The Mountains of Arizona •
Rose Benchmark • Gila Bend Mountains (outlier)
• Town of Tonopah
• Maricopa County

Rose Benchmark, Arizona
Rose Benchmark Hill
Rose Benchmark, Arizona
Climbing the steep part
Rose Benchmark, Arizona
Summit view toward Palo Verde Hills
Rose Benchmark, Arizona
Now toward Saddle Mountain
Rose Benchmark, Arizona
South: Woolsey Peak (& BM)

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The Arizona
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Date: February 27, 2022 • Elevation: 1,512 feet • Prominence: 507 feet • Distance: 1.5 miles • Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes • Gain: 550 feet • Conditions: Sunny, pleasant, some high clouds

ArizonaMainPBLoJUSGS BM Datasheet

This is a low mound of volcanic boulders west of Phoenix, southwest of the Palo Verde Nuclear Facility. It lies in a gray area between the Saddle Mountains to the northwest, the Palo Verde Hills to the northeast, and the Gila Bend Mountains to the south. The terrain looked friendly and would be a gentle hike, as my right knee is a little wonky from a strain from a month ago.

I left home a little after 8 a.m., the day sunny and cool, highs forecasted to be in the low 60s. I drove west on Interstate-10 to the Wintersburg exit, then south on this road past the nuclear plant. The road comes to a T-junction with Elliott Road. I went right (west) about five more miles. The pavement ends at 435th Avenue, which is a desert track that heads northwest. Rose Benchmark Hill rose southwest, less than a mile away. I eased onto tracks that went generally south and west, getting onto the El Paso Gas Line Road briefly. I drove in about a third of a mile and parked behind a berm. I had driven about 70 miles and it was nearing 10 a.m. when I killed the engine.

I started walking, aiming toward a saddle at the north end of the formation. I had to cross through a sandy arroyo early on. The ground down low is covered in smaller volcanic rocks but spread out, so I could walk on the gravel between them. As I walked toward the saddle, I also slanted uphill on a slope I was now on. It became clear I didn't need to go as far as the saddle. The slope I was on looked promising. Up ahead was a break in the low cliffs that ring the top pleteau.

This uphill segment went well. It got a little rubbly in spots. The brush was light. Mostly creosote, scattered palo verde, ocotillo and low cactus, but virtually no cholla. Once on top, the highpoint was a 10-minute walk away. I walked across the flattish terrain, gaining about another hundred feet to top out on the summit. Not surprisingly, it was broad and indistinct, and any one of about a half-dozen large boulders could be the highest point. I put my germs on each one.

I found the benchmark surrounded by a ring of large rocks. Also within the rocks was the register, placed here in 2001 by MacLeod and Lilley. Bob Moore signed in in 2002. Then Nick Scouras in 2016, then me in 2022. The register wasn't that hard to find. I find it hard to believe we're the only five people to be up here in 21 years. I was able to fit my signature on page 1 of the little booklet, with Moore and Scouras. Figuring the booklet has 30 pages and it took 20 years to get 3 on one page, that comes out to 600 years before the booklet is filled up. And that's just single sided.

I spent about ten minutes up top. The day was mild, a few high clouds and no breeze. I took images of the big ranges nearby. I could also see the Eagletails to the northwest, and dozens of peaks to the south, some I've hiked recently like Yellow Medicine Hill and Peak 1385, and Saddle Benchmark. I could also see the big steam plumes from the Palo Verde facility. It's loud too, a low rumble. People live out here, in scattered homesteads. They probably get used to the noise. They probably all have superpowers now, too. I'm so jealous.

The hike down went well. I forgot where I came up over the plateau edge and did a little back and forth until I found it. Hiking downhill, my knee was a little wobbly at times. I gave the right tendon above the knee a tweak and it's still weak. I went slowly, fortunately, nothing happened. No further injuries or sudden DFOs. I was back to my car, total time gone 75 minutes, covering a mile and a half. It was a short hike as advertised, and enjoyable. Again, I was perplexed so few people have hiked this peak. I would have thought the usual peak-bagging crowd would have been here already. Plus, you get to see where Elliott Road finally ends.

I had another peak on the agenda, but I wasn't married to hiking it. I drove back to Wintersburg Road to the Salome Highway, and west about 5 miles to look at another volcanic mound north of the Palo Verde Hills Highpoint. This one has much steeper slopes. While short and probably easy, I was unsure if my knee was up for it. After a few minutes of thinking about it, I decided to bail and head home.

This mound was a fun excursion. Nothing to write home about, and if I didn't take a few images and write about it, I'd probably forget it in a few months. But for those who find themselves at the end of Elliott Road, this is a nice quick easy hike. Perhaps that register booklet will fill up in 400 years, not 600.

(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.