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Bulldog Canyon Saddle and Pass Mountain Trail Loop

Difficult
 4.3 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A tough trail with lots of climbing and beautiful views.


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Map Key

5.0

Miles

8.1

KM

Loop

2,589' 789 m

High

1,925' 587 m

Low

1,090' 332 m

Up

1,090' 332 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildlife

Overview

This loop is not very crowded and there are good views from the saddles. Many people turn around at the first saddle since the trail becomes more of a drainage or wildlife trail than a developed trail at that point. It remains that way until it joins back up with the Pass Mountain Trail near the second saddle.

Need to Know

There is no signage besides a few cairns and a bit of wayfinding and backtracking may be required in order to stay on track once you get past the saddle. If you complete the loop clockwise, look carefully at the track where it diverges from the Pass Mountain Trail—it is really easy to miss the small cairn at the base of a small tree if you're not looking in the right place at the right time. You're pretty much in direct sun the whole way, especially between the saddles. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Description

I am in the Pass Mountain Trail area quite a bit and wanted to see what this trail looked like. I have never seen any signs, but I have seen people on it. So, I set out one day to map this loop, and here we are. I was there in early spring, and the wildflowers had not bloomed much yet, but I suspect there would be some good color out here after some rain. On my trip, it felt pretty hot even though the thermometer reported only around 87 degrees.

You can access this trail if you park at the end of N. Meridian Dr. and catch the trail from the parking area there. When the trail forks just above the parking lot, stay left on Bulldog Canyon Alternate Trail to complete this loop. (You can also go to the right on Bulldog Saddle Trail if you prefer as they join up before the climb). Once the trails merge, you'll be on Bulldog Saddle Trail.

Follow this up to the saddle and continue north onto Peak 3004 Loop Trail. Be prepared to look out for cairns and possibly make some wrong turns and need to backtrack. At least a third of this loop seems to be VERY lightly trafficked, undeveloped and not well-maintained. Follow the Peak 3004 Loop Trail around the north side of the mountain. This section of the route is pretty remote but be on the lookout for backpackers who may be camping on the north side of the peak. After the trail turns and heads south for a bit, it joins up with Pass Mountain Trail. Take a right to head south on Pass Mountain Trail until almost the end of the hike. Take a left onto Pass Mountain Connector which is a short wash connector to Bulldog Canyon Alternate Trail. Follow Bulldog Canyon Alternate Trail back to the parking area to finish your hike.

As a run this was only "good" but as far as hiking goes, this would be a solid 4 stars because of the views, remote feel, and challenge.

Flora & Fauna

Typical Sonoran desert wildlife.

Contacts

Shared By:

Doug Baer

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 6 votes

#2506

Overall
  4.3 from 6 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#103

in Arizona

#2,506

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108 Views Last Month
2,347 Since Apr 10, 2018
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Photos

The trail is rocky and rife with saguaro on the way to the saddle.
Jan 18, 2017 near Apache…, AZ
Look for a fork in the trail. This one is more pronounced than many others.
Apr 10, 2018 near Apache…, AZ
East side just below peak.
Jun 8, 2018 near Apache…, AZ
Topping off a cairn on the Pass Mountain Trail.
Jun 8, 2018 near Apache…, AZ
If you see this sad, empty INFORMATION board, you are at the right place.
May 9, 2018 near Apache…, AZ

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Check-Ins

Nov 7, 2020
Max Litzinger
Mar 14, 2020
Christian Lloyd
5mi — 8h 00m
Mar 16, 2019
Toni Anderson Bolander
Beautiful wildflowers blooming! — 2h 06m
Jan 29, 2019
Gordon Goosen
Jan 11, 2019
Curtis Krausman
Dec 21, 2018
Curtis Krausman