OverviewThis route takes you to the top of the peak starting at the South end of the ridge and going over the summit to the North end of the ridge, meeting up with the trail at Boulder saddle. It could be done in reverse but would not be as easy to follow.
Getting ThereFrom Phoenix, take the Superstition Freeway (US-60 E) to the 202 N. Take exit 27 off the 202 N to University Drive. Turn left (North) on to Meridian after about 3 miles and take Meridian 3 miles North all the way up to the Meridian Trailhead at the corner of Meridian and McDowell.
Route DescriptionStart at the Meridian Trailhead. The ridge line portion of this hike is not oft traveled and covers rough rocky terrain. My GPS had us at just over 5 miles round trip with nearly 1.5 miles of it being off trail on the ridge line.
This is a true loop hike that starts and finishes at the Meridian TH. For this description, travel was counter-clockwise (Ridge line from south to north).
Start by taking the trail that heads north towards Bulldog Saddle. As soon as you leave the parking lot, there is a split---stay to the right (East). Within about 500 feet a trail splits off to the east. Follow this trail for around 2 miles until its terminus at the south end of the mountain. The trail ending is rather obvious as it abruptly gets smaller and turns directly up the ridge. There are lots of cairns which lead up the ridge line.
Once on the ridge line, the route requires boulder hopping, scrambling and a few downclimbs. Exposure is minimal. The terrain very much resembles that of the nearby Pass Mountain ridge line. About a 1/3 of the way up, you will slightly descend to a clearing like area and after a short climb, we encountered a fire pit. This is where the really fun scrambling begins. There is a great scramble along the ridgeline followed by a clear plateau like area, followed by another nice little climb up to the summit.
After passing the highest point on the ridge, Peak 3169, there is just one more saddle and slight climb to the final peak at the north end of the ridge.
From here, look down to the west at Boulder Saddle. Follow a cairned route down the north end to the saddle. Pick up the Boulder Saddle trail and follow back to the trailhead.
Note: Do not leave the ridge line! After descending from Peak 3169 to the saddle, we thought it would be easier to skirt around the mountain rather than scramble along the ridge. We were very wrong. This half mile to rejoin the trail before descending to Bulldog saddle took us as long as the rest of the trip put together.
Note 2: The trail heading up the ridge on the south side of the mountain was relatively worn and easy to follow. The trail coming up from Boulder saddle was just the opposite. For this reason, I recommend going the south to north route.