An Arizona Backcountry Gem
Located just north of the Phoenix city limits (approximately 33 miles), Jaccuzi Spires posseses all the characteristics of an enchanted desert backcountry climbing experience one could ever want (or tolerate...whichever comes first!); a moderate approach through Saguaro cactus stands and loads of "Cat's Claws", a remote setting and the lack of people, and the beauty of the Arizona desert landscape. The Jacuzzi Spires offer up good quality multi-pitch traditional routes. With its fairly secluded setting, the overall area consists of three spires, although most of the routes can be found on the first and third spires. From the trailhead start, the approach is semi-lengthy (3 miles), with the last part of the approach involving a bit of loose steep scrambling to access the base of the spires (watch out for those cactus!). Of course, the spires themselves will not disappoint you upon arrival. One look (especially the first spire) and the arduous approach will soon be a fading memory. Don't forget to check out the Table Mesa creek bed at the base of the spires where the spires namesake originates....Mother Nature hard at work! The best time of year to climb at the spires is winter to spring. Most of routes on the spires face south, which are situated on a south facing slope along the Table Mesa creek bed. It'll be plenty warm by the time the approach is completed, even in winter time.
From Phoenix, drive north on I-17 to exit 236 (Table Mesa Road). Turn right (east) onto the Table Mesa Rd, which quickly turns to dirt 1/8 mile from the exit. Approximately 1.1 mile from the interstate, you will reach a gate on the left hand side of the road. Note: You will also see the road continuing onward toward a ranch house, that has another gate. DO NOT go through this gate but rather proceed through the gate on the left. As a helpful indicator, you will also see a Permit Sign posted on this gate regarding hunters/fishers and their responsibilities when entering the area beyond. Make sure you close the gate behind you. Continue on the dirt road for ~3.3 miles (the road starts to get pretty rough and rutted in places and a sturdy 2-wheel drive or better yet 4x4 vehicle with decent clearence is advisable) to a cattle guard. Just beyond the cattle guard is a national forest sign on the right. Cross the cattle guard and continue just a short way to a 3-way split in the road. Stay on the middle road of this fork. Take the right fork, which leads uphill to a dark rocky knoll. The dirt road then terminates at the top. Park here (~0.25 miles past the cattle guard). The trail begins right at the parking area (fits possibly 3 cars). If you intend on making this an overnight trip, take a left at the final fork and head east for 100 yards. This road will then turn back west and head approximately 200 yards to a dead end and nice flat, cactus-free campsite. This camping area is only a short distance away from the trailhead. Keep in mind, there are no water sources, so bring plenty of water.
Once at the trailhead, you'll notice the trail hugs the right side of the canyon for a good distance, contouring the landscape beyond. Stay on this trail until you see the spires on the left (north) side of the canyon. Cross the canyon as the trail nearly meets the creek bed, just below the first spire. There is no definitive trail leading up to the spires. It is up to you to find the best line of attack on the final steep and loose approach to the base. This page author's recommendation is scramble on the slope's southeastern side, which eases up in steepness in the beginning. Again, be aware of the variety of cactus and other desert denizens (ie rattlers and fire ants)
Bear in mind, there are several mining claims in the area. Please be respectful of the land owners and be a good steward if approached by other land users or the land owners to maintain access. This land is also shared by other recreational users like OHV enthuisists, hunters and silver miners. Also, if you're an "out-of-towner", be sure to consult with the 'natives' on current access issues and area ethics (ie first ascents, rebolting etc)
Camping is free. However, to maintain this "Free" status, be sure to maintain a low profile and clean up after yourselves. As mentioned earlier, there is no water source (although this may be true if you're back in the area during a late season thunderstorm....the creek may flash flood and the dirt roads may become mud soup!). Be sure to bring plenty of water! It does get warm in this area during the day time. The camping area described above does have a rock fire ring. Wood is fairly scarce. However, drift wood can be found in the dry creek bed. Best just to bring your own. ;)