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Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes)

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Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes) 


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Location: 31.98512, -111.5152 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Micah on Nov 18, 2002
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Mendoza Canyon
Access is via PRIVATE land and may be CLOSED! MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Mendoza Canyon is a rugged area of granite domes with great climbing and adventure for backcountry climbers. BLM-administered, as part of the Coyote Domes Wilderness area. Routes vary in length from 2 to 8 pitches with most in the higher end of that range. A wide variety of difficulty can be found as well, from fun 5.6 to scary, runout 5.11. There are also aid routes for those wishing to carry more gear.

Some of the aproaches follow fairly well developed trails. Others still require bushwhacking and having your belay gloves handy during the hike might not be a bad idea.

The descent for many of the climbs involves rappelling the route. Most belay stations are more than half a rope length apart so bring 2 ropes. 50 meter lengths are standard for the area. Bolted rappel stations do not usually have chains and the low volume of climbers in the area means the slings are usually pretty old by the time the next climber gets to them. Be sure to bring enough webbing to get down safely. New route development is still active. A traditional style has been maintained and is greatly appreciated in the area.


3.14.14 UPDATE: EXTENDED ACCESS MARCH & APRIL 2014 - ALL CLIMBERS SHOULD READ AND UNDERSTAND THE RULES OUTLINED IN THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENT! FAILURE TO COMPLY WILL LIKELY LEAD TO LOSS OF ACCESS TO MENDOZA CANYON FOR CLIMBING!!!!

AZ FISH AND GAME ACCESS RESTRICTIONS!!!


Getting There 

Updated 3-1-14

See Approach Map below in "Photos" section.

Take Ajo way west from Tucson to Three Points. Turn South on Hwy 286. Follow 286 for about 8 mi and turn West at the (KING'S ANVIL RANCH AT MP 37.6---NOT KING'S RANCH WHICH COMES FIRST). Follow a good dirt road through the ranch, stopping to sign in and get a permit (free), at the back gate. A State Land permit is officially required to pass thru the area. (www.azland.gov/programs/natural/recreation_permit.htm ) ( Continue west (0.8 MILES) through the wash, passing a very small turn off then taking the first, clear road to the right. It is common to miss this turn off. (edit: As of 12-28-13 this is signed as "designated access route") Follow this road west (FOR ~ 5.5 MILES), to a quick right after a fence, leading to the small corral where the parking area is. If it is not signed otherwise, hop the gate and walk the road approx. 2 miles to the pasture/pond.

An alternate approach is shown on the hand-drawn map below.

At the end of the road cross the dam of the small reservoir and follow trails to the domes from here.

See comments below for extended access availability.


11 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',1],['5.8',1],['5.9',3],['5.10',4],['5.11',2],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes):
The Elephant's Trunk   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 6 pitches, 1000'   Elephant Dome
Beggar's Banquet   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 755'   Table Dome
Wily Javelina   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, Sport, 6 pitches, 700'   Table Dome
Table for Two   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 6 pitches, 800'   Table Dome
B Cubed   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 6 pitches, 750'   Elephant Dome
Elephantiasis   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 6 pitches, 750'   Elephant Dome
Lock and Load   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 8 pitches, 900'   The Bullet
Browse More Classics in Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes)

Featured Route For Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes)
Crater Genetics in blue (by me), Elephantiasis in Red (by Luis). <br />I'm guessing there are various options for the 6th pitch, I painted the one DM (who led the even numbers) chose to climb, with huge exposure and superb finish.

Crater Genetics 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c AZ : Southern Arizona : ... : Elephant Dome
If you have bailed from other mentally and physically challenging routes in Arizona such as Sensory Desuetude or Coming to Grips, you may actually be able to finish this one. A significant step-up from Elephantiasis, this route has much better rock and more exposure. Even though all the hard moves are well protected, most often by bolts, it does have some spice in not-so-hard runout terrain.A good description of every pitch can be found here:www.climbaz.com/Backcountry/page_html/page156.h...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes) Slideshow Add Photo
Upper Mendoza <br />The Potato and Bullet
Upper Mendoza
The Potato and Bullet
Panoramic view of Mendoza Canyon
Panoramic view of Mendoza Canyon
This is the view to the east when descending Elephant Dome.
This is the view to the east when descending Eleph...
For mental support please call...
For mental support please call...
Approach Map to Mendoza Canyon <br />(~41 miles//1 hr. 15 min. from Speedway/Campbell in Tucson)
BETA PHOTO: Approach Map to Mendoza Canyon
(~41 miles//1 hr. 1...
Kimberly points out the sign at the turnoff to King's Anvil Ranch
Kimberly points out the sign at the turnoff to Kin...
Comments on Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 28, 2013
By mcarizona
From: Flag
Feb 5, 2007

Bring wood for your campfire. It can be cold at night.

By dana eyde
Dec 16, 2008

The dirt roads near the parking area are various and a bit confusing, so I add, here, where one should be shooting for.

The Mendoza Canyon "walls" form a huge C-shape, and when you head in from the Anvil Ranch you will be approaching the mouth of the 'C'. The parking lot area (the end of the "5.5 miles" mentioned in "Getting There") where you have to put on your packs and walk.....is at the more-southern "tip of the C-shape". That is, it's where you finish the penstroke and lift your pen off the paper, if you were drawing a C on paper.

So don't get discouraged if you are getting closer to the domes and are on a seemingly errant dirt road headed straight-south and slowly away from the centre of the canyon. That's what happened to us, and, just about when i was giving up hope, that road turned sharply to the west and ended at the "very obvious rocks" which compose the end of the C. The gate was solidly padlocked shut when we were there two weeks ago, but the 2-mile walk in/out is 'no problema'.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 10, 2009

Does anybody know for sure at what point in the spring the ranch denies access along the ranch road?

By JMayhew
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 20, 2009

It has been closed March 1 thru Sept. 1 for many years now. As far as I know that's still the case.

By Tradster
From: Phoenix, AZ
Dec 2, 2009

After driving out of the wash, the correct road to take is the second right turn after the second cattle guard coming out of the wash. A bush has some faded pink tape on it at the turn. A mountain bike will make short work of the road portion. The road itself is sandy, but a narrow single-track appears next to the road when the road becomes sandy. Beware of small mesquite branches littering the single track.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 6, 2010

Access note: we ran into John King's daughter herding cows yesterday. She was very nice, and we talked to her for a little while. She believes that the missing traps that led to loss of access last year were a result of hikers (climbers? hunters?) whose dogs got caught in the traps, leading to the dog owners taking or destroying the traps to free their dogs.

Regardless of what exactly happened, she made it clear that dogs are not welcome. It sounds as though just heading out there with dogs, without more, could be enough to cause them to rethink access. So please, do not bring dogs to Mendoza!

By christ
Mar 17, 2011

Is this area open?

By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 7, 2011

I have recently learned that the AZGFD is about to sign an agreement with the Anvil Ranch owners to provide for unfettered hiker/climber access into Coyote Domes from September-April every year. This is not a done deal, but sounds like it will be soon.

Regardless of what happens in this deal, we must continue to RESPECT all private property (which does includes part of the access road, gates, animals, traps, etc.) in this area, or we're going to loose access. Drive from point A-B, park at the turnaround, and go about your business. And DON'T BRING YOUR DOGS!

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 4, 2012

There used to be a note about the new access point on this page but it seems to have disappeared. The map that Jeff Mayhew posted up above shows it correctly. The directions posted about in the description are incorrect as the ranch owners do not want us to use the old access point. If one of the admins reads this, I would be happy to write up a new description to substitute in. In the meantime people should use the map that Jeff posted above. And, be aware that as you drive north (parallel to the canyon), the left turn that you are looking for (the final stretch to where you park) is much farther up than you expect. You may feel as though you've passed the mouth of the canyon and gone too far, but you haven't.

By steve richert
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 29, 2012

Thanks for all the info here! I am thinking about a trip out here Mid Feb, but I was a little concerned after googling the ranch and reading about what seems to be a big problem they are having with illegal immigrant traffic in the area--I am not local to the southwest and I don't have much experience to draw on regarding this issue-usually, I keep a low profile and follow the golden rule-with good results. Is this something that I should be concerned about? Thanks!

Steve

By JMayhew
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 29, 2012

Steve, In 26 years I have never had a problem with encountering illegals in the area. We have helped with trash cleanups on the ranch along some well-used routes out in the foothills strewn with packs, water bottles, and clothes. I have camped at the parking area and in various points in the canyon without ever seeing any illegals. Several friends of mine have done the same without issues. I am not worried about my safety relating to illegals out there but try to remain vigilant. I also try to follow the same rules you do and it seems to be working pretty well so far!

p.s. The written approach info has been updated to reflect the new parking area.

By Mateo Nelson
Mar 5, 2012

Jeff et al,

I live in the Sierrita Mtns and wake up every morning looking at Mendoza Canyon and Baboquivari and spend most of my time climbing in that 'hood. If there is ever anything the climbing community can do to assist with clean-ups, b-b-q's, consultations, etc, please spread the word. Access is a serious issue through the KAR, and if those conversations don't go well then we need to lean on the BLM for improved access. The newly approved federal budget appropriated $5.5 million to BLM to "improve access to public lands compromised by private land issues." Personally, I'd rather not have to drive through the MinuteMan Ranch every time I want to climb or hike.

By MJ Nelson
From: Tucson, AZ & Big Pine, CA
Oct 28, 2013

There is NEW access to the parking area and trail to Mendoza Canyon and the Coyote Domes. It's the OLD location. After signing in and getting your ranch pass near the King's house, follow signs that say DESIGNATED ACCESS ROUTE. This leads you to the corral. Park here, hop the fence, and follow the road to the domes in the distance.