The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 1806 • Phoenix International Raceway • Estrella Mountain Regional Park
• City of Avondale
• Maricopa County

Peak 1806, highpoint is to the right

Ridge I followed up

Looking down the ridge I followed up. Nope, didn't like it, no sir

The top is nigh

This might be also the top

The lower ridges of the Sierra Estrella looking southeast

The Raceway as seen from the northeast ridge as I descend

A look up at the slopes of the northeast ridge

Approaching the top; some trash left behind; view of the mountain with the sun glaring things up; view from a parking lot of PIR

All images

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Date: November 23, 2022 • Elevation: 1,806 feet • Prominence: 486 feet • Distance: 3 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 730 feet • Conditions: Sunny and warm, lotsa schmutz in the air


Peak 1806 rises south of the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) in the City of Avondale. It is a foothill of the mighty Sierra Estrella, and is contained within the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, in a section of the park devoted to mountain biking. The peak is surrounded by biking trails, but no trail goes to the summit. The biking trails are open to hikers, too.

Being the day before Thanksgiving and seeing that there's no action happening for my online tasks, I got a map printed, my stuff together and headed out the door. The Estrella Mountain Regional Park is about an hour to the west, maybe less if traffic isn't too bad. But the day being what it is, I expected traffic to be heavy.

Rather than mess with the insanity of downtown Phoenix, I followed the Loop-202 freeway south of the South Mountains. This connects to Interstate-10 west of downtown Phoenix. Now heading westbound, I didn't have to drive far to get to the Avondale Road exit ... which I missed because I was two lanes over and a big truck was blocking me. So I took the next exit and backtracked to Avondale Road.

I followed Avondale Road to PIR, which was empty today. There is an easement road marked by a sign that allows access to the park property. The daily fee is $7, payable at a self-pay kiosk. I rolled into the large parking lot, and was amused to see I was the only one here. I had this section of the park to myself. The lot is huge, with room for 50 vehicles. I suspect that it may be used as relief parking if the crowds at PIR are larger than expected.

For being such a "low" peak, it has good prominence and would require some actual effort. I studied its lines from the parking lot. A northeastern ridge looked friendly, as did an intermediate ridge slightly west. Another ridge, this one northwest of the mountain mass, looked good but possibly steep at the end. I'd figure this out as I hiked in.

I walked the bike path and viewed the ridge slopes, and decided to take my chances with the northwest ridge, mainly because the track passes over it (south of spot elevation 1299 on the map). The ridge looked friendly, except for the final 200 vertical feet where it abuts the main mountain mass.

The walk to this ridge did not take long. I then followed this ridge toward the peak. As expected, it was easy-walking at first because the grade was so lenient. The rocky parts were easy to bypass. I even found paths in spots, too, but nothing substantial. I was soon at the last flat spot below the peak. It looked very steep. Maybe this wasn't the smartest route after all.

I started up the slopes, a path helping. It was steep, but not difficult. This gained me a quick hundred feet. I was now below a small broken cliff, the path ending here. To my left, there was open slope, but very steep. I could have angled uphill on it. But I was concerned about the runout. Looking up, there were rocks, some in big heaps, some forming small cliffs. I chose the rocky option.

Going up, it wasn't difficult. Most rocks were solid, and I tended to stay close to the main rock bands for better footing, and if I needed to grab onto them for stability. I could see I was making decent progress and at no time was I ever in any actual danger, but I did not like this route. Some rocks gave away and there were a couple spots where exposure to a fall was a concern. The scrambling was awkward. Overall, I did not enjoy this part and decided I would not descend this way. But I got to the top ridge, and I was relieved.

From here to the top was easy by comparison. I had to get up, over and around about 2 or 3 more false rocky summits, but these were not difficult as there was always an option down through the heaps. Shortly, I was on top of Peak 1806. I surveyed all before me. To the south were the much bigger peaks of the Sierra Estrella. North was the PIR track, west were more foothills. Northeast was Phoenix and its ugly mucky air. Southeast was the best view, the long Gila River Valley hemmed in by the Sierra Estrella and the South Mountains. This long valley sits mostly within the Gila River indian Reservation and as a result, is not overbuilt with homes and other structures.

The very top features two small rock humps of about equal height. One has a ring of rocks with a platform within it about 4 feet in diameter. Someone had been up here to no good. There were knives from an old multitool, some tape ribbon, a small air cannister (air gun?), small AA batteries, key rings, and things like that. I can't even begin to postulate what this person was up to, and why it had to be up here. I found no register and have no sense how often this peak is climbed.

For the descent, I opted to follow the longer northeastern ridge. There were a couple rock outcrops I had seen from below that I hoped would not block me, and they didn't. At times, the downhill was steep, but not nearly as steep as that uphill segment mentioned earlier. I descended to a saddle south of Point 1470, then dropped downslope through brush, catching the bike path and out to my car.

When I returned, another vehicle had pulled in. They had a bike rack on it, and I assumed that this being a mountain bike park, and that they had a bike rack with no bikes in it, that they were probably biking the paths. I did not see anyone. The round trip hike took me two hours, covering about three miles.

This descent route I took would be an ideal ascent route too. The rock scrambling is just Class-2, and the brush is manageable. There were saguaro, but palo verde was much more common. Cactus was kept to the lowest-to-the-ground kind, no cholla for example. There was creosote, and on the lower slopes, a lot of brittlebush and grass.

I took a look at some hills over by the main entrance are of the Estrella Mountain Park, but passed on them, not eager for more brush and rocks. Instead, I returned to Tempe, pleased with today's peak. I had a little scare when I returned. I pulled into a gas station in Tempe and couldn't find my wallet. I looked and looked. It was in the little outside zipper compartment of my day pack. At one point on the peak, I had opened it to check my phone. I was freaking out that it had fallen out. I was thinking I may need to go back and reclimb the peak to find my wallet. But after more searching, it had fallen underneath the passenger seat by the door. Stupid wallet.


Rough rendering of my ascent and descent tracks.
Red is the ascent, Blue is the descent.


(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. WHA