The Mountains of Arizona •
Peak 5466 • Oracle Ridge
• Coronado National Forest
• Pinal County

Start of hike. That's Oracle Hill to the southwest

Peak 5466 is the low hill to the left, not the big pointy one

Peak 5466

View south: Apache Peak (the big pointy peak) from the summit

Northwest, Black Mountain way in back

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Date: March 13, 2022 • Elevation: 5,466 feet • Prominence: 306 feet • Distance: 3 miles • Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes • Gain: 775 feet • Conditions: Pleasant and mild


Don't get too excited about this peak. This peak would normally fly under the radar were it not for some circumstances that "prompted" me to take a look at it. The peak rises south of the town of Oracle, at the base of the Oracle Ridge. The Oracle Ridge Trail and the Arizona Trail pass near it, so it is easily accessible.

I was in Tucson, and returning to Tempe. It was already mid-afternoon and pleasantly warm, a nice way to say that the snakes are starting to get active. My knee has been weak now for almost a month due to a slight strain, so I didn't hike at all for two weeks, which helped. I could tell it was stronger now. Nevertheless, I didn't want to push my luck.

This peak fit all of my criteria: easy access, trails all the way up, not too long, and easy grades to keep my knee happy. From Tucson, I followed AZ-77 north into Oracle, onto American Way (the main street in town) to the Mount Lemmon Road, then a quick right onto Cody Circle. I followed it south onto the Coronado National Forest and parked in a small pullout near Durant Road, below a water tank. One other car was here. This is the trailhead for the Lower Oracle Trail. It was about 12:15 when I rolled in, temperature in the high 60s, calm and sunny.

I dressed quickly and threw a simple pack together, and was quickly on the move. The trail at first was a little haggard with encroaching grass obscuring parts of the tread. After a few minutes, the trail passes through a fenceline at a stile and on the other side, it was in much better shape, wider and less grassy. The trail meanders a little before double-backing and aiming southbound. I passed another fenceline along the way and skirted below a small rock outcrop. Here, the trail widened even more, into an old vehicle track.

The route was bombproof given I was following a road. I just went where it went. I thought a rise ahead of me was the peak, but the trail angled left and I saw another rise, this being the peak. Beyond it were the higher peaks on the Oracle Ridge and even a little bit of the snowy high ridges of Mount Lemmon.

The trail/road gained steeply at times and dipped into a couple drainages. I met a couple people along the way, and passed through yet another fence line, this time through a gate. The route aimed for the presumptive highpoint and angled right of it. I walked a little past it to get a good look from its south aspect.

The peak was just a hundred feet higher but heavy grass and low brush blocked the way. I was in shorts. I looked for a way up and was able to spy an old path, so I bashed a little through the lower grass, using the hope method of snake avoidance (hope I don't step on one). Once on the path, it was an actual path, left to wither when the newer trail was rerouted. But it worked and I was quickly on top of Peak 5466. My knee was doing good.

I did not spend long up here. I snapped a few images and looked around. I never sat or rested. After a minute or two, I started down. I moved carefully and quickly was back on the road, where I could see my feet and ankles better.

The hike out went fine. I was moving quickly, for me that is. I enjoyed the weather and the scenery, and was back to my vehicle a little before 2 p.m.. I gauge my distance as 1.5 miles each way. My knee was still feeling good. The hike went well given the parameters I was working under. From here, I got back onto AZ-77 and followed it north to Winkelman, then followed AZ-177 to Superior, and onto US-60 back to New Los Angeles the Phoenix area.

Traffic wasn't too bad until near the Gold Canyon area on US-60. Then it became thick. The police had to set up cones to redirect traffic. There was a big "event" going on said the electronic signs. It was the Renaissance Fair. It's a big thing here. There were hundreds of cars (thousands?) in the lot. I've never been to a Renaissance Fair, and never felt the urge to go. I also underestimate just how popular they are still. I thought it was a fad for a few years in the early 1980s, but I am mistaken. I bet the availability of ale, cider and mead is part of the attraction. For the dozen or so miles until US-60 turns into the Superstition Freeway, I watched a few people struggle to stay centered in their lanes.

This little peak was a fun outing, and near the trails so that it's easily tagged as a five-minute side trip when hiking on the main routes.

(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.