kunde Knoll and fully appreciate how lame it is. We could see Bill Williams Mountain, and the other "Big 3" of Sitgreaves, Kendrick and Humphreys, plus the dozens of lower forested hilltops that eventually we will tag them all. We could see peaks way west such as Picacho Butte and southwest such as Granite Mountain by Prescott, and the Woodchute & Mingus pair. This was the coolest summit of the eight I would tag over these two days.

We hiked down the same way, inching down carefully. Me, I got tangled in the branches while trying to place my feet to descend the rocks. Once off the rocks, we scooted down the slopes and were back to our cars, a round trip of an hour.

Suddenly, I had great respect for McCracken Knolls Highpoint. I was expecting another forested bump with no views. This one was really cool.

Coleman Knoll
• San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Kaibab National Forest
• Coconino County

Elevation: 7,658 feet • Prominence: 478 feet • Distance: 1.7 miles • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 460 feet • Conditions: Warmer in the sun


Coleman Knoll lies a mile north of the McCracken Knolls. We went back on the main forest road, then entered onto lesser roads past all the campers. We went slow but still kicked up dust passing through one compound. They had arranged their vehicles and other camping items on both sides of the road, and one guy gave us a look for making dust happen. He should know better than to camp beside a dusty road.

We followed a decent track about a mile southwest until roughly at the south tip of Coleman Knoll. Unlike McCracken Knoll, this one was more spread out than tall. We parked and started walking.

We ascended steeply uphill, then the gradient lessened to where the remaining hike was up gentle slopes, which was welcome. The brush and trees were thicker here, more pockets of gambel oak to power through, and more deadfall too. We were soon gaining onto the high ridge. Once there, we turned left (west) and started up the remaining slope toward the top.

The summit features two lobes of about equal height. We ascended the first one, then dropped about 30 feet, then up the second (western) hill, where we found a cairn atop a large boulder surrounded by trees. This was the highpoint.

We signed into the register and sat for a spell. This summit had no views but wasn't too bad. At least where we were, it was cleared. Little ladybugs kept landing on me. We spent about ten minutes, then started down.

We were back to the cars quickly, a round trip of an hour. This was my fourth peak for the day and I was feeling bushed, even though it was not yet noon. This peak went well, but was not memorable. Just another peak to add to the list.

Matthias had his own plans, while I decided to get started heading back to Phoenix. I took the scenic route, going west to Ash Fork, then south on AZ-89-Alt through Paulden, Chino Valley and almost to Prescott. I took the beltway to get onto AZ-69 and onto the interstate, thence to Phoenix and its hot and dusty air. I was "home" by 3.

This was a productive 36 hours for me: eight ranked peaks and a chance to get out of the absurd heat for a little while. I am glad things worked out, enjoyed bagging peaks with Matthias, and had some "me" time too.

(c) 2022 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. .