The Mountains of Arizona •
Peters Mountain • Peaks 3359 & 3358 • Mazatzal Mountains
• Tonto National Forest
• Gila County

Peters Mountain, Arizona
The lower portion of the road, snowy Four Peaks rises behind.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
The road then bends, the highpoint (Peak 3359) up ahead.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
Peak 3359.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
View of Four Peaks from Peak 3359.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
Peak 3358 and Lake Roosevelt.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
Now on Peak 3358's summit, Lake Roosevelt again.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
Looking back at Peak 3359 from Peak 3358.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
Another view of the Four Peaks massif from Peak 3359, the clouds having moved aside briefly.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
View down the hiking road.
Peters Mountain, Arizona
A parting view of the summit ridge from down below.

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Date: March 22, 2020 • Elevation: 3,359 feet & 3,358 feet • Prominence: 379 feet • Distance: 3 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 760 feet net, 900 feet gross • Conditions: High clouds and muted sun, cool and humid


Peters Mountain is a highpoint along what is essentially a long ridge emanating down the east side of the Mazatzal Mountains, below the Four Peaks massif, toward Lake Roosevelt. The peak consists of the named summit at 3,314 feet elevation, and two higher ridgepoints to the west, spot elevations 3,359 and 3,358 feet. Decent forest roads get close and I was interested to check it out.

It would make sense to name the highest point as "Peters Mountain", but I suspect that when viewed from below from the east side, the 3,314-foot peak is visible, and the higher ridgepoints too far back to be seen. The same naming phenomenon occurs with Vineyard Mountain, about ten miles south. This is a troubling trend in topographical toponymy, where a trifling tallest tip is trumpeted, tagging it thusly such that it takes time to tease out the truthful top's title.

The last couple days had been sunny and beautiful, but today was more gray, a layer of high clouds muting the sun. I left home at 7:45 a.m., following the Beeline Highway south, then the AZ-188 toward Lake Roosevelt. About 24 miles later, I turned onto the Three Bar Road (Tonto Forest Road 445), which is a pretty good road. People were camped in spots alongside this road.

About two miles on this road, I stopped and parked where FR-699 starts, heading south up to the ridge (the map calls it FR-669, so one of them is incorrect, underscoring the perils of careless rotational symmetry). This road was way too rough to drive. I was at 2,600 feet elevation, the time a little before 9 a.m.. The sky was still a milky bluish-white, the sun was still muted, it was cool (about 60 degrees), and humid, given I was near Lake Roosevelt by now.

I walked up this second road, avoiding the two-foot deep erosion channels. There was some old tire prints but they looked old and likely an ATV. For walking, the road served as a wide trail. It was still muddy in places from the recent storms.

I hiked the road uphill about a mile, to where it ended on a flat bench immediately west of Peak 3359, the mountain's presumed summit. The last third of the road was in dreadful shape. I doubt even a skilled ATV driver could have got past the rocks and massive erosion ditches. The road appears not to be maintained at all.

From this flat, a trail is evident in the low grass, and one short haul uphill, gaining about 50 feet, and I was on top Peak 3359. This peak itself has a somewhat long ridge for a summit, and any of about two or three small rises could be the actual top. I tagged them all. Looking east, Peak 3358 looked "obviously" lower. I was still energetic since I'd only hiked a little over a mile, so I went over to Peak 3358, about a quarter-mile away. I had to drop about 70 feet and bypass a couple small bumps. In about fifteen minutes, I was on top Peak 3358.

Peak 3358 is much more compact, with a small summit hump and a rock that sticks up about 18 inches. I tagged it. Looking back at Peak 3359 ... that one looked lower now. Clearly, two values cannot both be lower than one another. I would not be able to declare Peak 3359 or 3358 as the highest point, it is too close to call. I visited both, so I was covered.

I hiked back to Peak 3359, at which time the clouds kind of parted, allowing the sun to shine and providing better light for photos. I took a small rest on that flat below Peak 3359, then walked back to my car, being careful not to slip on the muddy inclines. The round-trip hike covered about 3 miles and I was done in about 2 hours. I was not rushing things.

I got in my car and headed back toward Payson. It was still early and I wanted to hike another bump. I looked at Black Mountain, which is a solitary hump of rock and forest near the town of Rye and Gisela, about 10 miles south of Payson. I was here about two weeks ago, but that day it was kind of warm. Today, my problem was finding a decent place to park, which I couldn't. I was not that invested in this peak and I simply drove home, happy with my one peak effort for the day. I enjoyed the drive, hike and exploring a road I'd never been on.

(c) 2020 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.