If the Four Peaks Motherlode is an impossible dream for you, try Little Four Peaks as an alternative that you can knock out in just a couple hours. This smaller set of peaks lines up perfectly in the shadow of Four Peaks when you look at it from a certain angle, but its diminutive size makes it a much more achievable goal. Even if you’re not going for the peaks themselves, the breathtaking views in every direction make this hike worthwhile if you’re in the area. There is some easy scrambling involved to reach all four peaks, but the the trail is fairly easy to follow and has plenty of cairns.
From the parking area, cross the street and begin following an old forest road. When you notice it widening at what might be a nice campsite and just before it goes up a hill, look for a large cairn marking the trail.
The trail heads up the right side of the drainage toward a saddle.
Once at the saddle, you’ll have awesome views, but don’t forget to look behind you. There are views in every direction.
Here, you’ll start making your way up to your right toward a high point. This is not one of the peaks, so you don’t need to summit unless you’re a completionist like me who doesn’t like to leave any peak untouched.
Soon you’ll notice you will begin to follow a ridgeline. Those views, though!
Up ahead, you’ll see the first, and tallest, of the four peaks.
This peak is separated from the others a bit and has a different geology, but you have to go up there and sign the summit register.
Go back down off the peak and rejoin the trail to get to the other three peaks. The trail up to the next peak is pretty mellow, but there are a whole lot of cholla cactuses just waiting to stick to your pants or shoes. You did wear, pants, right? Right, Heather?
From the top of peak two, you can see that the remaining peaks are very close together. This is where the fun begins!
It’s an easy scramble up to peak three, the second highest in the group, but you may be questioning your friendship with whoever suggested this hike. Momentarily, at least.
You know what would make this just a little more fun? If we had to go down similar terrain on the other side. Good news, it’s your lucky day!
In all honesty, it’s not too sketchy, but it will require use of your hands and taking care to make sure all your hand holds are secure. Don’t trust anything.
The climb up to the fourth peak is very similar to the third. At one point, you’ll make your way to the right to continue up.
I mean, Heather did it in shorts. How hard can it be?
Then get your victory pose because you’ll probably be home in time for lunch.
Oh, did I forget to tell you that you’ll be summiting more than four peaks today? Because on the way back, you get to go back over peaks three and two. It’s all good. Just keep adding tick marks to your awesome meter.
Unless you’re a hardcore peak bagger and want to summit peak one again, you can take a shortcut between peaks two and one that will get you back to the car faster. It’s not too hard to follow, but we did get off track at least once, so keep an eye out for the cairns. If you’re bushwhacking in a drainage, you went the wrong way.
The trail eventually meets back up with the road you hiked at the very beginning, and before you know it, you’ll be back at the car and wondering why you hauled all those snacks up and back.
Map & Directions
Location Superstition Wilderness, Apache Junction, Arizona
Park here along Highway 88
Trailhead Facilities None
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