Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Newman Peak - Arizona

Newman Peak Hike
Picacho Mountains
Eloy, Arizona
Mileage - 5.05
AEG - 2,279ft
Time - 3:09

I wanted to kick off the new year with something worthwhile, and Newman Peak sounded like the perfect way to do just that.  If you're heading South towards Tucson on Interstate 10, this mountain sits on the East side of the road and towers over it's more popular neighbor to the West (Picacho Peak).  After countless trips to Tucson and beyond, I've had my sights on hiking this peak for a very long time.  Easier said than done. 

First I would need an Arizona State Land Trust permit, which I acquired in November.  Second, a 4WD vehicle is necessary to reach the trailhead on a remote and rugged dirt road (this is where my good buddy Walter came into play).  Finally, no trail exists.  In order to reach the peak, we would have to create our own route with the help of a few scattered cairns. 

A relatively short drive from Chandler put us in sight of the mountain, though it wasn't until we navigated our way through 15 miles of dirt road where we finally reached the trailhead.  Based on a couple GPS tracks I've seen online, it appeared that the route was directly ahead of us going due North up the drainage between the two main peaks.  Our hiking pace was as slow as I anticipated and those 2.5 miles to the peak took us nearly two hours.  Even though the summit is barely 4,500 feet above sea level, it was clear why Newman is number 37 on the Arizona prominence list.  There has to be 50-60 miles of open desert between here and the next significant range, and on a clear day like today it was easy to see a few distant snow-covered peaks like Mount Lemmon, Pinal Peak, and even Mount Graham!   

A view of the distant Picacho Peak from Newman Peak Summit

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