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Via Panther Peak Wash
Route

Via Panther Peak Wash

 
Via Panther Peak Wash

Page Type: Route

Location: Arizona, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 32.34610°N / 111.1652°W

Object Title: Via Panther Peak Wash

Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Sarah Simon

Created/Edited: Jan 25, 2012 / Jan 25, 2012

Object ID: 773215

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Page Score: 81.18%  - 13 Votes 

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Overview

 
Descent toward the east
Descent toward the east


This route to the summit of Panther Peak provides a great tour of the Sonoran Desert: A winding desert wash, a stroll across the untracked desert floor, a mild scramble up a small canyon, all to arrive at a wide-open, rocky summit with great views.

While the navigation is pretty straightforward, there is no real "trail" on this mountain (though the route funnels into a user footpath near the summit), so be ready to navigate with compass/GPS, map and common sense.

Roundtrip Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft
YDS Class: 2+

Getting There

 
Route Map_Panther Peak Wash
Route Map


The Panther Peak Wash Trailhead is accessible to standard passenger cars and even motorcycles via paved road.

• From I-10, take exit 246.
• Travel west on Cortaro Road, following it to its end at a T-intersection.
• Turn right at the T onto Ina Road for a short distance
• Stay on Ina Road only a short distance
• Turn left onto Wade Road. Wade Road soon becomes Picture Rocks Road
• Picture Rocks Road carries you into the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park (western unit).
• Drive over Contzen Pass, passing the Cactus Canyon Trailhead.
• The Panther Peak Wash Trailhead is very non-descript. It consists of a small gravel pull-out that can hold a few vehicles. The sign, strangely, is not (or barely) visible from the road.

Route Description

 
On the desert floor
On the desert floor
 
North up the canyon
North up the canyon
 
Ascending the rocky canyon
Ascending the rocky canyon


 
Out of the saddle
Out of the saddle
 
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit
 
East from the summit area
East from the summit area

• From the parking area, head briefly downhill to the floor of the wash.
• Follow the twisting and turning course of the wash for approximately 1 mile.
o Be prepared for sometimes deep sand and slow going.
• After about 1 mile of travel in the wash, leave the wash heading due north across the desert floor.
o Just look for a place that seems to offer nice exit from the wash.
• Travel roughly ½ mile across the open desert floor with no foot path to follow, to the mouth of the small canyon that runs between Panther Peak and Safford Peak (“Sumbrero Peak”).
• As you ascend the canyon, you may begin noticing more cairns and subtle footpaths. Travel seems best on the east side of the canyon, primarily.
o As you ascend the canyon, the unmaintained use path should become increasingly apparent.
• About ½ mile of travel up sometimes rugged terrain in the canyon will bring you to the saddle.
• From here, it’s less than ½ mile of travel up a fairly well-worn use path to the summit of Panther Peak.

 
South toward Wasson Peak
South toward Wasson Peak
 
Panther Peak summit area
Panther Peak summit area
 
East toward Santa Catalinas
East toward Santa Catalinas


 
Descent from saddle
Descent from saddle
 
Back down into the wash
Back down into the wash
 
Nearing the mouth of the canyon
Nearing the mouth of the canyon

Essential Gear

 
Down toward the saddle
Down toward the saddle


In addition to standard hiking gear appropriate to the season, the following are recommended when summitting peaks in the Tucson Mountain Range:

• Climbing gloves (leather or suede are more durable, but simple cotton gardening gloves work, too) when navigating over rock or pushing desert scrub out of the way.
• A lot of water (more than you think you’ll need). There are no water sources at the trailhead or along the route.
• Sun-protective clothing, particularly long-sleeves and a brimmed hat, and sunscreen.
Low In addition to standard hiking gear appropriate to the season, the following are recommended when summitting peaks in the Tucson Mountain Range:
• Climbing gloves (leather or suede are more durable, but simple cotton gardening gloves work, too)
• A lot of water (more than you think you’ll need). There are no water sources at the trailhead or along the route.
• Sun-protective clothing, particularly long-sleeves and a brimmed hat, and sunscreen.
• Low/desert gaiters to keep rocks out of your boots.
• Salty snacks.

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