Three Sisters Summit

HARD 3 reviews
#15 of 17 trails in

Three Sisters Summit is a 12.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Gold Canyon, Arizona that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is best used from November until March.

12.4 miles
4973 feet
Out & Back




no shade

6 months ago

6 months ago

7 months ago

From the Carney Springs parking lot, head out down the wide flat pathway that leads right to the base of the mountains. Pass through the wilderness boundary (.6 miles) and stick to the right at your first junction. The trail will try to pull you to the left in which you will end up at the Wave Cave. It's very easy to get off-trail here past here. You will want to be headed as though you are bee lining for the wash to the right. The trail loosely follows parallel to the wash as it climbs.
Once you start climbing, you don't stop! In fact, it gets steeper as you go! Around 1.5 miles you will reach a false summit, but don't be disheartened as it offers a welcome breaking point and majestic views of what you just climbed. From here you can see the trail ahead - almost a white line that looks like you will need a ladder to scale it! Go get it! It's only about .3 miles to the next saddle, but you will be working for it. Snap a photo with the famous "Carney TH 1.8 mi" sign and take a moment to plan the next stage of your adventure.
This is the part of the journey where you will have to start paying special attention to the cairns as the trail winds, drops, turns, climbs and crosses a wash (2.5 miles). You will be humping up and over a couple hills until you reach a junction with the 3 Sisters Trail at 3.5 miles. From here you will go left and head up to the top of the ridge that you were just on the side of. It's one mile from here and you will reach the Three Sisters peak with awesome views in all directions.
Its a long and grueling hike but getting to the top makes it worth it.