Passage #22 - Saddle Mountain

Entering the Mazatzal Wilderness Location:  Sunflower to Mount Peely

Length:  16.0 miles

Southern Trailhead:  Sunflower
- GPS Coordinates:  33.86250° N, 111.47278° W
- Access: From Phoenix, take AZ 87 north to FR 22 (Bushnell Tanks Road). Turn right and park at the gate about 150 yards off the highway. This road is currently closed to vehicle traffic by Tonto National Forest. You can walk down the road about 0.5 miles and turn right onto a doubletrack just before you reach a cattleguard. Follow this road about 300 yards to a grove of large sycamore trees. Look for the AZT mark in the southwest corner of the grove. A short spur trail crosses Sycamore Creek and leads up to the AZT in about 200 yards. A large metal sign marks the connection to the AZT.

Northern Trailhead:  Mount Peely Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  34.00219° N, 111.47724° W
- Access: Usually closed for winter and not advised when wet. Drive 4.75 miles northeast of Sunflower on AZ 87 past mile marker 222 and, at the top of the long climb, turn left (west) on to FR 627A. Drive 1.25 miles on this winding paved road to a junction with a gravel road entering from the right. Cross the cattle guard and drive another 1.25 miles to a 3-way junction; stay right on to FR 201 and continue 9.5 miles along this narrow, twisting road to the Mount Peeley Trailhead and a small parking area. The AZT is 0.5 miles west of the parking lot along the Cornucopia Trail (#86) where Passage 22 lies to the south, and Passage 23, also called the Mazatzal Divide Trail, heads north.

Trail Route Description:  From the underpass under Highway 87 the trail follows a drainage west a short distance and then turns right. It passes one gate and then another one and then swings to the north and goes through another gate. It heads northwest and reaches yet another gate, goes up a drainage, crosses it and gets to another gate. From here it passes under some powerlines and comes to a trail junction. A turn to the left here, another gate and then the trail begins working its way up a drainage. It crosses a small saddle and follows another drainage, curving around to the northeast and then reaching FR 25. It turns to the left onto FR 25 and follows it north. The trail descends down into McFarland Canyon and then heads upstream and follows a side canyon up to a trail junction. It takes the left fork and continues heading uphill. The trail descends down to Thicket Spring and the wilderness boundary, and then climbs steadily up to the junction with the Cornucopia Trail.

Difficulty:  Moderate

Season(s):  All year. Snow can be present at higher elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in summer (current weather forecast)

Water:  Water can sometimes be found at an unnamed spring near the 2.3 mile mark, a stock tank near the 3.9 mile mark, the streambed around 5.7 miles and in McFarland Canyon.

A spring in the Mazatzals Notes/Warnings:

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
  • Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Mazatzal Wilderness.


  • USGS Topographic Maps: Boulder Mountain, Reno Pass, Lion Mountain and Mazatzal Peak.
  • Tonto National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:

Current Trail Information:

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