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    The first/last 2 miles are flat and through a residential/golf area. Other than that, it's a nice hike with possibly the best east/west views in the valley from the lookout. There are some parts which are a little overgrown, which is 1) surprising for any trail in the McDowell mountains and 2) somewhat disconcerting during rattler mating season. Still lots of wildflowers and butterflies to be enjoyed along with the views! There were very few other people on the trail on a Friday.

    Come for the challenge, stay for the ridgeline.

    3 months ago

    It's all fun and games until you go through the gate and hit skull mesa trail 248. Then it's 1.1 miles of steepness to the top. I was questioning my life decisions halfway up. The summit has spectacular southern views! Currently, every creek crossing had exposed dry rocks you can frogger over except the one right before the trailhead. I ended up going barefoot and wading across there.

    3 months ago

    I got 15.4 miles. Also, on a Saturday morning in March, it took 20 minutes to find a spot. There was a lot of available parking when I returned, however. The trail itself isn't very exciting. There are parts (especially on the west end) where there are great views of the city that I found very enjoyable. Not very many spots with a decent amount of incline and it is short lived when you find them. Some extended flat areas with no view that are just meh. I have never been on a trail with so many mountain bikers. The majority of them are decent about sharing the trails but a strong minority are inconsiderate with no respect for trail etiquette. Just as a warning, the west end descent has a lot of super fine gravel so attention is needed. I wore trail runners and had 2 skids and a full-on superhero landing. Only a 3 star trail to me - subtracted 1 star for the boring stretches and 1 for too many mountain bikers.

    Great hike with some fantastic views. I got 11.1 miles and 3127 elevation. Pretty stout trek, I wouldn't attempt it during the warmer months as shade is sparse.

    hiking
    5 months ago

    A very enjoyable trail. I added actually going to Tom's thumb and it came out to 12.9 miles. This hike has a little of everything you can get in the Phoenix metro area besides water and shade, but those are pretty rare anyway. The best part was east end - there was no one else on it so the entire time it was me, the wildflowers and thousands of birds. If I had wanted to, I probably could have forgotten I was so close to civilization.

    5 months ago

    I will echo others by saying this is an easy hike until the last mile, then it's serious cardio time. Coming down was harder than going up, I was zigzagging to try and take some pressure off my knees. Some much younger hikers in way better shape than me were doing the same thing. The views at the top are spectacular, but be aware there are warnings posted about RF fields exceeding FCC rules for human exposure. I didn't feel real comfortable after reading that so I spent less than 5 minutes there before heading down. I can't see doing this trail again anytime soon. Too many other great hikes in Phoenix.

    While I'm not a big fan of the loose larger rocks that dominate the first and last halves of this hike, the overall hike is enjoyable. I found the constant, steady incline quite enjoyable, and the views from the summit are great. One oddity related to all the lost dog trails, they are the only trails I've been on where when greeting fellow hikers along the trail you are somewhat likely to receive an icy stare instead of a reciprocal greeting.

    hiking
    Friday, November 24, 2017

    I kept thinking this was Camelback with how many people there were (and people that stopped to catch their breath right in the middle of the trail without pulling off to the side). The trail itself is enjoyable and a good workout for a short hike, the views are mediocre. Ironically there was no wind. $6 per car entry fee unless you have the $85 annual pass.

    hiking
    Friday, November 24, 2017

    Very busy trail. Enjoyable hike, good views along the way with great views from the summit. The terrain is mostly moderate with a few hard parts. The only detraction was the 6 different people playing music as loud as they could along the trail. Pro tip: go either early so you get all the shade or later after the sun is higher. I started at 9:30am and got 5% shade and 95% staring directly into the sun on the way up.

    Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Good workout for a short hike. Very nice 360 views at the top. Really an out and back trail as the loop is very short. Appropriate footwear goes a long way here.

    hiking
    Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Not enough parking for how popular the trail is. I waited in the overflow lot for a space @ 9:30 on a Sunday morning. The trail itself had great views the whole way, and the 360 degree views from the peak are spectacular. It was 'hold onto your phone with both hands' windy at the peak. Almost all hikers as the trail is not great for running or biking.

    Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Trail is in good shape. Pretty steady up then down. Extremely busy, and with that comes many people that are unaware of trail etiquette. Decent views. Overall kinda boring. The side trails looked more interesting.

    Monday, November 13, 2017

    Closer to moderate than easy. Fairly scenic and not many people using it. I also missed the trail back to the mine but it was the best part of the hike for me, if you continue going up the trail past the mine to the top of the mountain you can see the fountain (during the first 15 minutes of every hour), a little bit of the Verde river and a lot better view of the mountains.

    hiking
    5 days ago

    hiking
    2 months ago

    hiking
    4 months ago