This last weekend we set out to do an off trail hike to Peak 8304 or Peak 8300 or Mayan Temple depending on who you ask. We wanted to try an off trail route a to a nice point of prominence a try. I noticed Peak 8304 while hiking La Luz a couple weeks ago and thought sitting on the top would be pretty cool. There is already a route to the peak in alltrails.com which is titled “Peak 8304 via Pedra Lisa Trail.” So we figured we would give that route a try.
We got up around 7am on Sunday and made it to the Pedra Lisa Trailhead around 8am. On the drive it was pretty cool to see all of the hot air balloons that were up for the last day of the Balloon Fiesta. The weather was pretty solid with a temperature around 44 degrees when we started and around 68 degrees when we finished. The route follows the Pedra Lisa Trail for right around two miles. And boy were they a couple of steep miles. We gained 1,000ft of elevation is those two miles. Which doesn’t sound like whole bunch but it was the unrelenting straight up nature unlike the switchbacks of La Luz.
At mile 2 we were set to go off trail to reach Peak 8304 but it turned out that there was a rough, unnamed trail that we were able to follow. It was pretty hard to keep in some places and we got off trail at least once but it was definitely easier than a full on bushwhack. There are several cairns along the route to help but mostly we followed washouts. It is right around 0.8 miles of off trail section to reach the bottom of Peak 8304 and then another 0.2 miles to the top.
Peak 8304 has around 290ft of prominence so you are covering that elevation in that 0.2 miles and boy is it steep. Most of the climb is that awkward incline where you don’t want to use trekking poles but it isn’t a full on scramble where you can use your hands to help climb. The dirt was also surprisingly wet and a little muddy which made for slow going. The last 100ft or so is a full on scramble to the summit. There is not much exposure for the scrambling and ropes aren’t necessary. The views from the top are phenomenal and the pictures really don’t do it justice. The drop off to either side of the peak is pretty significant so you feel like you are completely out in the open with an unobstructed view. We took a break on the top to eat some snacks and just enjoy the view.
We found a mason jar with an informal summit log of sorts jammed into the rocks so we added our names. There were also some stickers and cards for a cool little blog: A Couple of Drifters. I would recommend giving their site a look if you like travel blogs. After our break we scrambled and stumbled our way down Peak 8304 without injury. A short hike got us back onto the Pedra Lisa Trail and down to our car.
For those wanting to get off the beaten path it was a solid hike. The views along the way were nice but the constant upwards gradient didn’t really make for an enjoyable hike. Even coming down the grade made solid foot placement important and I lost my footing and slid a couple of times. It really ended up being one of those hikes that was all for the payoff of the summit. And the summit views did not disappoint.
Our total distance ended up being 6.5 miles with 1,864ft of elevation gain. Our total hike time was 3 hours and 42 minutes with about 21 minutes of that being breaks along the way. So definitely some slow going but a successful summit attempt no matter what you call the peak.