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14 hours ago

I dont care for desert scenery too much, and while this isn't exactly forrest its a nice compromise being so close to town. This hike is classified under hard but I feel most anyone in shape would have no real problem with this trail, as long as you come hydrated and bring water!

Well maintained trail with lots of great views of Saguaro Lake, as well as Four Peaks and even Flatiron in the distance.
Nice change from the typical Phoenix desert hike, and though the trail is fairly flat, there is just enough elevation change to keep things interesting and to improve the views.
I saw a couple of wild horses at the trailhead. Beside that I barely saw any trash on the trail. Someone must have come through and cleaned up after the party pig summer crew!

super easy, beautiful and right in the heart of Phx so easy to get to.

Lots of steps :) Worth the trip.

Great easy trail. My 4 and 5 year old do it with no issues.

8 days ago

The drive to the trail head was just as exciting as the trail. I took a couple of wrong turns but eventually found the way. The drive also gave me a scare when I began driving in pure sand. My Mazda CX-5 AWD actually handled the terrain far better than I expected. As for the hike it was a good challenge for my friends and myself. We may have complained the whole way up but the view was amazing with all of the Quartz. When you start to get close to the top just keep looking for the stacks of rocks to lead you the rest of the way. The last bit does involve a little rock climbing to get on top of the Quartz. As we were in the way down the sun was setting to we had a fantastic view of the sun behind the mountains in the distance. I would not recommend waiting that late to come off the mountain because we ended up having to finish the hike by flashlight and that also made the drive out far more complicated to follow.

Overall a good hike but I do not care to do it again.

Hiked on October 6, 2018.

It was great easy hike to do with the kids.

Nice moderate trail to do in about an hour.

Calderwood Butte is a simple hike. I enjoyed the cactus on the way up, and the rocks are a real pretty red. I don't think it's marked particularly well (or at all? I can't remember). I went to the summit in about twenty minutes and then tried to loop around for added distance. Well, I ended up so off-trail that I got dumped into the back of a residential neighborhood and had to walk through the neighborhood to get back to my car. It wasn't anything worth really coming back to.

Decent hike, not the best in the valley. Very popular mountain so if you don’t like crowds I’d stay away from this one.

Beautiful Sunrise if you get up there early.

READ BEFORE YOU GO! The road leading to the trail should only be done with 4 Wheel Drive

I took my AWD suv on the south side leading north to the trail. The road is not traversable with 2WD. Lots of places to get stuck in as happened to me. I had to call 911 to get someone out to rescue me and had get my car towed out.

The Google map leads you through very sketchy, sandy washes at least if you are coming through the Maricopa/Mobile airport way.

I’m a pretty adventurous person and I would have strongly loved it if someone wrote a review saying how sandy it was and is not suitable for AWD/2WD.

Another thing you must remember is that this is literally in the middle of nowhere and if you get stuck- be prepared to be waiting for help for a good hour.

Unfortunately, I was not able to hike the trail so this review is purely about the road leading to it.

Major lesson learned for me.

Quick, fun, beautiful!

I think this is not an easy trail but moderate. maybe its easy if you are an avid hiker. the trail was very rocky and mostly steep; I did the loop clockwise. my device measured 5.3miles and took me 2 hours to complete the loop. 5 min before I arrived I asked myself why I drove 40mins for a trail thats has no shade, but then I started to see so many air balloons on the sky. They were lots bigger seeing by eyes. they were there early in the morning till around 7am. I also saw a big rattle snake was rattling and camouflage on the ground but he was climbing up on the mountain not on the trail. Overall this trail does not worth the drive but worth for one time experience.

I love this trail! It’s steep and tough, and there are several areas with steps/stairs. But, the payoff upon reaching the summit is so worth it! Great views! And, usually a nice breeze at the top. I love it because it’s an excellent cardio and leg workout, but it’s not too long so it’s definitely doable. I’ve always gone very early - no later than 5:45am. Amazingly, there are usually more people coming down at that time than there are going up! I’ve heard this is a super-popular night hike. And I believe it! Overall: Nice people; Excellent workout; Great views. Can’t wait to do it again!

Great workout and fantastic views. I prefer this trail over Camelback.

easy trip to the hole

Great hike...the climb is not easy but it’s worth it...I stopped once for a snake :) and twice to catch my breath!!! Beautiful 360 degree view at the top!!!

Great workout. I prefer this to Camelback. The difference may be the 300' vertical elevation difference :-)

I like the views and people sharing the trail seem to be pretty friendly. Great fun for an after work hike.

27 days ago

Stunning views, will def do it again. Wanted to see the wild pack of horses, no luck. Since this trail borders the lake, I'm sure it'll be less than serene on weekends, jet-skis, etc. When I went it was quiet, began around 7am on a Weds. Parking is $8, can get at a Circle k or QT on the way.

If curious about the name, https://www.google.com/search?q=Dr.+W.W.+Jones&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Interesting quote, from AZ Republic.... "Question: Who was Butcher Jones, and why is a trail named after him near Saguaro Lake?

Answer: The Arizona Republic's Scott Craven did some research, and here's what he found:

"Butcher Jones most likely is Dr. W.W. Jones, according to state historian Marshall Trimble. An online search showed Jones to be more than a medical professional. In the mid-19th century, he also owned mines in Arizona as well as a freighting business. He lived in Yuma, Prescott, Wickenburg, Phoenix and Tempe, and later in life became a rancher. He apparently was fairly influential in his day, and he was friends with Jacob Waltz of Lost Dutchman Mine fame. There also was a mention that Dr. Jones performed surgeries on his dining room table, which may have led to his nickname of Butcher (a Parks Department employee said of Butcher Jones – 'I am pretty sure he was a doctor, but apparently not a very good one.')."

1 month ago

beautiful rock formations. easy to navigate, but is a very short trail.

Very pretty trail. I recommend NOT bringing your dog though. Tons of cholla/jumping cactus on part of it, two of my dogs got severely pricked and we had to turn back. Went back with my friend and did the whole trail later...minus the pups! FYI: they were on leashes, the cacti were even on the trail.

Very tough but good feeling afterwards!

It was basically straight up to the peak. It's a tough trail especially if you are used to some flat spots. Otherwise, I enjoyed it! Probably a mistake to hike it at 100 degrees in the middle of the day.

I started hiking South Mountain in June and have loved every minute of it. From the steep climbs to flat ground, I definitely get a good workout. The views are incredible in the early morning hours.

I call this trail the stair stepper..my absolute favorite. go to the tip top!

rock climbing
1 month ago

I did this March 7th 2017. This is a awesome trip with 2 miles of easy trail followed by a very steep path to the saddle, about 800’ of gain in 0.6 miles.

At the saddle their are great views. I started mountaineering at age 20 and the gulley up to the summit has some risks. There are a few very steep short steps up slabs with very little holds. It’s friction climbing and there is exposure that there is enough air below you, that a fall could be fatal.

I would rate the 240’ gulley as class 2 with a few short exposed sections that are class 5.2. There is a great view from the summit and this is a peak i will be doing every year.

If your not comfortable on steep terrain please stop at the saddle. Another issue to be aware of is the gully is perfect for rattlesnakes, where there are crevices and brush. Also i expect in a matter of time a fall down the slabs. Because of this risk it’s best not to be directly below strangers in the gully.

Also they can dislodge rocks that can cause you significant injuries, because of the speed along with their weight. Wait until the gully is clear before ascending it.

I may sound like a overly cautious person, however this is because of four decades of climbing, i have responded to lots of accidents, when i was in mountain rescue.

To summarize, Vulture Peak offers a lot, and will be a yearly trip for me.


Decided to hike this trail for the first time on Labor Day. Unfortunately, got a late start and it was HOT. There is no shade to speak off - only the partial shade of a few Palo Verde trees along the way. I would recommend this trail if you want something close to the Phoenix metro area where you would get a decent workout. However, the views are nothing special and not much variety in plant life...mostly cholla, saguaro, and Palo Verde trees, with an occasional cactus barrel and ocatillo.

My first official hike. My goodness, it’s was difficult but determined to make it to the top, plugged along. Great views from the top and along the way too. Very jagged rocks to climb from bottom to top. Almost slipped twice which could have been very bad indeed. One large bottle of water was sufficient for me but would encourage more. Gotta have good knees to make it down safely too.

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