Here it is, South Mountain's "Telegraph Pass" trail. A highly requested trail since HikeArizona.COM started years ago. My first trip was exactly as expected and then some.
The trailhead has 38 parking slots. (Said to be about double as of late 2009) A water fountain and self filling dog fountain come in handy.(Declared out of order or gone as of 2010) As with most South Mountain trailheads pooch poo bags are available at the trailhead.(Noted empty in 2010) Check out the trailhead map. I was disappointed as the map doesn't give easy to read mileage figures. Maybe no big deal, but in this dense neighborhood I vision folks getting in over their heads.
The military telegraph line from Maricopa Wells to Phoenix ran through this pass in what used to be called the Salt River Mountains.
The trail begins as a wheelchair accessible paved path. With a skip trowel texture and a desert hue finish it's not that bad. This paved path takes you around the neighborhood. It ends at a junction with Telegraph Pass and the Desert Classic. Take the obvious left fork and head on up the single track trail. Up to now the trail was easy strolling. Here on there's a steady ascent up to the pass. A deep ravine falls away to your left for some good steps.
A bench is located alongside Telegraph Pass Road at the top. Turn around and head back down. Several other options are possible. You can cross the road and pick up the Kiwanis Trail descending the north side of South Mountain. Keep in mind you must come back up. The National Trail takes off east and west from the road. A long trek east would take you to Hidden Valley
. A short trek east takes you around the cluster of TV antennas. West on the National there is a spur trail. This takes you to a better overlook with great views south.
Here's a few observations of the trail. Desert vegetation was better than expected. A late afternoon hike added shade on sections of the trail. I must add a comment about the company. Numerous hikers offered a smiling hello. I don't think I've ever considered a trail good due to fellow hikers. I'd rate the trail a good option for Awatukee residents looking for a medium-easy trail.