Fifteen miles of the Eagletail Mountains' rough ridgeline run through the northern section of this Wilderness, including 3,300-foot Eagletail Peak. Cemetery Ridge lies along the southern border. Geology buffs can examine several distinct rock strata throughout these mountains, and everyone can marvel at such geologic wonders as natural arches, high spires and monoliths, jagged sawtooth ridges, and numerous washes between six and eight miles long. Courthouse Rock, a huge granite monolith, stands over 1,000 feet above the desert floor near the northern border and attracts technical rock climbers. Between the two main ridges stretches a vast desert plain of ocotillo, cholla, creosote, ironwood, saguaro cactus, barrel cactus, Mormon tea, mesquite, and sand. Summer temperatures rage and send up thermals upon which raptors ride as they scan the landscape for a desert rodent snack. The great horned owl and the coyote live here, but they keep themselves well hidden from backpackers, campers, and horseback riders.

Friday, February 03, 2012

2/12 Great winter hike. A high clearance vehicle is recommended as the dirt road to the trail head crowns in spots. Start out on an old jeep trail. When it drops into the large, main wash, follow the wash, beyond the metal cattle gate. The wash turns into an old jeep trail. The trail is pretty well marked with cairns for the correct direction & dead branches across offshoots that lead you off trail.