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Peak 3004 Loop Day Hike
Goldfield Mountains
April 19, 2003
by Ted Tenny
  Route Map 

Peak 3004 is shaped like Mercedes-Benz®, a 3-pointed star, with points going north, east, and west. The east and west points are connected to nearby mountains, whereas the north point dips steeply down into the Salt River valley.

Four revved-up hikers set out from Meridian Trailhead to walk the talk around Peak 3004: Grace and Mike Haverty, Dennis Ryan, and hike leader Ted Tenny. The loop consists of a popular trail, a seldom-used trail, and a cross-country route to complete our scenic journey.

Peak 3004
Peak 3004 from the Pass Mountain Trail.

The day started cool and cloudy. We crossed Sand Canyon upstream of the usual crossing, on a trail that connects with the Pass Mountain Trail. Then we headed north along the east side of Pass Mountain, enjoying fine views of Peak 3004, Peaks 3127, 3205, and 3312 on Pass Mountain, and 3195' Temptation Peak on Bulldog Ridge. “It’s tempting to climb, but gets vertical just below the top,” Ted explained.

Soon we reach the pass. Everyone stops here for a water and snack break (sorry, no fast food restaurants allowed). There are fine views of Stewart Mountain and the Salt River valley to the north, and the rocky peaks of Pass Mountain to the west.

Then Ted took us off trail and down into the valley between Pass Mountain and Peak 3004. The ancestral Pass Mountain Trail went through this valley before they re-routed it to hug the mountain. But it’s an easy off-trail walk from the pass down to hill 2290.

Hill 2290
Hill 2290 is in the valley between Peak 3004 and Pass Mountain.

2290 is the only hill worth noting between Pass Mountain and Peak 3004. Although the hill is in a valley, the view from the top is fascinating. You can see Dome Mountain with its spike on the left, and pointed Panorama Peak. They are the highest and second highest peaks in the Goldfields, respectively. There is also a fine view of Lone Mountain to the northwest.

Hill 2290
Hill 2290.

Our climb down the east side of hill 2290 was gravely and slightly steep. Soon we crossed a wash and walked across the northern slope of peak 3004. The gently sloping ground is a desert botanical garden, all natural, with brightly colored lichens on the rocks and many kinds of colorful Sonoran Desert vegetation. Our route across the garden was east, looking for the trail. Ted had been here before but he was going the other way.

The seldom-used trail north of Bulldog Saddle goes through a series of washes that flow northeast from Peak 3004. The trail is indistinct until you get near the top. Near the bottom it’s marked with little cairns that are easily overlooked, and somewhat overgrown with vegetation. But our direction is south by southeast, and the trail usually is where it ought to be.

Bulldog
Pass Mountain and Peak 3004 from Bulldog Ridge.

Dennis was the first to get to Bulldog Saddle. Here we could see the trailhead far below, with Apache Junction to the south and Stewart Mountain and the Salt River to the north. The Bulldog Saddle Trail is quite rocky as it goes down a boulder-strewn valley to join an old road on the east side of Sand Canyon. By the time we reached the road the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it’s an easy walk back to Meridian Trailhead.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated February 20, 2018