Pilot Rock, Navajo County, Arizona

In Petrified Forest National Park, Elevation = 6243 ft., 1903 meters

A view looking east at Pilot Rock from the park boundary. The peak is the highest point in the park and has a prominence value of 524 feet. The peak can be hiked from Chinde Point, the northernmost parking area in the park, but it is a long hike of about 16 miles round-trip. There can be some problems finding a way through the mud cliffs that run east-west across the route. The park doesn't open until 7:00AM so it is not possible to start earlier unless one does a backpack into the area north of Chinde Point which is a possibility.

Described here is a driving route to the northwest boundary of the park which will get you to within about one mile of the peak which can then be reached by an easy hike. The drive is 20 miles and a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed. The road should not be attempted after recent rains. The drive may cross some private property, but at the time (July 2014) there were no restrictive signs.

Driving Directions: Leave Interstate 40 at exit 294 at a small, scattered community of Sun Valley. Zero your odometer and note the following points:

0.0 miles at I-40 exit 294, go north

0.5 turn right onto Pima St., drive east. Continue past some homes as the road goes close to the Interstate.

3.5 go left onto Coyote Road which soon turns into Sheri Road.

8.0 continue straight north at Cash Lane which crosses

9.5 open a gate marking state land. In about 50 feet turn right onto a worse road.

10.3 the road goes through a dip with an opening in an east-west fence line. Continue east along fence.

10.9 drive over graded berm forming a cattle pond

11.7 open a gate, continue east

12.1 turn north at junction

13.7 stay right as a road joins from the left

14.2 drive by cattle tank. Cross sandy arroyo, road may be difficult to follow here, and continue north.

14.8 drive up a short, steep hill

15.8 go right at junction

17.9 stay to the left at a junction

20.5 reach north-south fence line that is the park boundary

Hiking Directions: The peak is an easy hike of about 1.3 miles with a gain of about 500 feet. A large cairn marks the highest point at the southern end. The benchmark disk is close by west of the cairn. Look for a register in the cairn. PilotRock.gpx (A GPS file with points corresponding to above mileages)

The primary benchmark is named Douglas and was placed in 1919. Benchmark datasheet
This is the 1:100K topo showing the route to the peak with the GPS waypoints on it. Between points Pilot5 to Pilot7 the road is not shown correctly on the map.