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black Safford Peak

  4.0 ( 8 )

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3.4 mile 5.5 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 1,490' 454 m
Descent: -1,489' -454 m
High: 3,530' 1,076 m
Low: 2,250' 686 m


Avg Grade: 16% (9°)
Max Grade: 93% (43°)


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Trail shared by Niall Murphy

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All Clear 92 days ago See History
Dry - Trail can be hard to follow at times. The rock gets looser towards the top. The scrambling in my opinion was minimal.

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This is a short but very intense route with two sections of scrambling involved.

Niall Murphy

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Safford Peak sits along the northern edge of Saguaro National Park and provides us with 0.7 miles of fairly easy hiking followed by one additional mile of elevation gain with two sections of scrambling.

Need to Know

This route is exposed to the sun and requires some basic route-finding skills. Come prepared, and the route is a blast!


Don't let your experience along Scenic Trail make you think that this will be an easy summit. This short route provides many challenges from a slightly rocky first ascent on Safford Peak Trail that will bring you to the first saddle. From here, you'll continue to gain elevation along the northeast side of the mountain until you are looking up at a large rock wall on the east side. At this point, you'll have reached the section of the trail that will circumnavigate you around to the west side of Safford Peak for two more sections of ascending.

Once you reach the west side, you'll notice a very dry, dusty, and rocky mountain face where it is possible to lose the trail. Pay close attention to a few key saguaros that you can use as a reference along your descent. Once you reach the highest saddle, you'll encounter one last section of the journey where you'll need to scramble down a slope and then back up to the highest point on the south side.

There is an old ammo box with a log up here. Be sure to treat the log with care as many people just turn it into a scribble pad.


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Apr 19, 2019
awesome hike. still trying to get to the top of the peak. 3mi
Dec 26, 2018
Elliot Semonsky
Dec 24, 2018
Emma, Bennett and I. Very nice! 4mi
Oct 8, 2018
Daniel Ingram
The trail is horribly washed out in multiple places. We built cairns in a lot of places. 3.4mi
Apr 1, 2018
Nicho Cusack
lots of lose rocks and a very slick steep climb at points. Really great formations. follow path markers it is easy to get off trail. 6.2mi
Feb 11, 2018
Peter Fröhlich
Jan 27, 2018
Daniel Ingram
First to hit the peak today!
Jan 15, 2018
Daniel Ingram
Easy to fall onto “fake” trails on the way down. Great views.

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 8 votes


  4.0 from 8 votes
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in Arizona


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2,009 Since Aug 29, 2016
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Nick Wilder
Boulder, CO
Nick Wilder   Boulder, CO  
This is a pretty good winter hike. The top half is very steep and loose; be particularly careful coming down! Dec 26, 2017
I think that Saguaro National Park is enforcing its "no off trail hiking below 4,000 feet" rule, so this route is no longer legal. I've heard (unsubstantiated) that trail access to the peak may be developed in the future. Jun 4, 2018
This is one of my favorite hikes. The elevation gain is aggressive. The loose scree underfoot is treacherous. Navigation is difficult. Nearing the summit you will scramble up large loose rocks. The final ascent will require use of your arms and legs with a feeling of exposure. Choosing the wrong path may end poorly. I recommend gloves, trekking poles, and GPS. My most recent summit was 9/30/2018 and monsoon rains have not been kind to this trail. It has severely eroded and knocked over many of the cairns. At this time I would not recommend this hike unless someone in your party is familiar with the route. Oct 1, 2018

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