Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail

MODERATE 389 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Shaw Butte and Charles M Christiansen Loop Trail is a 4.7 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
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
836 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.

12 days 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.

14 days 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
30 days ago

Awesome trail to run.

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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

to many people

hiking
1 month ago

to busy

1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Kind of rough, but really nice!

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 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
2 months ago

Always amazing

hiking
2 months ago

Great views of the valley!

3 months ago

nice uphill workout

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Parking lot with the most parking is at the Phoenix Mountain Visitor Center. Best (but limited) parking is at the parking lot located at Central Ave (south of Thunderbird Ave). The portion of the hike where you actually start climbing the mountain is a maintenance road for the towers on top of Shaw Butte. Wide enough for multiple people hikes but condition of road can be rough on the steeper part of the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a little rougher than expected. I'm used to hiking Javelina/Ridgeline/Beverley Canyon at South Mountain but decided to try this since I moved up north. As this was the first real beautiful weekend of the year, I was excited. I'll admit, I'm a bit out of shape. The first part (100) was good, easy, and enjoyable. The second part (306) kicked my butt! I got to the first checkpoint before I had to turn around. (Note: I was going clockwise). I think next time I'm going to try going counter clockwise as it sounds like it's a little longer but more gradual up hill. The views were great and I definitely plan to try again! (PS i love that it's a real parking lot and little visitors center. I didn't go to it but I thought it was cool)

6 months ago

The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department along with the Project Team would like to invite you to attend a project open house to learn about the North Mountain Access Road Improvement Project.
Where: North Mountain Visitor Center - 12950 N 7th Street
When: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Time: 6PM—7PM

hiking
7 months ago

I'm going to try this again when I'm more advanced. About 1.5 miles in I realized I wasn't going to make it. I ended up on the "100" trail with the yellow sign. It's not that the trail was too much but the sun was INTENSE. It was only to be a high of 97 but the temp was 106 when I got back to my car.

Overall it was very pretty and definitely not for the less hydrated crew.

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