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Woolsey and Signal Peaks - Woolsey Peak and Signal Mountain Wilderness

Summary: Steep hikes to two little climbed desert volcanic peaks west of Phoenix.
Directions: From Phoenix, head west on I-10 to exit 112 and Highway 85. Drive south on highway 85 for about 5 miles to between mileposts 150 and 149 to Hazen Road (which is also Old US 80) heading towards Palo Verde, Hassayampa and Arlington. Drive 14.5 miles and turn right onto Agua Caliente Road. After 0.8 miles stay to the right onto a well graded dirt road (if you miss this turn, the pavement soon ends at a gate). After another 5 miles stay straight (or left) where the road makes a sharp bend to the right. Stay on the main track as it heads in a southerly direction (there are minor roads branching off every which way). You'll know you are in the right place if you pass a ranch 1.3 miles later. At the 4.5 mile point you'll pass a small wilderness boundary sign. You'll see the rocky, spiky form of Signal Peak on the right (west) and the rounded and more massive Woolsey Peak on the left (east). Follow the road until you feel you are close enough to start the hike. I parked at the following GPS Coordinates (UTM):
        Woolsey Peak: 320594 mE, 3673065 mN
        Signal Peak: 321491 mE, 3675642 mN
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Moderate
Length: Each hike is ~5 miles
Date Hiked: March 2008
Weather Conditions: Sunny and Nice
Required Skills:
Hike Description: Woolsey Peak:
From where ever you parked, hike across the desert towards the mountain. There are many routes to the summit. I went up the south side of the hill and down the north and can say that the south side is considerably easier - so I'll describe it the way I hiked it (but feel free to pick your own route). Head in a southeasterly direction across the desert. You'll have to cross a few shallow arroyos as you go. As you get closer to the southern side of the mountain you'll see a shallow ravine that leads a good way to the summit. Follow this ravine up the slope. Stay on the larger basalt blocks as much as possible as they tend to be stable. As you get to the top of the ravine, continue climbing up and slightly to the left, then straight up once again (basically just pick out the path of least resistance). Soon you'll reach the cholla dotted summit, which features good 360 degree views. There's a register in a little glass jar near the remains of some type of structure. The register shows about a dozen people a year reach the summit. When ready, either return the way you came or choose another route down. I went down the north side of the hill via a steep, rocky slope. The northern route is steeper and covered with loose rocks, which made the descent somewhat treacherous. Once down, head northwest back towards the road and your car.

Signal Peak:
From wherever you parked, hike across the desert towards Signal Peak. Cross over a low pass keeping the rounded hill marked 1689 on the map on your right. Once over this pass you'll see that there is an arm that extends from the peak in a north easterly direction. Head across the desert to this arm and follow it towards the main body of the mountain. When you reach of the base of the main peak, you'll see a spiky ridge of rock just east of the summit. Climb towards this feature, then skirt its base then climb up beside it keeping it to your right all the while. Once up, head left to the base of the peak. A short, steep climb requiring the use of hands will bring you to the small summit, which also features the remains of some type of structure and a register in a glass jar. It appears that only 1-2 groups climb the peak per year.

Rating (1-5 stars):
The author completed the hike to Woolsey Peak in 4.5 hours, then climbed Signal Peak in 3.5 hours.
Maps: Click here for a map of Woolsey Peak.
Click here for a map of Signal Peak.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Woolsey Peak

Woolsey Peak.

Ascending the ravine.

Woolsey Peak Summit. View from the summit.

Signal Peak

Signal Peak. The rocky climb ahead.
Almost up. View of Woolsey from the summit.