Escudilla Mountain was called the upside down bowl by native Americans due to it's unusual shape. It is located on the very eastern edge of the Mogollon Rim in Arizona in the White Mountains adjacent to New Mexico. The mountain is 4 hours from Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque or Las Cruces. It is in the heart of the Apache National Forest which is one of the largest National Forest in the country, combined with the adjacent Gila National Forest area in square miles is roughly the size of Yellowstone National Park.
The Escudilla Mountain Trailhead is at an elevation of approximately 9,400 '. You can easily drive to the trailhead and begin your hike from that point. The trail begins by winding through a huge Aspen grove for the first mile, then gradually gains elevation until you reach a large ridge without trees which is aptly named Profanity Ridge. The next half mile is the steepest portion of the trail as you slowly climb Profanity Ridge. Once on top the Ridge the hiker is equipped with outstanding views of Terry Flat, Mount Baldy and other area landmarks. The trail then begins a descent into another meadow and then rises again through the meadow. After a short three-quarter mile hike the trail rises again steeply for the final summit push to the fire watch tower on the summit at 10,877 'elevation. The hiker will enjoy the magnificent views to the west of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to guide a good friend with his wife, son and daughter. My friends are in there early fortyies and the kids are 11 and 9 years old respectively. They were not acclimatized to high altitude, so their wind was short, but after an hour and a half they were all able to successfully summit Escudilla Mountain. We were able to complete the entire hike in 3 hours.