Dinosaur Mountain is a small peak that offers an hour or so of fun scrambling and interesting views. And, of course, there's the name. Sometimes when I climb a peak just for its name, I'm disappointed; I wasn't on this occasion. Plus, you'll have plenty of time to climb something else the same day, if you wish.
Dinosaur Mountain is southeast of the greater Phoenix area. Climbers will utilize trails at the Gold Canyon Golf Resort. The trailhead is at the north end of the resort, with ample parking nearby.
To get to the Gold Canyon Golf Resort from the Phoenix area, take Highway 60 east past Apache Junction, then turn left onto South Kings Ranch Road. The address of the resort is:
6100 South Kings Ranch Road
Gold Canyon, AZ 85118.
Dinosaur Mountain is actually a small ridge that runs north-south. It's somewhat like several of California's Mammoth Rocks lined up in a row (with a much shorter approach hike). I approached the Dinosaur Mountain ridge from the south.
Looking at the ridge end-on, one can't see the true summit. But I believe the maximum fun lies in climbing up and over all of the high points along the ridge, eventually reaching the true summit, which is obvious once you've reached it.
Why didn't I think of that?
I didn't know it at the time, but it is possible to stay on a trail and hike around all of the false summits and then scramble directly to the highest point. That would make for a very short hike, though, and be much less adventurous. I think it's more fun to climb every hump of the dinosaur's back, enjoying the separate challenges and views of each one.
Looking South along the Ridge at False Summits on the Dinosaur's Back
The Summit of Dinosaur Mountain
View from the Summit
None of which I am aware, but I suppose one should be well-mannered enough not to get thrown off the resort property.
When to Climb
Any time of year, but winter would be best, as it's a small peak in Arizona.
Information about the Gold Canyon Golf Resort: