|Browns Peak is the furthest peak to the left|
Four Peaks is the name of a north-south ridge on the Eastern skyline of the Phoenix Metro area. The tallest peak, Browns Peak at 7,657 feet is the highest elevation in Maricopa County. The other three summits are only slightly lower in elevation.
Plan on an entire day for this excursion. The drive from the east valley to the trail head is about two hours. However, the drive is part of the fun. The trail head begins at Lone Pine Saddle and can be reached by two different routes, both dirt road. A four wheel drive is not necessary unless there has been recent rain; however, a high clearance vehichle with good tires is recommened. A description of both driving routes is at the end of this post.
The trail is well worn and marked with a few cairns. You will come to a spot that you need to scramble up and between a boulder against a large cliff face. Once you get past this you will be ready to enter the scree chute. Head straight up the chute. The rocks are loose, so watch your footing! Getting a twisted ankle in this location would make for a very unpleasant hike out. Also, beware of rocks falling from hikers above you. About 3/4's up the chute you will come to a wall. You can easily pass this wall by heading to your left to go up and around or just scramble up the wall if you feel comfortable. Once you pass this obstacle you will be near the top. Continue up until you are on top and recieve the grand 360 degree view around you. To the north is Roosevelt Lake. To the southeast are the other three peaks which make up the Four Peaks Wilderness. You can see Apache Lake, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake laid out below the Supersition ridge far below you.
The April day we were on top there were thousands of lady bugs on the peak. It was amazing. Head back down the way you came, be careful heading down the loose scree on the chute.
I would rate this hike easy to the saddle and then the scramble up the chute as moderate to difficult depending on your hiking skills. Remember the elevation change is substantial from the Phoenix Valley so you will find yourself out of breath easily.
Length: 5 mile (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 1,933 feet
Accumlated Gain: 2,064 feet
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult, depending on hiking level. Not recommened for novice hikers or those afraid of heights.
Fee: No fee
Hike Time: 2- 3 hours
Drive Time: 4-5 hours total to and from Mesa.
Season: Spring through Fall
To Lone Pine Trailhead-
Western driving route: FR 143- High Clearance Vehicle
1. Take 87 North (Country Club)
2. Turn right at the Four Peaks Wilderness/Recreation Area. After mile marker 203
3. Follow for 19 miles
4. Continue on the main road ((a long way, High clearance vehicles are recommended, 4 wheel drive is not necessary unless it's rained)) until you come to an awkwardly shaped "T" crossing a cattle guard, at which time take a sharp right. You almost feel as if you are doubling back.
5. Drive 1 mile to Lone Pine Trail Head.
Eastern driving route: El Oso Road- Passenger Car
1. Take 87 North (Country Club)
2. Turn right on Hwy 188
3. 8 miles south of Punkin Center turn right on El Oso Road
4. Follow well graded, though steep, dirt road 11 miles
5. Turn Left at sign to Lone Pine Saddle
6. Drive 1 mile to Lone Pine Trail Head.