By Adam Triplett ’10
The Tonto National Forest, which stretches across most of Arizona, offers beautiful scenery and great weekend getaways.
The Four Peaks Wilderness Area is no different. Just north of Mesa on Highway 87, on the way to Payson, is a great location to camp without being to far from home.
When you look towards the east from the Valley it is possible to see the four jagged peaks looming above the horizon, the highest of which is Brown’s Peak, standing at 7,600 feet.
As far as camping goes, there are many spots that are directly next to the road. This area can easily be traveled by passenger cars, but some areas of the road can be washed out during the more rainy times of year.
The Four Peaks Road itself is a right turn on Highway 87 about 15 miles outside of Fountain Hills. At the first fork in the road take a left and continue straight. This road will lead to camping spots, several dead end turnoffs, and most importantly of all, to the top of the peaks.
At night on the peaks, the lights of the city twinkling in the distance are beautiful and certainly add a great view for the trip.
Along with the scenery of the Four Peaks, just south is Saguaro Lake. This is one of the largest OHV, off-highway vehicle, area in the east valley.
About three miles south on Highway 87 from Four Peaks is the turnoff for Saguaro Lake. This area provides a great area to kick back and relax with friends.
The turnoff from the 87 is called the Bush Highway and a few miles south down the road is a left turn for Butcher Jones Road. This leads to Cove 1, which is one of the many inlets from the lake where boats pull in and people can relax by the water.
For the more adventurous types, there is a wash leading from Butcher Jones with several trails splintering off towards the other Coves, all the way to Cove 9. However, keep in mind this is not a good area to go alone; always bring at least a friend or even better, another vehicle.
Get out, have some fun and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Arizona.