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Saturday, May 30, 2020 PAUC Mount Ord – Mt Peeley Trailhead – Mazatzal Wilderness Ride

I’m trying to do rides that stay away from the weekend crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic but still near Phoenix. This is another one of my older Four Points of the Compass rides to escape the heat and give members, visitors, and potential new members a chance to explore new areas that they might not normally ride. The Mount Ord area is expecting sunny 70°–96° temps on Saturday. I have not posted this ride since August 2017 so I don’t know the current trail conditions.

IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA SEAT IN YOUR SXS OR UTV FOR THE RIDE, EMAIL ME OR FACEBOOK MESSAGE ME TO LET ME KNOW. Member guests and friends would like to go on this fun scenic ride. RIDE INCENTIVE: Preferential placement to front of the pack to those offering an extra open seat in your SxS or UTV for the ride.


SOCIAL DISTANCING BETWEEN MEMBERS AND VEHICLES: Please observe public health directives of 6’-8’ between people and gatherings of <10 people. If necessary, we will go out on multiple flights to adhere to the public health guidelines. No handshaking or high-fives or hugging. Try to exercise caution and stay apart and off to the side of individuals instead of being downwind of them when talking. All vehicles will maintain adequate spacing to limit dust conditions and social distancing. If you don’t feel well or have not practiced self-quarantine for the past two weeks, DO NOT come on this ride and put others at risk! All participants MUST wear a mask or dust mask, kerchief, bandana, scarf, or other means of protective personal equipment for their personal safety as well as for the safety of other participants.


  • Mazatzal Wilderness Mountain Range (Mt. Peeley Trailhead)
  • Mount Ord Lookout/Viewpoint
  • 1-mile side-trip to Pela Mine Oven (if still there)
  • 2-mile side-trip to Little Mt Ord Viewpoint (if not closed due to 2016 wildfire recovery)


On Saturday May 30th, at 9:00 AM, I am taking a few friends on a ride north of the Sunflower AZ / Four Peaks Tonto National Forest area over to the Mazatzal Mountains (Mt Peeley trailhead) and then up to the top of Mount Ord Lookout. It will have a couple of extended side-trips to scenic viewpoints. This is a 50-mile ride that takes 6.5 hours (with scenic meet-and-greet stops & lunch) through some varied and beautiful high desert / mountain scenery. Bring a camera for those Kodak moments.

Set OHV odometer to zero (0) at the staging area. Our first leg of the ride will be a 20-mile round-trip scenic ride north of the staging area on FR 201 into the shady pine trees up to the Arizona Trail / Mazatzal Wilderness Mountains trailhead. This is a very smooth scenic ride (usually “passenger car smooth”) on graded road from 4000′ to 6700′. We will have a short 1-mile side-trip on the way down a Moderate-rated rocky trail to the Pela mine oven. The area was known for mining Cinnabar ore to make Mercury. Hopefully, the watershed rains have not torn up that trail too bad. On the way up to the Mt. Peeley trailhead, there is one of those “Wow!” moments coming around a bend and seeing the sunlight hit the Mazatzal Mountain range. We will have some short stops on the way for those special Kodak moments. I t is a 20-mile smooth roundtrip ride but extremely enjoyable and scenic! We backtrack and return to the staging area on the same FR 201 route.

The second leg of the ride will then cross to the EAST side of SR 87 to climb the FR 626 road up to the top of Mount Ord. The description of the Mount Ord Lookout trail can be found on page 120 of the 2nd edition of the “Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails” (by Charles A. Wells & Matt Peterson). It is 12-miles long with steep grades and elevations ranging from 3200′ to 6700′. It is fully-graded and usually smooth enough for a passenger car to get to the top.

The 3,256′ elevation rises immediately and continuously from the SR 87 & FR 626 Mt Ord intersection to the top at 6,747′. On our way, we will have a 2-mile side-trip on FS 1688 to Little Mt Ord. I think this is the area where the 2016 wildfire took place so I don’t know if that trail is still open. It is a MODERATE-rated narrow rocky jeep trail with some off-camber sloping sections. Two-Up ATVs and 2WD ATVs are usually okay on this side-trip. It arrives at a spectacular southbound viewpoint looking down on SR87 and the town of Sunflower. I would rate the entire route of the day-ride as EASY-TO-MODERATE. We will have lunch at that viewpoint or you can wait to eat at the top of Mount Ord under some pine trees. Bring snacks, beverages, and a lunch for the ride.

I am NOT planning on doing my optional 10-mile there-and-back side-trip down to the Ord Mine (Cinnabar ore –> Mercury) on the technical difficult FS 27. If a few experienced club riders want to do it on their own, they can leave the group on our return down from the top of Mount Ord. It adds another 1-2 hours to the day-ride. I would rate FS 27 as DIFFICULT (Level 3; RED) and only for the experienced PAUC club rider. Again, I am NOT planning on doing that side trip this time. Two-UP ATVs and 2WD fixed axle vehicles should NOT attempt that off-cambered steep mining trail with its moguls, humps, large ruts, and loose rocks. They should return back with the group down the FR 626 road to the staging area.


Hang around for a few moments to say Goodbye to your fellow riders and to make sure everyone made it back. Our club will be providing cake slices, cookies, and brownie bites for a post-ride social event Desert Dessert Bar after the ride to top off the ride. Hang around for a little while to socialize and decompress after re-trailering your vehicles.

The primary ride’s trail rating is rated as an EASY–MODERATE (Level 1–2, GREEN–BLUE) on smooth forest road. (Definition: May have some spots that are off-camber; some hilly/rocky spots or few steep slopes; recommended for riders with more than 12 months of riding experience). UTVs / SxSs / ROVs okay on this trail. 2WD vehicles okay. Two-Up ATVs okay for passengers. Low range gear recommended for a few rocky areas.


Easy / Moderate / Difficult / Extreme = Green / Blue / Red / Black = Levels 1 / 2 / 3 / 4.


The large staging area is 1.1 miles WEST of SR 87 (N Beeline Highway a.k.a. Duthie-Martin Hwy) on the paved Sycamore Creek Road. This is few miles north of the town of Sunflower AZ on SR 87 (N Beeline Highway). The intersection is 0.6 miles north of Beeline Hwy mile marker 222 and approximately 33.9 miles north of the Fountain Hills AZ intersection of Shea Blvd & SR 87 (Beeline Hwy). Get into the northbound left lane as you pass over the Kitty Joe Creek bridge at mile marker 222 to turn WEST onto the Sycamore Creek Road intersection. Go down the Sycamore Creek paved road 1.1 miles to the staging area on a small plateau.

Google Maps has the approximate coordinates of the staging area at N33°55.814′ W111°27.902′ (or 33.930233, -111.465033). Just copy the coordinates into Google Maps satellite view to see the staging area or use our Google Maps embedded map at the bottom of our ride description. Give yourself enough travel time to get there early. We will leave the staging area at 9:00AM for the ride.


All ATVs, UTVs, & SxSs should be street-legal and have the Arizona Off Highway Vehicle Decal sticker. This will be a 50-mile roundtrip Easy-to-Moderate desert ride through some varied and beautiful desert / mountain scenery. Dress appropriately and keep hydrated. BRING A TRAIL LUNCH, SNACKS, AND BEVERAGES. Bring a camera for those Kodak moments. TOTAL MILEAGE WITH SIDE TRIPS IS APPROXIMATELY 50 MILES. Extra fuel is usually not required but each rider should know their machine’s fuel consumption on changing elevations/speeds.

Helmet that is properly fitted, fastened, and has a USDOT safety rating for those 18 years of age and younger who ride on an OHV. Riders in an OHV such as a ROV / UTV / SxS or similar vehicle, while recommended for safety, do not require a helmet unless a rider is under 18 years of age. The Phoenix ATV/UTV Club promotes the use of helmets on all its rides. Eye protection is required for operators of vehicles not equipped with a windshield. You should use common sense for eye protection, bandanas, scarves, and dust masks for large group riding due to the dust conditions anyway.

All vehicles will maintain adequate spacing to limit dust conditions and social distancing. All participants MUST wear a mask or dust mask, kerchief, bandana, scarf, or other means of protective personal equipment for their personal safety as well as for the safety of other participants.


All Phoenix ATV/UTV Club members, visitors, and guests are expected to have appropriate vehicle registration, license, and personal insurance and to operate their vehicles in a responsible manner. The Phoenix ATV/UTV Club is a responsible member of the OHV riding community. As such the Club promotes safe and responsible operation of OHVs during club rides. Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381 prohibits the operation of motorized vehicles, including OHVs, while under the influence of any substance that may impair the operator’s judgment or ability. Therefore, the Club prohibits the consumption or use of any substance during a club ride that has the potential to impair the operator’s judgment or ability.

I am looking for an experienced member with a radio to volunteer as my tailgunner. Otherwise, a responsible rider will be appointed at the staging area. Other riders with radios can volunteer as mid-pack wingmen to maintain radio contact.

Leader, mid-pack wingmen, and tailgunner will be on GMRS/FRS Channel 5 (sub-channel 0) in case you want to bring your walkie-talkies or CB / HAM radios. The corresponding UHF channel frequency is 462.6625 MHz depending on your radio. I highly recommend bringing a walkie-talkie to listen to approaching traffic and trail conditions.

“Come join us for a fun ride and explore some local historical trails and make new friends!”

Live to Ride… Ride to Live! Happy Trails…
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