Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Horse Mountain - McFadden Trail Day Hike
when Trip Report : May 9, 2015
  Trip Report : September 29, 2012
where Sierra Ancha Wilderness
the hike     This infrequently hiked trail is on the extreme northern end of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness, located to the northeast of Roosevelt Lake. Horse Mountain is named as such because its top is an extended and relatively flat horseshoe-shaped area, opening to the north. The name McFadden comes in to play because the area was originally settled by a McFadden, a rancher - the Circle Ranch - near where the hike starts out.
    This is an in-and-out hike, with a round-trip length of about 8½ miles. It starts out at an elevation above sea level of about 5600 ft., and during the midpoint, an elevation of about 7500 ft. is attained. It is not a technically difficult hike, but the elevation and hike length could present problems to some, and individuals should take this into consideration while deciding whether or not to participate.
    Much of this hike is in tall ponderosa forest. There are excellent views at various places along the trail, but what makes this hike great is the terminus. The hike ends atop a high cliff, somewhat like being on the Flatiron or Battleship Mountain in the Superstitions. The views there are spectacular, with the Mogollon Rim to the North, and the Cherry Creek Valley far below. Just below is the huge Elephant Rock formation, on which are located ancient cliff dwellings.
    The hike starts near AZ 288 following an old abandoned road, continually climbing until a ridge is reached at about a half mile. Continuing on the trail, a junction with the Cienega Trail is soon reached. A sign indicating the McFadden trail points up the steep, but easily followed trail. At about 1.9 miles, the extended flat top of McFadden Horse Mountain is reached, and from there, the hike proceeds southward and then gradually swings east and then north, following the horseshoe-shaped top of the mountain. While on top the trail may be difficult to perceive, because it is so little used. There are, however, many large and well-placed cairns along the trail to guide the way.
    After about three miles, the trail leaves the mountaintop, crosses a small ravine, and proceeds northward for about another mile along a ridge. Not far from the trail and to the right, a very steep drop off may occasionally be seen, with the Cherry Creek valley far below. The trail ends abruptly when one can go no further, with precipitous drop offs to the east, with Elephant Rock just ahead, and the Cherry Creek in the valley far below.
    The pace will be slow.
distance 8½ miles
time 6-8 hours
EC +-2000' elevation change
elevations 5600' (Trailhead) to 7500' (Horse Mountain)
type round trip
starting at
McFadden Trailhead 33° 53.318' N,  110° 57.789' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100% — McFadden Trail, abandoned road
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Young
meet 6:00 AM at Gold Canyon (leave by 6:15 AM). Take the Superstition freeway/ US 60 east to about milepost 202. At the junction of US 60 and Superstition Mountain Drive, meet in the Basha’s Parking lot, by Jack-In-The-Box.
•  From U.S. 60 in Globe, take Arizona 188 north for about 15 miles to the Globe-Young Highway, Arizona 288.
Take 288 to milepost 288, and look for a pullover on the right to park.
It is about a two hour, 90 mile drive to the trailhead.

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