The Vekol Mountains are a small and rarely visited Sonoran Desert mountain range about 30 miles southwest of Casa Grande, Arizona. I have had distant glimpses of the Vekol Mountains from other mountain summits in recent years, but my best view of them was from Jack Benchmark, the highpoint of the Tat Momoli Mountains, in January.
My peakbagging friends and I have wanted to climb the highpoint of the Vekol Mountains, but the range remoteness, lack of information about road access, and mystery discouraged any solo attempts. I had been unable to join my friends on climbs earlier this winter season. So when I heard they planned an attempt on the highpoint of the Vekol Mountains when I was available I eagerly joined them.
There are many little mountain ranges in the Sonoran Desert west of Tucson. They may not have the prominence of other, bigger mountain ranges, but it can be fun to visit them for their views, solitude, and sense of mystery. I recently visited the highpoints of two little mountain ranges, the Quijotoa and Artesa Mountains.
Quijotoa Mountains Highpoint
On Saturday morning, January 18, I drove west through Sells, then north on Arizona Highway 86 looking for a road leading towards the east side of the Quijotoa Mountains and up to the highpoint of the range. I found the road I wanted and followed it through a village and two open gates.
On Thursday, January 2nd, three friends and I climbed the highpoints of the Tat Momoli and Silver Reef Mountains southwest of Casa Grande, Arizona. These little mountain ranges are visible from the Casa Grande Mountains, a popular hiking area for residents of Casa Grande.
I was accompanied by Bill Hiscox, June Meyer, and Brian Larson, fellow members of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club. It was the first time on foot in these mountains for all of us.
I first saw North Star Peak from the summit of Forest Hill, the highpoint of the Little Rincon Mountains, last March. It appeared to be an interesting peak and worth a visit. So I was eager to join other Southern Arizona Hiking Club members early December to climb it.