Alta Trail And Bajada Trail is a 9.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Phoenix, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
I recommend doing this loop by starting on the Bajada (head west) and return on the Alta trail. You don't get much in the way of views when you head east on the Bajada. Another note, when you get closer to the west end of this loop you, take the National trail. It is what connects the Bajada to the Alta, about 3/4 mile.
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.