The Apache Peaks are located north of Globe in east-central Arizona. Despite the plural name, there is just one true summit. The peaks are so named for a series of highpoints along the highest ridge, the highest being 6,940 feet, with another prominent peak at 6,910 feet about an air-mile to the summit’s south. The two peaks are most evident (and seem equally high) from points west of Globe along US-60 in the towns of Claypool and Miami (the highpoint will be the peak to the left). The range – some sources call it the Blackjack Range – is best viewed from the west along state highway AZ-188, coming in from the Roosevelt Lake/Four Peaks area. From this vantage, the profile of the summit ridge and peaks is most evident. The 6,940-foot summit sits atop a trapezoidal-shaped “hill” which itself sits on top of a broad summit plateau. The lower 6,910-foot peak is to your right (south).
The Apache Peaks are one of five highly prominent peaks within Gila County, but it is overshadowed by the much larger Pinal Peak to the south and the more interesting Four Peaks to the west. Visitation to the Apache Peaks appears to be limited to hunters and off-road drivers, few of whom ever bother to seek out the summit. Although the range sits within Tonto National Forest land, it is surrounded by Arizona State Trust lands and private ranch properties, and access, although allowed to the public, is not evident unless you do your homework in advance. Old mines pock the hillsides, which explains some of the old roads that lead into the range. However, the summit itself requires a fair amount of off-road and off-trail hiking up moderately brushy slopes and some minor cliff maneuvering. On the upside, the overall hike is very nice, route-finding is fairly easy and the various challenges aren’t so great so as to detract from a good day’s hike.
The summit of Apache Peaks is barely visible, dead center.
In Globe (actually, the community of Claypool between Globe and Miami), find the intersection of US-60 and AZ-188 very near a Wal-Mart/Safeway shopping center. Zero the odometer. Head north along AZ-188 for about 4.4 miles to Wheatfields Road on the right. Turn onto Wheatfields Road (which is old US-60) and drive through some residential areas for about two miles to Hicks Road on the right, just past a steakhouse restaurant. On Hicks, pass over a bridge and follow the road as it bends left, ignoring a right turn at a Y-junction. Hicks is now heading due north. Pass through a large ranch complex. On the north side of the ranch complex past some pastures, find a white gate on the right with a sign-in log. This allows the general public to pass through the private property to access the forest lands. To here my truck’s odometer read exactly 8.0 miles.
Pass through the gate and now drive east along a broad dirt/sand road for 2 miles to a junction with Forest Road 220 on the right (some maps call this Richmond Basin Road). Stay on this road for another 2.8 miles to a corral/gate at Procopio Spring. To here the road is fairly decent but sandy – a high clearance vehicle is suggested, and the sand can be soft. Low-set passenger vehicles are not suggested due to the sand.
Past the gate at Procopio Spring, the road roughens enough so that 4-wheel drive is strongly recommended. Most stock trucks/SUVs should be able to drive in another mile to another corral/gate at N 33.54195, W 110.77772. There is a pull-out and a fire ring near this gate. Past the gate the road continues for another handful of miles, but is narrow and probably best for small wheel-base Jeeps and ATVs. Parts of the road have a harrowing outward lean to it.
Most of the first 5 miles of this road run in and out of sandy stream beds which in wet weather could be swollen with run-off. In this case don't even bother trying to drive the roads. Some parts of the road is the streambed itself and with steep banks, suggesting that waters can get high quickly. Monsoon storms can be miles away dropping all sorts of water - coming your way without you knowing!
The Apache Peaks as seen from the access gate off Hicks Road.
The first portion of the dirt road past the ranch crosses private property. Please sign in and out of the log at this gate entrance, and be sure to close all gates after passing through them. Arizona does a credible job of negotiating easements across private properties onto state/public insections, but the landowners have the right to rescind their cooperation if people passing through cause damage or leave gates open.
There are no fees or permits required. The area is popular with hunters.
The summit "hill" from on top the summit plateau.
This immediate area isn't recommended for camping - too many residences, not many good pull-out options. Globe and its nearby cities Miami and Claypool have numerous cheap lodging options, ranging from scary to decent. This is an active mining center, so tourists are not a priority, although downtown Globe has some neat old buildings to poke around in.
Tonto National Forest
Detailed trip report, Feb 17 2008 (www.surgent.net)