Arizona Hiking Gallery
Pass Mountain Loop Hike
Usery Mountain Regional Park, AZ
January 28, 2007
Gallery contains 56 photos
Gallery last updated: 3/17/2007
Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 1
This hike follows the Pass Mountain Trail clockwise around Pass Mountain. The trail starts in Usery Mountain Regional Park and heads north along the park's northeast boundary before entering the Tonto National Forest at the north end of Pass Mountain. This a view of the west side Pass Mountain near the start of my hike.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 2
Closeup view of Pass Mountain and its stripe of volcanic ash. On close inspection you can see serveral hikers on the Wind Cave Trail which switchbacks up slopes to Wind Cave (off the right side of this image.)

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 3
You say you want to go to Phoenix? Well...just head that-a-way.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 4
Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii), Arizona Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii), Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus), and Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) are abundant in this Sonoran Desert landscape.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 5
A view of the desert as the trail makes its way toward the north end of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 6
An Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) spreads its branches in front of a group of Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus) at the boundry of Usery Park and Tonto National Forest with the slopes of Pass Mountain in the backgound.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 7
An interesting pile of boulders.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 8


Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 9
Arizona Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii). You can see in this photo why this cactus is also sometimes called Fishhook Barrel Cactus. The large, sharply hooked spices are clearly visible.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 10


Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 11
A large Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) with unusually curved branches sillouetted against the sky.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 12
Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus) with strangely curving arms.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 13
A view looking out towards Mesa. A few of these little buttes have names such as Thunder Mountain, Stone Mountain, and Ravens Roost.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 14
The many colors of lichen: rust-orange, light green, yellow-orange, charcoal black.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 15
A large Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia fulgida) loaded with fruit.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 16
A closeup of the Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia fulgida) fruit chain. The chain forms as flowers (and hench new fruit) grow on the end of the previous year's fruit. After several years long chains of fruit are formed.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 17
A desert hillside on the north end of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 18
On the north side of Pass Mountain a wonderful view of Fountain Hills and the McDowell Mountains opens up.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 19
Closeup of a granite rock.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 20
Lichen on granite.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 21
The dense spines of a barrel cactus. Don't touch!

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 22
Closeup of the spines on the pad of an Engelmann's Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmanni).

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 23
A closeup of the dense spines of the Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii).

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 24
Desert hillside.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 25
A view of Stewart Mountain comes into view as the trail reaches toward a ridge at its most northern point.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 26
Lichen on granite.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 27
An empty seed pod of the Desert Senna or Rattleweed (Cassia covesii) backlit by the sun.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 28
From the ridge at the trail's northern most point a wide vista opens up with the Mazatzal Mountains in the background.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 29
Off to the east are the Goldfield Mountains.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 30
Goldfield Mountains with Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountains in the distance.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 31
A view of Four Peaks rising above the Goldfield Mountains.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 32
The colorful lichen adds a splash of color to the desert rocks.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 33
A view of the Goldfield Mountains as the trail skirts around the north end of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 34
Looking down on a boulder field.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 35
A view of the north end of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 36
An old majestic Saguaro overlooking the valley below.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 37
If you look closely you can just make out the trail (and even a few hikers) about halfway down the slopes under the cliffs just left of center.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 38
I came around a corner in the trail and a golden grassy area appeared. (Rare in this desert terrain.)

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 39
Goldfield Mountains.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 40
Many different colors of granite.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 41
Many different colors of granite.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 42
A view of cliffs on the northeast side of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 43
A view of cliffs on the northeast side of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 44
The trail heads toward a saddle between Pass Mountain and the Goldfield Mountains.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 45
A desert hillside.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 46
The Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is an evergreen shrub sometimes referred to as Coffee-bush as the seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 47
Goldfield Mountains.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 48
A view of the eastern face of Pass Mountain from the saddle.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 49
A closeup view of the cliffs on the east side of Pass Mountain.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 50
From the saddle a view of Apache Junction spreads out below. The trail heading to the southern end of Pass Mountain can be seen.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 51
From the saddle the trail traverses a steep hillside for a short distance.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 52
A view back up toward the saddle.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 53
Again looking back up toward the saddle. Pass Mountain on the left and Goldfield Mountains on the right.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 54
The Superstition Mountains rise above the saguaro studded desert floor.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 55
A view of Cats Peak with the Superstition Mountains in the distance along the southern portion of the Pass Mountain Trail.

Pass Mountain Loop Hike: Image 56
Almost completing the loop I'm now back on the western side of Pass Mountain.

All images Copyright ©2007 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.