The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 2283 • Gila Bend Mountains
• Woolsey Peak Wilderness
• Maricopa County

Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Peak 2283 as seen on the drive in
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Now viewed from the south as I start hiking, its long west-trending ridge visible
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
At the toe of the ridge
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
There is one steep bit with low cliffs but it was not difficult
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
The home stretch to the top
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Look down what I'd just come up
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
The summit! Woolsey Peak in back
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Northeast view, cool peak closer in, the Buckeye Hills in back
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
View north at the Palo Verde Nuclear Cloud Factory
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Peak 2137, to the southeast
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Nose Benchmark Peak, cholla, and morning glare
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
View southwest of the canyon I walked in on. My car is the tiny speck out there
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
Neat rock formation
Peak 2283 Gila Bend Mountains
The peak as I drive out

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Date: March 4, 2023 • Elevation: 2,283 feet • Prominence: 1,043 feet • Distance: 5.4 miles • Time: 3 hours • Gain: 1,340 feet • Conditions: Sunny and clear, inversion layer keeping the ground hazy

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Peak 2283 lies in the center, more or less, of the Gila Bend Mountains. For reference, it is about four air-miles southeast of Woolsey Peak. The peak has no name, and is set too far back to catch the eye if driving by on the nearby roads. I was aware of its existence, mainly because it has over 1,000 feet of prominence, but otherwise, it was never on my radar.

A couple days prior, I saw that DixieFlyer at HikeArizona had hiked it, mentioning its "perfect" west ridge and including photos, which helped seal the deal for me. I opted to go hike it the first chance I got, seeing that it'll be getting warm soon and my window of opportunity will be closing ... and quick. First chance for me was today, Saturday. No time like the present.

I was on the road at 6 a.m., following Interstate-10 to AZ-85 to Old-US-80 which heads west and parallels the Gila River as it bends southward. It was cool, in the 40s, but looking to be a clear and sunny day. Along the river itself and the surrounding farm fields, there was a lot of ground fog, to where it limited visibility to just a few hundred feet for brief stretches.

Just before the historic Gillespie truss bridge that spans the Gila, I turned right (south) onto Enterprise Road. This road is dirt and parallels a canal for a few miles. Its quality is decent but not great. It is kept up to a small degree since a few people live along it and it offers access to some of the farm fields. It had rained a few days ago and there were muddy patches and a few low pools still in the road. I got through them okay, kicking up some heavy mud at times. Other small segments of the road were sandy, or uneven where it would pass through a broad arroyo. I was on this road for 7.1 miles.

At the 7.1-mile mark, a side road branches westward. This is cited as Citrus Valley Road on the atlas but there are no signs here that say that. Before I set out, I was pretty sure I would make it this far on Enterprise Road, but was not sure how I would do on Citrus Valley Road. If I had to start hiking from here, it would be about a 9-mile walk each way to the peak and back ... which I was willing to do. But I wanted to see how far in I could get, too.

The road was not bad. I took it slow, and it was a little more rocky than Enterprise, but just the smaller stuff, no big rocks. I was fully expecting to come to an arroyo crossing that would stop me. I came to a few, and each one went well. Only once did I feel compelled to get out and inspect it before driving through. Nothing was worse than steepness, inconvenient ruts and leans, and rocks. Quite to my surprise, I was able to drive the entire stretch, 6.3 miles, to a side road that branches north toward the peak. I absolutely was not expecting to drive in this far, but I have no complaints.

About a mile or two beforehand, I had an unobstructed view of Peak 2283, from the southeast. It rises high, no foothills from this direction. The slope I would follow up was not visible from here. It looked like a lovely mountain. In fact, this whole area was very pretty, a broad desert valley with mountains on each side, and evidently not a place most people get to. I saw no one the whole time.

On the side road, I followed it another 0.4 mile to a large turn-around at the Woolsey Peak Wilderness boundary. I parked and killed the engine. It was just me for miles around. I got suited up and started walking at 8 a.m. sharp, sunny with temperatures in the low 50s by now, and very pleasant.

The road continues northward up a side valley, but is closed to traffic and not drivable anyway after a few hundred feet. It crosses into and out of a drainage a few times, but for the most part, makes for a good hiking path. I walked about a mile and a half, past a conical peak on my right until I was at the base of the long western ridge I wanted. On the hike in, I studied it from a distance, and it looked very friendly, no cliffs or other odd rock outcrops to contend with.

Once at the toe of this long ridge, I left the road, crossed through an arroyo, then started up the slopes. The going was fast and easy. Up ahead was the steepest portion of the climb, featuring some jumbled cliff bands, the ground and the cliffs all the same black volcanic rock. The grade steepened but was not difficult, the rocks being mostly solid and dependable. I got up to one of the cliffs and saw it was just a heap of rocks and a few "vertical" portions with options for ascent. I found a chute I liked and scampered up about a dozen feet, my only scramble of the day. Once atop that band, I continued up the steep parts until the grade lessened. Now, I had a view of the rest of the hike, and even a peek at the summit.

While the slopes had become less steep, the new danger was cholla, which was everywhere. I walked around them and still caught a couple on my boots, which made it easy for me to transfer them into my shin and calf. No matter how many times I've gotten stuck by a cholla ball, it hurts like hell for the few seconds they're embedded in my skin. I was able to swat them off with my hiking poles.

Other than the cholla, the actual hiking went well and I was soon on top the peak, 75 minutes after starting. The top is a small platform of rock along a small ridge, the highpoint being on the north tip. I stopped and rested, signed into the register, had a snack and a drink and looked around, shooting images. The day was sunny and very mild. However, there was an inversion layer so that the lower elevations, especially toward Phoenix, were under a layer of haze. Photos that way weren't the best. To the northwest was Woolsey Peak, and west and southwest, more big peaks of the Gila Bend Mountains. Looking east were the Maricopa Mountains and the Sierra Estrella. I spent about 15 minutes up here.

I hiked down the same route, making minor variations and avoiding any actual scrambling through the jumbly heaps and cliffs. I was back to the road and out to my car, arriving a shade before 11 a.m.. I was quite pleased and a little surprised how efficient the whole experience had been — the drive in, the hike itself, no brush or sketchy cliffs, no shooters, no other surprises. I was expecting to be on this quest a lot longer and now, being still late morning, had a full day to kill. What to do.

I exited out the same way, back to Enterprise Road, then north, aiming back to Old-US-80 at the Gillespie bridge. Along the way, I had maps for some lower peaks near the Gillespie Volcano, but the only road in was gated, locked and posted. Maybe another time, I thought. I want to explore this old volcanic vent in the future. I also started tailing a sedan poking along the road at 10 m.p.h.. I don't like to rush people on these roads so I held back, but even then, this person would often stop often, tapping their brakes the whole time. I just kept way back until we got to the highway. I crossed the bridge and stopped for about a half hour at the small parking area near a viewing platform of the bridge and of the old Gillespie Dam, which partially collapsed back in 1993.

There were a bunch of motorcyclists at the bridge, and a bunch of fishers across the highway. I just vegged. I also changed into more comfortable clothes. I had no real plan now. Since my car was pointed toward Gila Bend anyway, I chose to go there, taking Old-US-80 all the way in, which has about a tenth of the traffic as parallel AZ-85 and zero trucks. In Gila Bend, I stopped at a cool shop that specializes in Mexican-made craft items, lots of things for the home, yard and garden, really colorful vases, metal sculptures, painted skulls (I dig painted skulls) and ice cream, but I didn't have any ice cream. I may have purchased a thing or two there. That place is one of the cool places in Gila Bend. More people should stop in.

I debated my route back to Tempe, and finally elected to take the easy way in, the connector to AZ-238 that goes to Maricopa. I stopped there to take care of some very simple tasks and to procure victuals at a gyro place. Then I drove back into the city and on to my place, arriving about 3 p.m.. Today was a good day. Everything worked out well, with no troubles or unexpected delays. Peak 2283 was a winner and I am surprised I had never paid much attention to it previously.

(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. WHA