Growler Peak

Yesterday, F and I headed out on the Cabeza Prieta to hike Growler Peak. We’d already obtained our permits for both the Cabeza and the Barry Goldwater so we headed out to Charlie Bell Pass. We’d been out that way last year with Sylvia to check out the petroglyphs just beyond the end of the road but this time, our sights were set about 1,500′ higher: on the summit of Growler Peak.

The ride through the western part of the Cabeza is always really pretty but this year it is so green!

Sonoran Desert near Charlie Bell Pass

I couldn’t find many reports of people hiking up Growler Peak but the consensus seemed to be hiking up the ridge that starts near the parking area at the end of the road. We were a little curious how it would go because it looked like there were some pretty significant interruptions to the ridge but decided we’d have to figure it out as we went along.

Slopes of Growler Peak

As it turned out, the lower slopes had some fun scrambling. The rock was a little crumbly but not too bad. As we got up higher, we traversed around a cliff face to the east and then regained the ridge with some pretty easy scrambling.

Forrest on Growler Peak

Forrest on Growler Peak

Several times we thought we were approaching the summit but Growler Peak has a large broad summit ridge. It was a really pleasant walk along the ridge, however. We were treated to a birds eye view of A10s out on the Barry Goldwater and huge vistas of the surrounding desert.

Slopes of Growler Peak

Growler Peak Benchmark

When we finally reached the summit, we relaxed, ate, and enjoyed the view. A car battery atop the remote mountain was also a unique, if puzzling, find…

Car Battery on summit of Growler Peak

From the peak, we were able to pick out Signal Peak in the distance:

Signal Peak in the distance

The Growler Mountains stretched south of us:

Southern Growler Mountains

On the way down, we decided to investigate the ridge to the northeast of our ascent path. It was cool to get this view of our route to the summit:

Ridge route up Growler Peak

Our downward route was a pretty narrow ridge with several sections of really loose rock. There was one section that required some sketchy down-climbing but it “went” and we were able to turn our summit bid into a pleasant loop hike.

Ridge route down Growler Peak

The cholla were intense throughout the hike but our last stretch back to the quad was particularly impressive:

"Cholla Farm"

3 thoughts on “Growler Peak”

  1. Great photo-log Beth, thank you! I am a retired botanist who has just gotten his Cabeza Prieta permit, and am wondering where to go. Specifically, we’re looking for Agaves (century plants). I know the Gila Mountains are thick with them, but can you recall encountering any Agaves elsewhere at the refuge? I was interested in Growler, which led me here, but I seen none in your fine photos.

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