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Idaho Pass Day Hike
Goldfield Mountains
February 11, 2006
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
group
Mike, Dagmar, Peter, Debbie, Michael, Brian, Joe, Beth, Stan, Craig, Ted

The day was cool and invigorating, with a cloudless sky, bright sunshine, and a fresh breeze from the mountains as we set out from Dome Mountain Trailhead bound for adventure in the southern Goldfields.

rock
Coyote Rock

The Idaho Pass route to Bulldog Canyon is just inside the Tonto National Forest boundary. We started on the Powerline Trail and then turned south on the Wolverine Pass Trail.

The trail goes in and out of washes on the north side of McDowell Road, giving us close-up views of colorful rock formations while avoiding the residential district on the other side.

Coyote Rock is a local favorite, just north of the Idaho Access. It is a spire of Tertiary rhyolite that looks like a howling coyote from certain directions.

West of the Idaho Access, it’s all wilderness. We cross two arroyos on the Idaho Pass Trail. Between them, a trail is planned on the east side of the canyon. But it isn’t built yet, so instead of bushwhacking we take the trail on the west side.

Ahead of us are the volcanic plugs of Bulldog Ridge. We walk north, as the trail takes us down in the canyon for a quarter mile, then out near Idaho Pass.

plug
Tertiary volcanic plugs rise from the south side of Bulldog Ridge.

The pass is very scenic. We stop for a snack break as Ted rattles off the names of the peaks on Bulldog Ridge. Most of the names are just numbers, like 3195, which indicate the elevation. The National Board of Geographic Names has not been generous with place names in the Goldfields.

Beyond Idaho Pass the view opens up to a grand panorama of Bulldog Ridge on the left and peak 3269 on the right. The colors on peak 3269 are amazing.

3269
Peak 3269 from the Idaho Pass Trail.

We turn east on Forest Service road 10, then follow a side trail over a pass and down into Bulldog Canyon. Two caves and two arches grace the walls of the canyon as we make our way eastward. At one point we have a distant view of the Trumpet Arch, south of peak 3089.

A horse trail takes us back to civilization. We stop for lunch at the turnoff for hill 2685, then follow trails and roads back to Dome Mountain Trailhead.

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updated August 14, 2018