Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail

MODERATE 449 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail is a 4.6 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 best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
895 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

9 days ago

Was a little skeptical at first because of the footing, but you get used to it. Great workout and view of the city is nice also

2 months ago

great workout!

hiking
2 months ago

Compared to some of the other hikes in the Valley, the signage and trail markings were a bit more difficult to follow. I was very glad to be using AllTrails for additional direction. The view at the top was fine, but surrounded by cellphone towers and power lines. A definite stopping point would be the old restaurant that burned down - great views of the city and surrounding areas and neat to see the old structure. We went clockwise and it seemed counterclockwise would have been easier for the incline, but a good workout overall!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike

3 months ago

very nice this morning. nice cool

3 months ago

I like this trail. great incline first 2 miles and then descending last 2 miles. Get out there early. it starts to get crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

Great local hike right in Phoenix. Not the prettiest, but great views of the surrounding areas. Went clockwise as others had mentioned, definitely a calorie burn going up. Going down was then more relaxing. A solid moderate level hike. Well populated trail, but didn’t feel over crowded. Lots of dogs. Took me 2 hrs to do the full loop and I’m not in the best of shape, that also included a 15 min rest at one point on the way up to catch my breath. A hike worth doing if your in the area and need to just get away from city noise for a bit.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this hike clockwise and felt as though it was okay but I wish I hadn't brought my dogs. I went on a weekend and it was really crowded throughout the entirety of the hike. There were a people without leashes on their dogs that ran up to mine along with a few other owners that walked directly toward my pups even though I was clearly moving away to the side. My dogs aren't aggressive but one of them gets very nervous with other dogs so I like to keep them separated. I almost never have any issues like this and its possible that this was a one off situation but it really distracted me from enjoying the hike. The trail starts with an incline that gets the blood pumping and then the last half is a nice descend with some steep parts. The views were quite average in comparison to other nearby trails. The entire hike took me less than 2 hours going at a leisurely pace. The trailhead was easy to get to and had a large parking lot.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! It definitely will get your heart pumping.

hiking
4 months ago

One of my favorite go-to hikes for a reasonably good workout in a short amount of time. I always take the south route first, since there are rough, modest inclines which require some careful stepping, then take the north route down to the parking lot. Restrooms and water on site, and don't forget to stop at the Visitor Center!

hiking
4 months ago

It has as great views of the North and West Valley. Also of Central Phoenix. This was my first hike as a kid so it has a special place in my head. It’s pretty easy except for the somewhat tedious constantly minimal grade. Very few steep places. The trail itself is very ugly as it’s an eroded, wide, and partially paved service road for only the Shaw Butte high point route (306). There’s the foundation for the locally known ruins of a restaurant when you start to loop around the mountain. This is a perfect night hike as the trail’s terrain is not rugged or unpredictable at all. The parking lot closes early, but if you go into the neighborhood on Aster Dr from Central aways, you’ll see no more “No Parking” signs.

4 months ago

Parts are completely flat and others are very steep - there's not much in between. It was challenging but fun. Not the prettiest scenery I've ever seen, but has a nice view of the city.

hiking
4 months ago

Not a fan. There’s potential for a beautiful sunset, but it’s not very pretty in this area to me. The first part of the trail to the 306 loop was super flat, which made an immediate ascent tougher. Which, is a GREAT workout, but I prefer gradual hikes not one extreme to the other.

It was a mountain biking trail for sure. The trails seemed almost specifically built for that. Which was fine! Not a favorite place of mine, don’t know if I’ll visit again. But I never regret exploring.

5 months ago

Moderate is a great rating. Although, due to the length it feels as bad as Piestewa Peak in the end. there are 2 ways to go. 1, you can go south and take some rough terrain up or 2, you can take the North and have a less rocky path up. It is a lot easier to start south and end down North, it is impossible to run the south end. there are some nice little side trails on the south end just before the ascent and adds a couple minutes to your trip. Check out the old restaurant foundation that is from the 60s once you get to it, can't miss it.

5 months ago

There’s a long hike to the top no matter which way you go. I went clockwise and I’m glad, because the steep kilometer - long climb was on a rugged Rocky trail with lots of zigzags so it was interesting. The return downhill was mostly on a road that they drive with four wheel drives to get up to service the communication towers at the top, so that was a nice easy down but would have been a very boring climb up.

trail running
5 months ago

Awesome trail to run.

6 months ago

Starts off pretty steep. Awesome views once you reach the summit.

6 months ago

Nice loop, good views, able to trail run a lot of it. The Hohokam Observatory is really neat.

to many people

hiking
6 months ago

to busy

6 months ago

The trail was very well marked, busy trail with lots of nice people! Great for a dog on leash too!!

hiking
7 months ago

I went around the backside. I thought it was a nice quick hike

hiking
7 months ago

Kind of rough, but really nice!

7 months ago

was great. brought our dog she's small it got alittle hard for her. Great for cardio. will probably so again!

hiking
7 months ago

This is my close to home weekend hike. For me it was a challenge to get to those towers at first but now its my strength builder. I love this trail. Cant wait to explore more of the city trails and then this great state.

hiking
7 months ago

Always amazing

hiking
7 months ago

Great views of the valley!

8 months ago

nice uphill workout

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing trail love this after work easy to get to and such amazing views, very friendly people on the trail

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