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Midlife Crisis Trail and National Trail Loop

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South Mountain Preserve

Midlife Crisis Trail and National Trail Loop is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Phoenix, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.5 mi Elevation gain 1,092 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Scramble

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (248)
Photos (1604)
Recordings (236)
Completed (481)
Jose Montes
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Started off nice and slow at the National trail, I which was nice and easy for the first mile until you got to the Pima Wash cross roads. The hike was challenging for my friend who is not fit and she was only able to go 3/4 of the way up the first ascent. The trail was easy to follow once at the peaks but there were a few boulders you had to climb up and over, making for an easy scramble. Unfortunately I ran out of water and was hiking during an excessive heat warning, so I had to turn around to avoid the heat. The temperature was 100 by 9 am, so an early start is a good idea if you plan to go on this trail during the summer.

View Jose's Recording
Phoebe Mo
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Hiking

This trail was not official and I had to use my AllTrails app intensively to avoid getting lost. Clocked 6.6 miles from parking lot to complete this loop. It finally hit me why this trail is called as such I felt like I just had my mid trail crisis! Good legs workout today.

View Phoebe's Recording
Alison Dean
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HikingRockyScramble

Great trail! Strava clocked 5.58 miles, 1,241 ft elevation gain. Took just over 2 hours! Features a cool little cave and plenty of terrain change. I agree with the other comments about class 3 scrambles, nice switch up from just walking! There are a lot of other trails that peel off from this one, many lead back, but not all. So be mindful!

Kes Camacho
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Hiking

Fun trail! Loved the mini adventure, we lost the trail quite a bit even after reading the other reviews lol it was fun and games till it wasn’t. It got soooooo hot and we back tracked many times, carins saved us! Took us 3hrs when probably should’ve been 2. Had fun and now that we know the way, would do again!!

Linda Jean Fenner
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Hiking

6-4-20 Sunrise Hike, spied 2 coyotes, minimal peeps on the trail. Intense Incline Hike on and off....Washrooms/water/plenty of parking and no fees! Enjoy :)

Andy Schmitt
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Nice trail. All the hard work is done between 1.3 and 2 mile mark but not too bad, only about a 1,000 ft elevation. Some parts of the trail are hard to follow so be sure to check your map before veering off and have to back track like I did.

Julia Lohman
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HikingNo shade
View Julia's Recording
Craig Lohman
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HikingNo shadeRocky
View Craig's Recording
Trevor H
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No shadeScramble

Beautiful trail! National goes up elevation at the stone houses, hidden valley is beautiful but once thru the cave, the trail fades quickly into the boulder field. nothing looks harder than a small scramble or an easy class 3, so pick your route and go! Midlife crisis on the way back is steep but easy if you take your time. Great views, challenging but accessible to most people.

Josh Watkins
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HikingRockyScramble

A hike for the slightly more adventurous, some light scrambling required and a couple of spots where the trail is faint and hard to find. Absolutely love the hidden valley section.

View Josh's Recording
Brenda Hendrickson
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Hiking

Good hike but a very hard trail to follow. It keeps you alert always looking. Go through the tunnel on National and stay to your left. A fair amount of climbing. Thank goodness for all trails.

View Brenda's Recording
Tiffany Huett
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HikingNo shadeOff trailOver grownRockyScramble

NOT fun for me. Parts were very pretty, and most of National trail should be rated easy. But UGH. Beyond that nothing but awful. We started on National and were doing fine until I did NOT see any sign indicating it was heading to Midlife Crisis trail where there should have been one. So we stayed on National thinking it was a little further. But I double checked the map before going any further and saw we had crossed it. So we went back and my map was sying to follow the sign for Valley Tunnel to stay on this Loop. But past the tunnel there is no discernable trail and you're scrambling around on huge boulders. MANY TIMES. So this part is strenuous unless you're very fit. Then going down MC trail is so steep in about 5 parts. And slick in a few parts too. It was much more than I bargained for. I should have paid better attention to the reviews. My guess is a big storm caused a lot of rocks to fall over the years and perhaps this trail was simpler before but it's NOT now. I recommend taking National all the way out and back, or doing some other loop. Stay away from this loop, and MC trail downhill. Find nearby trail options to still enjoy the same views.

Heather Healy
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Hiking

The loop back was harder than the loop up. Trail disappears lots of times. Loose gravel on the way down makes return slow. Lots of ups and downs on the way back. Trail was closer to hard than moderate

Michelle Gutierrez
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HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble
Donald Dedrick
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Hiking

It was a good hike. The connector trail between National Trail and Midlife Trail is not marked very well. We went past it had to backtrack to find it using Alltrails and GPS. We also had to use GPS until we got to Midlife Crisis.

View Donald's Recording
Adrienne Schremser
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HikingBugsOff trailRockyScramble

My husband and I went out on this hike for Thanksgiving Day and it was definitely a worthwhile hike before a Holiday meal! This hike was moderate to hard with some rock scrambling and elevation gain. There were moments where the trail was tough to follow, however this trailhead is well kept and clean with restroom facilities as well.

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