|The Galiuro Mountains are a large sky-island mountain range located in southeast Arizona in Graham County, and Bassett Peak is its highest point. For such a large range, it hides in plain sight. It is obscured from view by the Santa Catalina Mountains from the west and essentially invisible from points around Tucson. Viewed from Interstate-10 from the east nearer Benson and Willcox, other mountain ranges such as the Winchesters and Pinaleno Mountains block, or diminish, the view.|
Its remoteness means that relatively few people visit the mountains. A fine trail runs nearly along the entire crest of the range, offering superb multi-day backpacking options. For those wishing to visit Bassett Peak only, a good trail from Ash Creek reaches the Crest Trail north of the summit. A round trip hike run s between 11 and 14 miles, depending on your vehicle's ability to manage the last mile or two of the approach road. There are no technical sections, and the summit is reached by a simple bushwhack from the Crest Trail.
The Galiuro Mountains are one unit of the Coronado National Forest, much of the range enclosed within the Galiuro Wilderness. The famous Aravaipa Canyon borders the range to the north, an Arizona hiker's classic route featuring perennial streams even during the hottest months of the year.
The best time to visit the Galiuros are in late Spring after the snow has melted, and in Fall (September-November) before the first snows. In the middle of summer, the heat can be taxing even at these elevations, and thunderstorms are common.
|From Willcox: Head north along the paved Fort Grant Road (Interstate-10, Exit 340). The road makes several 90-degree turns as it heads north and west. After about 21 miles, turn left onto Ash Creek Road, otherwise known as Coronado Forest Road 651. The road turns to well-tended dirt after a few miles. After about 14 miles, you will reach Sunset Loop at a right turn in the road. A ranch house is located on this curve. Stay straight (west) onto a primitive road, Forest Road 660. Drive west on this road through the scenic grassland. A sign marking the Coronado National Forest boundary is here. After about a half mile, a good camping spot is reached at the edge of the forest. Low clearance vehicles will have to park here. Four-wheel drive vehicles may be able to get another two miles farther in to a wide turn-around loop near a fence.|
From Safford: Head south on US-191 for about 10 miles to highway AZ-266. Now head west through the scenic foothills at the south end of the Pinaleno Mountains. After about 20 miles, you come to the community of Bonita. Find High Creek Road and continue west. The pavement ends near a school. High Creek Road then bends south and becomes Sunset Loop Road. This road meets Ash Creek Road (above) about 16 miles from Bonita.
Bonita has no services. It is essentially a ghost town, having served as a locale for workers at nearby Fort Grant. The land out here is a mix of BLM and private lands, devoted mainly to ranching. Public and private parcels are well-signed. Gas up in Willcox or Safford.
Mountain ConditionsContact the Coronado National Forest, Safford Ranger District, at 928-428-4150.
Forest Service Map: Coronado National Forest (Safford and Santa Catalina Ranger Districts). Topographical Maps: Bassett Peak; Harrison Canyon.