The Mountains of Arizona

Suizo Mountain

Suizo Mountain

View of the main mountain mass as I surmount a lower ridge

Not the summit quite yet

There it is, back there


Black Mountain

The Tortolitas

Ridge I ascended

Newman Peak, and Picacho Peak to the left. The hill there is called The Huerfano ... "The Orphan"

Poston Butte

Poston Butte Florence, Arizona
Poston Butte with its "F"
Poston Butte Florence, Arizona
View from the start of the hike
Poston Butte Florence, Arizona
The pyramid
Poston Butte Florence, Arizona
Poston's Pyramid
Poston Butte Florence, Arizona
An interesting cairn, with Florence and its prisons behind

All images

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The Arizona
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Florence Follies

Suizo Mountain • Poston Butte

I drove to the Tucson area to hike Jeffords Peak, the highpoint of the Tortolita Mountains. That hike went way faster than I expected. We were done and back to our cars before noon. Having still a half-day open, I looked at some other possible hikes in the area to pad my totals. Since I was headed back north via Florence and state route AZ-79, I looked at a few isolated peaks along the highway.

Suizo Mountain
• Highpoint: Suizo Mountains
• Arizona State Trust Land
• Pinal County

Date: December 20, 2017 • Elevation: 3,360 feet • Prominence: 480 feet • Distance: 3.5 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 660 feet • Conditions: Clear, temps in the high 60s


North about 15 miles from the Tortolitas is a small "range" called the Suizo Mountains. The range runs about three miles long and features two or three main hills. The highest point is 3,360+ feet (3,369 feet going by an older map). The prominence is not even 500 feet. Normally, I would probably whiz right by this range, but today, it would be a perfect second hike. I would likely never drive this far just for this one peak.

I had looked at the maps beforehand, but had not printed any off, so I had nothing with me. I knew to get onto Park Link Road, then somehow get to Suizo Well on the south end of the range. I'd figure it all out when I got there.

After saying bye to Michael and Paul after our Jeffords Peak hike, I drove north, getting onto AZ-79, and driving about ten miles to Park Link Road. I didn't keep track of mileages, but the road is well signed. The Suizo Mountains can be seen as they jut above the flat desert plains. The summit is at the north end of the south "main" mass of the range, with a long gentle uphill gradient leading to the top from the south. It looked friendly.

Once on Park Link Road, I drive a little over 5 miles westbound, to a road about 0.2 mile west of mile-marker 13. It was signed as being Arizona State Trust Land, so this was good. I drove in about a half mile, dropping into and out of one small drainage which was a little rocky and rutted, but not too bad. Past this, I went right on a lesser road, although it was graded very nicely. I followed this road a few hundred yards to where it became rocky very fast. I eased back into a flat area and killed the engine.

I was southwest of the southernmost little hill of this range, elevation 2,700 feet. It was cool and pleasant, with a bright sun. I got my stuff together and locked up the car, and started walking a little before 1 p.m.. I followed this rocky road up a little bit, then it dropped into a broad sandy wash (Suizo Wash). I went right, trudging through the soft sand, coming to a fence spanning the wash. I hung a left and walked a track paralleling this fence.

I passed through a gate here, since it looked like a smart thing to do, angled left and soon, came to another fence. I had to get on my back to squirm under the barbed wire. I was now at the base of the main mass of the mountain. I could see the windmill at Suizo Well about a quarter-mile to the east, plus cattle making noise. There was no reason to go that way. I started up the slopes.

The slopes were rocky but not brushy, and easy to walk. Every step was solid and I had no scree or other loose crud to deal with. Soon, I had gained about a hundred feet, placing me on a ridge. I could view my situation better here. This "main" mass has a drainage on its south end, creating two ridges. I was on the eastern one, so it was logical to stay on it and follow it around to where it met with the main range crest.

The hiking was delightful. The brush was rarely a problem, and the rocks were helpful and not a hindrance. They often formed flat steps. I had to do no clambering or anything with the hands. The only downer was a blister forming in my left heel. I was breaking in a new pair of boots today. I had no issues on Jeffords Peak, but now, I was.

I hiked slowly but moved efficiently. Finally, I stopped to attend to my blister. I had some basic first-aid items to put on it, and it seemed to help. I continued on my trek. Soon I was closing in on where this subridge I was on was to meet the main range crest.

Trouble was, I had no map, so I assumed I was closing in on the summit. I was giddy with excitement. I slowed down to savor the victory walk. I get to within a few feet and see that I still have a half mile more to go! Okay, it wasn't too far, and only about 150 vertical feet. Still, it messed with my head a little bit. I had no choice but to keep walking.

Fortunately, now on the main crest, the grades were very lenient. I was at the top soon enough, taking exactly an hour, going by my cell phone's thing that tells time. I had a pleasant breeze up here and hundred-mile views in all directions. I took time to rest, pick out a few peaks, and wonder about the two rock platforms here on the summit. I looked for a benchmark but did not find one (in following up later, the "Suizo" benchmark is not located on the peak, but on the desert flats near highway AZ-79). I spent about ten minutes up here. It was very nice, and I was pleased how well the uphill hike had gone. My foot felt pretty good, too.

I followed the same route back down, but closer to the bottom I angled more west and walked across the flatter desert. However, this just funnelled me back to those fences, so I ended up repeating my route again for this last quarter-mile. I was back to my car about 3 p.m..

For a peak that I would likely ignore forever, and pretty much winged it, I found it to be a fun hike. The grades were easy, the brush light and the footing solid. It was about 3.5 miles round trip. Not many people come here and there appear to be some nice camping spots back here. I came away happy that I had visited this little peak and recommend it to future visitors.

I started driving back north, heading for home. I was beat by now. However, I had one more very short hike on the agenda, Poston Butte, a lone hill near Florence. Since I'd be driving right by it, I stopped there to hike that little bump too.

Poston Butte
• City of Florence

Elevation: 1,748 feet • Prominence: 218 feet • Distance: 1 mile • Time: 30 minutes • Gain: 260 feet • Conditions: Clear


Poston Butte is a small hill in the flats surrounding Florence. It has just 220 feet of prominence, but it is a compact, pyramid-shaped hill that stands out given how flat the surrounding areas are. There's a white "F" on the hill's slopes, presumably for Florence.

The hill is named after Charles Poston, a lawyer who moved west, learned the mining trade and became a successful miner in what was still the New Mexico Territory, near the current-day city of Tubac, near Nogales (Technically, this would have been part of Mexico back then, but in reality it was a no-man's land ruled de-facto by the Apaches). By the early 1860s, he was working in Washington D.C., and played a significant role in convincing the Federal government to create the Arizona Territory, which it did in 1863. This page has a more detailed summary of Mr. Poston and how he got around.

Long story short, he lived and worked in Florence for many years. He had become a convert to Zoroastrianism years earlier, and had purchased the hill, then called Primrose Hill, with the intention to build a temple atop it. However, he died a pauper in Phoenix in 1902, and never completed his project. He was buried in Phoenix.

Given his important role in helping create Arizona, and his many other roles in and around the territory during his lifetime, he was recognized as the "Father of Arizona". In 1925, his remains were re-interred within a stone-and-mortar pyramid atop the renamed Poston's Butte (now just called Poston Butte). The pyramid is visible from below, as it stands about 15 feet tall.

These days, Poston Butte is a minor attraction when visiting Florence. It's the only "real" hike in the city, and there's a small parking area off of the Hunt Highway that runs south of the hill. It's not a hike I would drive 70 miles to do, but if I was in the area (which is rare), I would look into hiking it, assuming I had the time and it wasn't 110 degrees.

I pulled into the meager parking lot at 3:40 p.m., one other vehicle there already. I packed light: just my camera and a bottle of water. I walked underneath the railroad bridge, then a few more feet to a gate. Passing through the gate, I followed footprints a few yards west to put myself at the base of the hill. I could stay straight and go up a steep eroded old road, or go right and follow a newer trail. The road looked ugly, so I chose the trail.

I walked along the meandering trail as it went north, but it seemed to meander unnecessarily, like the builders deliberately put in curves for the fun of it. I grew impatient, and walked cross-country up about 50 feet to catch the old road. The road's tread was abysmal, with loose rocks and bad footing, but at least it went up. Soon, I was where the trail met the road. I noted a few interesting cairns, each about 18 inches tall and composed of about ten delicately-balanced rocks.

The road makes a left bend, then one last right turn and ends at the pyramid. It had taken me 15 minutes to get here, covering about a half mile. A man and his two sons were up at the pyramid so I paused and let them do their thing. They were starting down anyway. Then, it was just me. I looked at the pyramid, shot some images, inspected a small concrete structure nearby, and looked around the surrounding area. Today was clear and chilly, with fine views in all directions. The prisons in town glistened in the waning daylight.

A plaque on the pyramid says it was erected by the territory in 1907, five years after his death. Sources say his remains were moved to the site in 1925, what would have been his 100th birthday. I am not sure why there is an 18-year lag between building the pyramid and then interring his remains there. It seems to me wiser to build the pyramid after his remains are placed there. The mystery remains.

Once done with my inspections, I headed down, and was back to my car quickly, my total time gone about 30 minutes. Today had been a productive day but I was sore, tired and hungry by now. I drove home by following Hunt Highway through San Tan Valley into Queen Creek, catching the Loop-202 Freeway there. I very rarely get to this part of the state, so I was surprised to see how much it has grown. Traffic was unbelievable.

Poston Butte is not much of a hike for a singular destination, but I recommend it if you happen to be in the area and like Arizona history. The hike is fast and logical and takes little time.

(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.