OverviewDespite its name, Maverick Hill is a fairly prominent mountaintop located in the wilds of eastern Arizona in Greenlee County, very near the New Mexico boundary. It is one of the highest peaks of the Big Lue Mountains, which sweep across the two states, with impressive cliffs on the west and south faces, and gentler forested hills to the north and east.
Logistically, a climb of Maverick Hill is very easy, as there is a fine campground at the trailhead (free, by the way), a fine ATV-footpath for most of the way, and a one-mile segment of rough trail and cross-country to actually gain the summit. Despite these advantages, the peak sees maybe one or two visitors a year: the log book went back to 1992 and had no more than a dozen entries. You have a very high likelihood of having the peak to yourself.
One of the visitors in the log book seemed pretty emphatic about the top being an old heliograph station back in the first half of the 20th century. I can find no supporting evidence, but have no reason to doubt this person, either. It may explain the old trail to the top.
Elevation: 7,488 feet
Prominence: 1,328 feet
Getting ThereThe easiest and least time-consuming driving approach comes from the west and south, following routes US-70 and US-191 out of Safford, Arizona.
From Safford, proceed east on US-70/191 for 10 miles to the 70/191 split; go left onto US-191, now heading northeast. Ascend into the Black Hills (that's Guthrie Peak ahead of you), then descend into the Gila River Valley to the junction town of Three Way, roughly 35 miles from Safford.
Stay straight through the intersection, now on state highway AZ-78. The Big Lue Mountains rise above you to the east, with Maverick Hill visible as a flattish, anvil-shaped peak to the right on the ridgeline (a more pointed peak that looks higher is Hells Hole Peak, which is closer to you but lower also). Stay on AZ-78 for about 18 miles as the road winds steeply up the foothills, surmounting a pass at the head of Black Jack Canyon. The Black Jack Campground is less than a mile later, on your right.
From Phoenix the drive to here is roughly 200 miles, via Globe and Safford. From Tucson, it's probably shorter to follow Interstate-10 to Willcox then catch the US-191 north to Safford.
Red TapeThe land is on the Apache National Forest, Clifton District.
Apache National Forest, Clifton
There is no fee to camp at Black Jack, but you should be aware of possible closures or restrictions due to dryness or weather.
This section of the forest has roads set aside for ATV enthusiasts, so don't be surprised to share the campground and some of your hike with ATVers. Weekends will be busy. We went on a Sunday night and had the place to ourselves.
CampingBlack Jack Campground, naturally. It's free, no advance reservations.
The C.G. has a number of large spaces for pull-through trailers and smaller spots for smaller vehicles. There are a couple of spectacular spots right on the rim of Black Jack Canyon. Just follow the roads to their end. Big trailers won't be able to get this far.
External LinksMy Trip Report (5-9-11)