From the trailhead at 4,200', start heading west on Forest Trail 43, also known as the Barnhardt Trail. The trail soon enters the scenic Barnhardt Canyon. After a mile or so, the trail turns left and starts switchbacking up the hill. Continue on the trail as it winds its way through the Mazatzal Mountains. After about three miles, you will hit Forest Trail 231. Continue west on the Barnhardt Trail as it starts to approach the northwest ridge of Mazatzal Peak. The Barnhardt Trail continues west to a 6,000' pass. You can take the trail all the way to the pass, then turn left and start climbing up the northwest ridge. Or, you can leave the trail early and head straight south up the slope to reach the northwest ridge. This is a steeper route, but it saves some distance.
We decided to leave the trail early around 6,000', and started heading up the slope
towards Point 6611. The terrain was rugged, and we soon encountered some thick brush
, which slowed our progress. Finally, we were able to push our way through the brush, and reached the northwest ridge near Point 6611
. We then turned left, and started heading up the ridge
towards Mazatzal Peak. Continue climbing up the ridge past Points 6,935 and 7,823. As you approach the top
, you will see the steep western cliffs of Mazatzal Peak off to the right. Make the final push to the summit
, where you can enjoy the views.
Hiking Distance: About 14 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: 3,700'.