Navajo County High Point Trip Report

Black Mesa

Date: August 16, 1992
Author: Andy Martin

The previous day we had camped in Wyoming, about 60 miles south of Jackson hole. We drove down to AZ, and got on to the Black Mesa road net about 1 hour before sunset. The gate, 7.3 miles from highway 160, was not locked. As we drove up the dirt road to Lolami Point, two pickups passed us in the other direction. After wandering around in the dusk a bit, we found a secluded camp in a gully 1/4 mile NE of Fir Spring.

The next morning it was a long 12 mile round trip hike to spot 8,168. Nice overlooks on the cliffs, and a couple small "pole huts" were seen on the way. About 1/2 way (spot elev. 7982) we picked up a well used dirt road, which ended 1/2 mile east of BM Kayenta. This would be the easy way in if the gates were not locked.

The HP was pretty flat, and we built a waist high cairn in the area. No traffic was seen on the way out, and the gate was still unlocked. This was my second try for this one; on July, 6, 1992 we had been defeated by locked gates around all the Peabody property and poor ground clearance.

Note: My approach to Black Mesa is from the west, the climb up the eastern escarpment was the route selected by friends. Route finding is tricky and the party ended up with an unplanned bivvy on the mesa top. The combination of Peabody and Navajo ownership, along with poor maps, makes western access also a bit problematical. On a recent repeat of my route other friends arranged for camping/hiking permits from Cameron AZ, camped near Fir Spring (road was closed 1/2 mile (?) from the spring), and then did the rim hike. The cairn still stood, but they were also not sure if it was at the exact HP.

To get permits:

Cameron Ranger Visitor Center
520-679-2303 - permit for 3 people to hike is $10
Payment is by money order to Navajo Nation Parks and Rec.

Mail permit to:

Attention Karen Yazze
Cameron Visitor Center
POB 459
Cameron AZ 86020

Road log, 1992, highway 160 to near Fir Spring. I drove a 1983 Honda Accord with oversize tires on this route.


0.0 Junction 160 and Indian Route 4, where conveyor goes up to top of mesa.
1.8 Reach top of mesa.
2.6 Leave paved road on major dirt road to left. Sign says "B Transfer"
2.7 Cross conveyor belt
3.0 Major dirt private road to the left. Go Right.
3.6 Top of big hill. Start descent.
5.4 Bottom of big hill. T junction, turn left.
6.5 Major road to the left. Go right.
7.3 Gate across the road. Several locks, hopefully not in use.
On 7/6/92 this gate was shut, however it has been open for all subsequent parties.
7.9 Bottom of steep grade to climb. Big tank to north.
8.3 Top of big grade - head east.
11.2 Cross fenceline, gate was open.
12.4 Cross fenceline, no gate.
12.6 Y junction, major road to the north, continue east.
13.0 Dry cattle tank, road passes to north.
13.3 Cattle guard under construction. Major road heads south, continue east.
14.3 Barbed wire gate in fence to south of road. In 1992 we were able to go through gate on the dirt track and continue 0.2 mile to a parking/camping spot on the road. From 14.3 a major road runs north to radio towers on Lolomai Point. A smaller road continues east 0.1 mile to a locked gate.

Note: On memorial day of 1997 my brother drove his Subaru to within 1/2 mile of the HP. The route was not easy to find, and is probably now closed.