AZT - Passage 22 - Saddle Mountain
ElevationAscent: 3,972' 1,211 m
Descent: -1,654' -504 m
High: 5,782' 1,762 m
Low: 3,465' 1,056 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)
Popular runs nearby
Palo Verde Trail
8.4 mi 13.5 km • Out and Back • 251 ft Ascent 76.62 m Ascent
5.0 mi 8.1 km • Out and Back • 1,702 ft Ascent 518.75 m Ascent
XTERRA McDowell Mtn Trail Run 15 Mile
15.4 mi 24.8 km • Loop • 1,242 ft Ascent 378.54 m Ascent
Skunk Tank - Cave Creek Loop
10.5 mi 16.8 km • Loop • 1,661 ft Ascent 506.17 m Ascent
4.4 mi 7.1 km • Out and Back • 1,084 ft Ascent 330.45 m Ascent
Windgate to Bell Pass Loop
10.5 mi 16.9 km • Loop • 2,082 ft Ascent 634.74 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
You may find water in the stream bed near N33° 54.995’ W111° 29.814’.
The best camping on this section of trail is at McFarland Canyon, 5.5 miles from the north trail head. There are several nice tent sites, and water nearby in the stream bed. The better water is at the wilderness boundary about 1/4 mile downstream.
There is good water and camping at Thicket Spring, about 1.5 miles from the north end of this passage. The spring is well marked with a sign, a little north of the intersection with the Thicket Spring Trail.
Along this section of trail, you should be able to get cell phone service whenever you are in sight of Mount Ord, across the highway, with its distinctive nest of towers.
The trail continues north along the back of private ranches; pretty but not wild. At 4 miles, the spur trail to the Cross F TH goes off to the right. This is the last TH accessible by passenger car, and there is good camping and water within about 1/3 mile of the AZT.
From here, it becomes increasingly wild. The trail follows the canyon of an unnamed creek, sometimes right in it, sometimes well above it. Enter the Mazatzal Wilderness at about 5.5 miles. This wilderness has beautiful rocks and peaks, white tail deer, and butterflies, but some dangers as well. I watched a burned tree fall in a gentle breeze. There are bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes.
At 7.5 mi, a trail goes off to the right to Mormon Grove. At 11.1 mi, you come to McFarland Canyon, the best camping on this segment, although there is some trash yet to be removed. There are two mines here.
Continuing north, at 12.5 mi, is the intersection with the poorly named and difficult “Thicket Spring Trail”. Thicket Spring is right on the AZT; you don’t need to take this alternate trail. There is a nice camp spot at Thicket Spring, and good water, a short 1.5 miles from the Peeley Mt. Trail head and the end of the passage.
Also have seen hawks close up, and heard owls at night. It is quiet enough that I heard for the first time the faint vocalization of a crow with every wing flap, along with its occasional call.
Butterflies are very common in late summer. Insects hang out near the water. I met an abundance of gnats one weekend, but they were gone then next.
I recommend tweezers in your first aid kit for pulling cactus spines.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Summary, Features, Runner Notes