Alta Trail And Bajada Trail is a 10.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Phoenix, AZ that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
loooong ass hike....but very nice trail
This hike is a loop, but the red line doesn't show a loop. The green/black circle (Alta Trailhead?) is only accessible by vehicle (and parking is extremely limited) on the first Sat/Sunday of the month. It is also the end of the National Trail, which circles the base of the Maricopa peak to the south and east, then heads over to where the Bajada is shown as a dotted line. The Alta Trail is done well, but the red needs to go out (west) along the Bajada to the National, and then back to the start of the Alta. OR - the little 0.5 mile jog on the Bajada east goes to another parking spot (the triangle outside the San Juan gate - also limited parking available).
The Alta/Bajada is generally the loop using both trails and is shorter than going out on Alta and back on Alta (which is not a loop, but an out-and-back).
Lastly, the little 0.4 mile 'trail' on the east end of this 'loop' is NOT a trail, and it is definitely NOT a part of the Alta/Bajada Loop.
This is probably the prettiest trail on South Mountain. Only downfall is the trail being a bit hard to get to.
I loved this trail....did trail running all the way up and down. Some parts the trail was not to stable but a work out it will definitely give.
Loved the Alta hike! We did the 4.5 miles there and then back. I will be suffering for days but loved it
Hiked a loop of Alta and Bajada. I parked at the gate on San Juan Road and walked to the east Alta trailhead, hiked to the San Juan trailhead, and followed Bajada from there back to the car. About 10 miles. Alta Trail is scenic, and narrow and precipitous in many stretches. I enjoyed Alta quite a bit, which made up for the relatively uninteresting way back on Bajada.
Summit #1 of the 2014 Phoenix Summit Challenge. Having a blast!
It was tricky finding the right area to park to get me close to the Bajada Trail because I didn't see any signs with the named trails. My goal was to do a complete loop up to Alta and back through Bajada. It seemed the closest access was to park at the 5 tables lot. From there I had to start the Ranger Trail to get to Bajada, which was the only way to get to the Alta start (see the park map). The Bajada trail can be bit confusing especially when you cross the washes because there is some slight alternate trailblazes. Also, some of the markers were faded to the extent you couldn't read them at all or were not visible across the way (could be they didn't exist because some I never found). Once you reach the Alta Trail it's easy to find your way, but there's nothing easy about the hike itself. Great panoramic views of the city throughout this trail. At the end of Alta I kept on the National trail which brought me back to Bajada and back to the lot where I started. I gave this loop 3 stars mostly because there is almost no shade unless you happen to catch the shadow of the mountain. Also, I was flailing my arms around the ENTIRE hike to keep the flies off and away from my face. Not sure if that had to do with the time of year, the weather or something else but it stole away from the enjoyment. Took me 5 hours to complete.
This was a challenging, long trail. We were in awe of the views from the top. The trail is not well marked at the beginning of the trail from the east side--on the west side, there was a map. We found the trail very isolated and no cell phone reception. We only passed one other group of three hikers on the trail--it may be more populated on the weekend. We hiked on a Monday. Down the back side of the trail as we passed a large rock beside the trail, we heard a rattlesnake--we just walked on by without incident (whew!). It took a very long time to walk back to the car after hiking up the east side and down the west side of the trail.
Somewhat strenuous climb to the top of the Ma Ha Tauk range, but the scenic views are well worth the effort. This was the first week of March and there were already many poppies and other wildflowers blooming along the south slopes.
Started out with clear skys but soon turned to cloudy skys. The trail was very good just a few people out. Once I started up Alta Trail I warmed up quickly of course when I reached the top there was a very cool breeze. Great views from the top Phoenix look clear for the first time in a long time. I will be back in the spring when the plants are in bloom. Just great views
The trailhead itself is only accessible one weekend a month since the San Juan road is usually closed. You can start at the parking area (which fills up by mid morning during peak season) before the closed gate.
The Alta Trail is one of my favourites because I can get a 5-hour / 10-mile hike 20 minutes from home. I do this by going back and forth on the trail. The Bajada trail is easy, but not as scenic, in my opinion. Some wildlife can be seen at dawn and dusk. Also, the trail is filled with hundreds and thousands of caterpillars early in the fall. :-)
I gave it four stars because, well, it's not as isolated as I would like. It IS in Phoenix, after all.
awesome, as I was the only one on the Trail. I started from Bajada as San Juan Rd is closed. It was a nice easy hike until I got to the Alta trail head, from there it was all up hill but the views were awesome. I will do this one again
Awesome views. Very rocky and hot. Take lots of water. Allow four hours minimum. Four stars only due to long stretches of desert scenery.