Shaw Butte Trail is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Phoenix, AZ that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
When you say "North Mountain," I think most Arizonans know where it is or can find it. When you say "Shaw Butte," it seems like you get a lot more questioning glances and "huh?". Shaw Butte is the other side of the preserve and what a trail it is. There are 3 interesting landmarks on this trail, 2 radio towers and an old burned down restaurant, all of which are fun to check out. Despite not a ton of people knowing the name, this is a very popular trail and a good place to get a nice challenge in. Take the access road up and down a few times and you'll get your workout in for the day! Additional parking is off of Central and Thunderbird. The Trail 306 starts uphill and stays that way pretty much till the towers, with just a few flat spots to give you a break. You can walk around the towers for some nice views of the city. Once you pass the towers and continue around the loop you come to an old restaurant that has been burned down for 40 years. Take some time to look up the old Cloud 9 Restaurant and relive some history. Continuing down the switchbacks the backside of the mountain is nice and flat and easy going. You will probably pass a mountain biker or two at some point down here. You also get on part of the Trail 100 that runs through several of the mountains in the area. Also, dog friendly.
a lot of switch backs but it's worth it
Have done this several times and enjoy the hike to the antenna farm and then the backside down. This particular hike is part of the Phoenix Summit Challenge. I did this on 9/17/16 with a couple of friend.
I loved it
The climb is a little rough but the view makes it all worth it!
I like this hike! I have been coming here since I was a child, and I still come here every once in a while. A little quieter and scenic than North Mountain, and a longer hike as well. I usually start at the trail head at Central Ave. and Thunderbird, in the neighborhood. Go up the paved (partially) road and make a pit stop at the towers. Going down the other side, you can see the remains of Cloud Nine restaurant before you continue your hike down. There is other trail access here, especially the trail head at 7th ave, and you can hook up with trail 100 if you want. I just stick to trail 306 and it circles back to the parking lot. Slightly challenging, good views, and fun!
Always a great run. Counterclockwise really works the legs. This is one of my favorite trails to run.
I came across Shaw Butte off of 22nd Street, just west of Piestewa Peak Park. I was actually headed to the park and made a wrong turn onto 22nd Street. I wandered off onto the trail and came to Perl Charles Memorial (1A). I have been on 1A many times but always inside the park. But there it was traveling outside the park. The sign pointed left and right, left about half a mile to the trail end and right about five miles to the other end. I went right. That is the harder part of the 1A, climbing mountains until it got back into the park. Once back inside the park I found my way to Squaw Peak Drive but then I had to walk back to 22nd Street and back to the car. Seven miles in all, so not too bad. Not overly hot today, but I still polished off all of my water. It was another way around.
I recommend going counter-clockwise on this trail. If so, you'll hit the concrete service road first. Then on the way down you'll be on a rocky trail which is a bit easier to descend. There are great views along this trail. I was able to complete the full loop, starting and ending at the visitor center, in 2 hours. The trail is popular and you'll need to be on the lookout for bikers until you climb up the butte.
I like how wide the trail is. Perfect for passing without worrying about falling off the side of the mountain. However, I don't like how rocky it is, simply due to the fact that it is old, broken up concrete. I have to watch myself when I run the way down because of huge chunks of concrete sticking out of the ground. Overall, though, good city hike.
A lot of people park in the lot off of Easter Drive and just hike from the lot to the top. If you do that you miss out on the best part of the loop. I really prefer to park in the North Mountain Visitor's Center, start on trail 100 and meet up with the Shaw Butte Loop. Doing that means actually losing sight of the city and feeling like you are in the wilderness and not just hiking on a service road the whole time.
Loved it! Will be back again. If you're planning on completing the entire trail make sure you have your gps handy. If you start counterclockwise the trail gets a little fuzzy about half way in.
Great views of the valley but the trail is full of loose rocks and steep hills.