3 hours from Yuma

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Stu Brandel

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3 hours from Yuma

by Stu Brandel » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:56 pm

My son is in the US Marine Corps, and currently stationed in Yuma Arizona. He is not able to get leave to come back home for the holidays, so my wife and I are planning to visit him in January or February. Yuma seems within 2-3 hours of a lot of places (San Diego to the west, Phoenix and Tucson to the east). What area makes sense to visit for 3-4 days of day trip hiking, in winter (I am thinking picking Evan up in Yuma and going somewhere)? I know the Tucson area a bit but the many Southern California ranges are a confusing mystery to me, and I am hesitant to go there without some recommendations. Would like some ideas of nice places to base ourselves that are not overrun with people, but that offer some canyon and summit day hiking opportunities.

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by Scott » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:12 pm

I haven't climbed it (yet at least), but I have seen the following mountain:


It's pretty close to Yuma and a very nice looking mountain.

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by seano » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:33 pm

Stu Brandel wrote:Would like some ideas of nice places to base ourselves that are not overrun with people, but that offer some canyon and summit day hiking opportunities.

Little Picacho is close to Yuma and fun, and won't be crowded. The Superstitions east of Phoenix are unique and scenic, but will be crowded on a weekend.

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Sunny Buns

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by Sunny Buns » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:22 am

Might check this website out, maybe make a post there too:


I remember some big sand dunes somewhere around Yuma or El Centro, just off the freeway where you could rent an ATV by the hour. That was fun 30 years ago........ Bet you can still do it.

Wickenberg area may have some good stuff. Scroll around on this map:

6 hour drive to Grand Canyon.

Have fun.

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Mark Doiron

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by Mark Doiron » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:07 am

Sunny Buns wrote:... I remember some big sand dunes somewhere around Yuma or El Centro, just off the freeway where you could rent an ATV by the hour. That was fun 30 years ago........ Bet you can still do it....

Imperial Dunes.

Not sure of the drive time to any of these from Yuma, but if you can work it in, this area has some great hiking opportunities ...

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the biggest state park in the country. Not sure its exact size, but I've been told by a volunteer of many decades that the Wikipedia page sizing is usually too small due to land donations that continue to increase its size--roughly 700,000 acres now. Popular with the off-road crowd, but there are opportunities to hike. Check weekends for big off-road events in the area, because it can be slammed with people who give off-roading a bad name.

Nearby (to ABDSP) Carrizo Mountain is also popular with the off-road crowd, but it's closed to them (officially--some miscreants work around that by finding alternate routes around the gate, or by going in after the closing date but before BLM officials have actually locked the gate shut) starting January 1st or each year through the end of June (IIRC).

The San Diego County high point, Hot Springs Mountain, is located on Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. They have camping on the reservation, and you could bag the high point. Great views from up there. Off-road travel is now allowed up there, but most folks don't know that because it was closed for years to them.

Mt. San Jacinto is a great hike with wonderful views of the desert. You can shorten the hike by taking the tram up, or hike it all the way from the desert floor below (near Palm Springs). It's also possible to hike it from the other side at Idyllwild, but a longer drive from Yuma.

If you want to climb some rocks, head for Joshua Tree National Park.

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by surgent » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:25 pm

In Yuma itself, you have http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/az/ra ... ridge.html . The "summit" is beyond the last of the buildings and involves some scrambling. However, I did not hike beyond the last of the buildings. If you like towers and wires, this is a good peak. Popular with the locals. Great views in all directions.

Another quickie: http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/ca/ra ... tknob.html just over the state line in California.

The bigger summits near Yuma get semi-technical fairly fast. Sheep Mountain is a sustained rocky scramble. You'll need the free Goldwater Range pass to get on that parcel of desert. Others have mentioned Picacho and Castle Dome. Castle Dome is a fine climb, about an hour north of the city.

Anza-Borrego is an outstanding place with many options. If time is a concern, you can enter the park via Ocotillo and starting picking off peaks along the Imperial Hwy such as Stage Benchmark fairly easily. Whale Mountain is the centerpiece, but requires 4wd to get past one rocky stretch and would take up most of a day.

You also have smaller ranges like the Fish Creek, plus craggier hills nearer Salton Sea. In California, the Cargo Muchacho Range is relatively close. I have not hiked there, but others may have.

If you like smelly bodies of water, volcanoes and off-the-gridders, check out http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/ca/range/redhill.html and its negative summit.

Be sure to get a date-shake at the small shop in Westmorland. You'll see signs for it for miles around.

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Re: 3 hours from Yuma

by MoapaPk » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:39 am

I would 2nd Little Picacho north of Yuma, but the peak is a bit technical. You need to rappel 2x and do one shaky class 4 climb to get to the true summit, plus a prusik up a false summit on the descent. If you are content to get to the first summit (almost as high), it requires just some nerve for a jump-across (and exposed 3+ climb on way back). However, that area is spectacular just for walking among the canyons. There is a state park and boating/fishing just up the road.

Just east in AZ are Muggins (class 3/3+) and Klothos (class 2+).

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