Since I'd never been down there, it was about time that I tried something in South Mountain.
Armed with a suggested route from someone very familiar with South Mountain (Thanks), I started at the at 24th St and Euclid, Mormon TH. It was a nice little climb to get to the first rise, and I was surprised at the quantity of hikers and Chuckwalla's I saw on this section.
From here I took a quick spin on the National trail to the Hidden Valley trail. The Hidden Valley trail is real unique, going through "The Tunnel" which is a natural tunnel that is about 40' long and nice and cool inside. From here you continue on with a nice looking area with large smooth boulders to scramble over on your way to "Fat Man's Pass".
Once out of Fat Man's Pass, I scrambled SW up to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail. I decided I needed to check out the east side, so I moseyed on down to the end for some great views of the Valley! This Guadalupe Ridge Trail (Which, is evidently not an official Trail, but I think should be part of the "South Mountain Trail GPS Collection") is a must when up there. It's a nice mix of some mild bolder scrambling and great views. My original plan was to go down the south side (and back up) on the Corona de Loma trails. Instead, I followed the Guadalupe Ridgeline trail, west to the end, and then down to the National Trail to the Buena Vista TH. From here it was down the Geronimo trail to the TH around 20st and Dobbins with a short street walk back to where I started.
This portion of my trip was 8.2 miles, 4hrs and 1702 AEG out of TOPO.
I wasn't ready to quit yet and wanted to see what the park was about, so I drove over to the Park Entrance on Central Ave. Everyone has to make this drive at least once, as it was quite scenic, twisting and turning on the way up to the Dobbins Lookout parking area. I did a mile on the Holbert Trail to see what it looked like down there and returned to the top.
From here I drove over to the Buena Vista TH and jumped on the National Trail going eastbound. I caught a glimpse of a snake that crossed the path and nestled tightly in some rocks next to the trail. I was on a mission to go back and check out the area around "The Tunnel" and play on the rocks. When I came through this area earlier in the day it was pretty crowded, but now, at 6pm, I had the area to myself to explore. I even spotted some glyphs' that I had missed the first time through.
From here I hustled back, because they now close the gates at 7pm to save all sorts of money for the city.
This portion of my trip was 4.3 miles, 1:38 hrs and 258' AEG out of TOPO.
I'll be back to check out some of the other offerings in the park.