Overview: The Bolt Trail, named after hiker Joel Bolt, provides a way for the hiker to get to the ridgeline of Casa Grande Mountain while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the Radio Tower Trail.
Warning: There is no water along this route. Bring all you need and more. The Bolt Trail is not heavily traveled, so be aware someone may not be right along to help if something goes wrong. There are sharp rocks, cacti, and snakes. Take care.
History: The history of the trail is slighly murky. It is named after hiker/outdoor enthusiast Joel Bolt. This much is evidenced by the memorial at the base of the Bolt Trail. What is unclear is if Bolt built the trail, pioneered the route, or people just named it after him after he was gone.
Hike: The hike starts at the Hanna Road trailhead and follows the Radio Tower trail for about a quarter of a mile as it slowly climbs towards the ridge. Just past the second wash that the road crosses, look for a small wooden cross on the right hand side. The cross has the words "Bolt Trail" in black on it. This marks the beginning of the Bolt Trail. Unlike the Radio Tower trail, this route is hardly used so you will be able to get away from the fitness crowd if you so desire. Another thing to note is that, save for the first climb to the ridge, the ascent to the main ridgeline is not as steep.
The downsides have to do with ease of finding the trail and trail maintenance. The trail is not easy to find in places, as erosion and other natural processes have started reclaiming portions of it. In addition, the trail is only marked with arrows painted on the rocks pointing in one direction - up. If you wish to descend the Bolt Trail, it is recommended to ascend it first, to familiarize yourself with its general location.
That being said, getting off the trail is not a big deal. If you do find yourself off-trail, just head along the ridgeline and you will encounter it again soon enough. Keep an eye out for the gray chevrons/arrows pointing the way. There are a few low ledges to traverse when you climb up to the ridgeline south of Hanna Road, and again just below reaching the main ridgeline, but these are not serious obstacles and are never over three feet tall. All along the Bolt Ridgeline there are stands of cholla that the trail throughfully winds its way through. Despite the additional hazard of cholla, this gives the Bolt Trail more of a hiking feel, and less of a "I am walking up a mountain on a road for my health" feeling that you might get on the Radio Tower Trail.
Once you reach the Casa Grande Mountain Ridgeline, you can return the way you came, form a loop by heading down the Radio Tower Trail, visit the summit of Casa Grande 2, follow the ridgeline down to Peak 2350, or some combination of the above. A round trip, including the summit of Casa Grande 2, is roughly equivalent in mileage to the Radio Tower Trail round trip, so this is a nice way to get good views while avoiding the crowd while doing the same amount of work (roughly).
To hike From I-10 and Florence Blvd., take Florence west to Trekkel Road. Turn left on Trekkel and follow it south out of town. After crossing I-8, turn left onto Hanna Road. The trailhead is obvious on the left, where the pavement turns to dirt.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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