The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 2073 • "FCI Phoenix Peak" • Union Hills
• City of Phoenix
• Maricopa County

Peak 2073 from the east

Partway up the slope

Below the top now

Burros looking at me

Summit rocks

Government housing

West tip

Southeast, Union Hills

Northeast, Daisy Mountain to the left, New River Mountains in back

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Date: December 1, 2023 • Elevation: 2,077 feet (per Lidar) • Prominence: 305 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 45 minutes • Gain: 325 feet • Conditions: Cool, spotty clouds • Wildlife: About a dozen burros


This peak lies west of Interstate-17, north of the Pioneer exit, and north of Peak 2165 (Pioneer Peak). On the peak's southwest tip is a prison, the Federal Corrections Institute - Phoenix (FCI-Phoenix). I would come in from the opposite direction, the northeast.

I had little going on today, but needed to handle a couple minor errands that kept me bound to Tempe. By late morning, I was looking at maps and reconsidered this little peak. It's a "soft ranked" summit, meaning its prominence averages out to about 300 feet but may be lower. However, after referring to the new 1-meter Lidar data, it shows a summit elevation of 2,077 feet and a saddle elevation of 1,772 feet, for a prominence of 305 feet. So I got my stuff together and drove out to hike it. I had a couple more nearby hills on the agenda just in case.

The drive went well, and I exited at the Pioneer Road exit, went to the west side and past the Pioneer museum, then north along the paved road to where it bends left toward the prison. I continued north on a gravel track for about a mile, until I was northeast of the peak. I parked alongside the track, just a couple hundred feet from the interstate. The peak rose about a mile to the southwest. This gravel road was pretty good, but with a lot of puddles after last night's rains. Today was cool with puffy clouds, temperatures about 60°.

I started walking old tracks and through low brush until I was at the base of the slopes. I then walked up the lenient slopes through palo verde, grass and a few saguaro. I heard some braying and a ruckus, then saw about a dozen burros running downslope on the opposite side of me. Moments later, I heard some huffs and snorts and saw two more burros, they staring back at me as well. They did not run off, so I took their photo.

It was about this time I head some gunshots. I could see a truck parked in a clearing north of the peak, presumably belonging to the shooters. I kept to the opposite side of the ridge, but I was way above them and far enough back that the likelihood of getting shot was very small. The last slope got steep but it was short, and I was quickly on top the rocky peak, about 20 minutes after starting.

I did not stop. I just walked from one end to the other, tagging rocks. I did not see a cairn or a register. Views were good, with blue skies and puffy clouds, and a gentle breeze. I got a good look down into the prison. I was close enough to the interstate to hear the cars. I stayed up top about two minutes.

I followed the same route back, the burros gone by now, and the shooters far enough so as not to concern me. I was back to my car, a round trip time of just 45 minutes. It was a pretty hike, and easy too, with easy slopes and no inconveniences.

Next, I drove to the other side of the interstate to check out a couple more ranked peaks, but these are surrounded by houses. I drove a few residential roads to see if there was an ad-hoc trailhead or some place to park, but didn't see anything that I liked. I did not want to just park in front of someone's home. I didn't linger, and just got back on the freeway and back to Tempe, my home for just two more weeks. I stopped for a falafel sandwich and some groceries along the way.

(c) 2023 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.