Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail

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Phoenix Mountain Preserve

Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail is a 7.9 kilometer 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 best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.9 km Elevation Gain: 280 m Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

When you say "North Mountain," 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. 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.

hiking
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rocky
1 month ago

Very heavily travelled. The first hilly section was very steep but paved. The second hilly section was part paved and part rocky. The last hilly section was very rocky. There were very few flowers or wildlife. It was a nice challenge. Lots of great views of downtown Phoenix and all the mountain ranges around the city.

mountain biking
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rocky
1 month ago

Incline too steep for mountain biking, will try to hike it next time.

Fun and not too long

I would recommend this Trail to anyone who is looking for a decent hike with some easy parts and then some harder parts. this Trail has all great views you can take up to the mountain trail or you can just take a look around the bottom of the ravines. Dog friendly and has lots to offer for every skill level.

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
washed out
2 months ago

3/7/20- Great hike at Shaw Butte today! I completed the full loop in 1:49:00. Everything was in bloom throughout the trail, and I was graced with a cool breeze. There was no need for a thermal anymore and the trail was surprisingly not crowded like it normally can be this time of year. Rocky, broken pavement, and washed out in some areas towards the end, but not enough to get lost. Overall, I enjoyed this hike and will do it again. :)

Flowers are starting to bloom on this leap day hike with Floyd

hiking
3 months ago

Good workout to the top. I took the "easier" route and went counter-clockwise. The incline to the top was harder than I expected. But once there, the views were great. I enjoyed the south part of the trail much more. It's got more of a true hiking feel as opposed to trekking up the service road on the north side. The Cloud 9 ruins were interesting since I'd never been, but not interesting enough to bring me back. All in all, it was a nice hike but not one I'd add to my rotation unless I lived closer.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

My go-to trail. I love it! Best done clockwise

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

My phone died during this recording, but my friend and I still completed the full loop! :D

Quick early evening hike with Floyd before Kathy arrives. Perfect weather

Quiet hike during a Wednesday work lunch after MI visit

hiking
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rocky
4 months ago

never again

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Easier to follow the trail than I thought. amazing views at sunset.

Very steep incline up to the cell towers. Lots of Little Rocks in the way down if you go counter clockwise. 93 FitBit flights of stairs. 5.3 miles. 12.3k steps. Good workout for sure.

muddy
rocky
6 months ago

Nice cool late morning hike with Floyd. Forgot my ornament for the tree..

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

good trail, completed with strong 11 and 6 year old. need dogs on trail as well, super convenient to midtown Phoenix and North Phoenix as well. recommend it for sure.

hiking
no shade
rocky
7 months ago

Some really challenging inclines

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