Explore In the future - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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off road driving
2 days ago

Very good scenic trail. Goes up quite high so bring a jacket. Lower trails will soon be closed down so enjoy it while you can

A nice trail for a morning hike. Lots of traffic - hikers, runners and cyclists - but all were super chill.

Took much longer than expected with my seven- and nine-year old kids. But totally doable as a family.

Great workout trail but not my favorite for views. If you want more moderate uphill take it clockwise steeper grade counterclockwise. will probably do trail again in spring as i think there will be a lot of desert blooms to see then. Travel safe.

off road driving
5 days ago

Loved this off road drive! It was beautiful and there were lots of butterflies. It was a bit nerve-wracking to hear gun shots and not know where they were shooting since there were bushes in the way. Most people were shooting right off the road though where they can be seen.

off road driving
5 days ago

Did this trail on a dirtbike. Lots of big rocks and obstacles.

Started Clockwise....ended up all over the place as not marked well at all.....but what a beautiful adventurous hike it was!

it was a great hike..make sure you don't leave the trail..beware of jumping cacti

off road driving
11 days ago

Great trail! Any stock jeep can make it. We did about a 40 mile loop in about 3 hours. Definitely need your maps. Washes were damp and some puddles still around from Thursday night rain. Great views from Montana Mountain.

off road driving
12 days ago

I drove the trail after a rain and it was challenging. The views were amazing and worth the effort. Make sure you are prepared for rapidly changing conditions.

Pretty rocky but doable for an intermediate biker although logistically tough with the amount of traffic the trail had. Didn’t go very far as I realized I would be having to get off an walk most of the downhill to avoid the hikers and many blind turns.

One of my favorites among the moderate trails

off road driving
20 days ago

awesome place rugged AZ outback! be prepared Water etc tires.. peace

I thought it was kind of long and boring. There was hardly anyone around. I prefer a busier trail. It's a slow gradual climb so you can take it easy and stop get your steps in. If you like to be alone, this would be a good trail for you. I wouldn't do it again.

off road driving
1 month ago

Awesome trail!!!

Not my ideal type of hike, I went counter clockwise. The views were magnificent, trail was perfect. I prefer a hike up like the Peralta. At 2.5 miles I just turned around. Other than that it was absolutely beautiful, barely anyone on the trail only saw 5 people in a span of 3 hours.

In many ways the Miner's Needle is more impressive than the Weaver's Needle and you get much closer on the main trail.

Meh. It's OK but there's nothing that would bring me back out to do it again. If I had more time, some of the other trails that branched off of this loop had promise.

hiking
1 month ago

Very deceiving as there’s no actual trail. Best way to start is to climb up to the cave on the right and then down in. Was an adventurous hike as it’s definitely moderate to hard at times. Very enjoyable.

If the McDowell mountains were a nice jewelry store and you were looking for an engagement ring, this hike would qualify for the bargain basement ... that value corner option that will have to do when funds are limited. Continuously rocky throughout, I felt like I was “driving” down a poorly managed road/drainage wash full of potholes in desperate need of resurfacing. The second star comes from the views of the East Valley/South Scottsdale at the top of the range.

P.S. I will cop to bias in that I have been spoiled hiking all through the north side of the McDowells (Tom’s thumb, Brown’s ranch mountain, Granite mountain, Fraesfield, McDowell mountain park) for some time which are far superior in everything desert hikers want versus this trail. It’s like comparing the South rim of the Grand Canyon with the North rim.

Great hike! Gradual inclines and amazing scenery! I want to explore other trails branching off this one.

Moderate in difficulty. Watch your step on this trail, as there is a lot of loose rock and soil that can make it a bit hazardous. Hiking sticks are very helpful, and I recommend them.

off road driving
1 month ago

This was my first trip here. Keep the map in reach. Lots of trails to get off track on. Pretty rocky but no tricky obstacles. X3nation

Beautiful trail! Great views the entire way. Tons of flowing water views! Saw tarantula and snakes. Hardly anyone on the trail. Started at 6:30am and took a few hours to do the entire loop. I took lots of breaks for pics though so not sure how long this trail should really take. Great trail the entire time.

off road driving
1 month ago

Awesome awesome trail. Couple of really technical spots. Need a lifted vehicle if you’re going to protect your undercarriage. Takes about 4 hours total, so bring a lunch and lots of water and enjoy the drive. Awesome views, love everything about this trail.

We did this trail yesterday, starting at 6:56 a.m. I highly recommend starting early to stay out of heat and for the gorgeous sunrise you encounter on the drive out. Starting early also let us see 2 deer and 1 wild boar. The first decision is whether to go counter-clockwise (CCW) or clock-wise (CW). If you go CCW you will have a gentler ascent , but a rocky, steep decent. If you go CW you will climb steeply , but your desent will be gentler. Which ever works best for your body is what you should do. I think the moderate rating is accurate, mostly due to length, not due to tecnicality. For either direction, you will find the following helpful: long pants or zip-offs, good boots or trail shoes, poles, water, snacks, sunscreen. For the rest of this I will comment on the CCW direction as that is what we did. CCW, you have a gentle incline on ascent with a good trail, and great views. About 1/2 way through you get to the streams. Around the streams you encounter knee-high grass which often obscures the trail. I would not step blindly onto the path without using a pole to beat around checking for rattlers as they were out yesterday. We encountered one who alerted us of his discontent. Also KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH so it does not get bit and just out of courtesy to others. Someone mentioned that this trail gets boring. We did not find that at all. Again about 4 miles in, the topography changes and you get more streams and a greater variety of vegetation, but that only last a little while then the awesome mountain views are back. This is also the same area where the grass has overgrown the trail so you need to be on vigilant snake alert. The cactus and ocotillo were all so pretty and lush. You will want your long pants here or you WILL end up with lots of scratches from the plants crowding the trail. The descent is steep and rocky so poles and good shoes/boots will be very helpful on the slippery scree. Going CCW, just remember to bear left. The trail is relatively easy to follow Sometimes you have to walk through a stream bed or cross a stream more than once to pick up the trail, watch for carins, but if you don't see them, just explore around close to the last known trail and you will spot it. Don't go off on a trail you aren't sure about without considering the options and using a little common sense. I'm not sure how people got so lost as some stated. We did use the All Trails app to confirm we were still on track a few times, but overall didn't think following the trail was hard. I feel the trail is a bit longer than stated, but unfortunatley forgot my watch so did not track it. My GPS said we had gone 324 miles...so apparently I forgot to reset that! LOL. My phone said 12.4 miles, but I know that isn't right. My hiking sense and the time said it felt more like 9 miles. We weren't trying to set any speed records, stopped for snacks a couple times, and took lots of pictures and we were on the trail about 5 1/2 hours.

I may have been slightly not ready for this trail but did it anyways. Took the suggestion of going clockwise and happy with the choice. The big Up was kinda brutal but didn’t slow me down much. The views on this trail are incredible. The creek beds were all flowing thanks to the recent rain and fun to romp around in. I took my time and came in just under 5 hours. Only passed about 12 people going opposite direction. Came out measuring 9.4 miles as well. This was my longest hike yet and I think I managed alright. NO SHADE THO almost got me. It was only 79 degrees when I finished but I got a pretty nasty burn. Cant wait to do again when cooler out!

Good morning hike! Had the trail all to ourselves

2 months ago

I did this in my 3\4ton extended cab short box Chevy 2" lift and 33's wasn't too bad didn't bottom out at all. I took the FR10 trail after a rainstorm no mud it was almost pure rock, very bumpy. Not much for views.

Did this loop counterclockwise, but will do it clockwise if I do it again. Started at 8:00 and completed it in 3.5 hours, and was 95 degrees when I got back to the car. Beautiful views, only saw 4 other people out there, trail was well marked. Cairns show the way when there were wash crossings, and signs were at every trail intersection.

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