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Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300, AZ

no permit
1.1k 5.2k 11
Guide 5,232 Triplogs Laps 11 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix Central
3.1 of 5 by 160
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Popular Workout
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,400 feet
Elevation Gain 1,180 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,180 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.1
Interest Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
Fastest Split Dave1
2011-05-0332m 3s
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-07-27
Tramway - Maxwell - Willow - Pie
6  2019-06-23 Naferg323
9  2019-06-15 DarthStiller
5  2019-06-10 joebartels
5  2019-05-11 cw50must
10  2019-04-25 joebartels
8  2019-03-09
Piestewa & SoMo Loop
1  2019-02-18 survivordude
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 22
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,257 map ( 21,432 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:13am - 6:32pm
Official Route
28 Alternative
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Iron Schist
by joebartels

Love or hate it, you have to admit, it's convenient! The large parking lots bring large crowds. Regardless, this is a great hike. If crowds get you down try the Circumference Trail. (claimed one of the best wildflower shows in Arizona).

Okay so your heart is set on the summit. This is an old horse trail. Some of the railings are still in place up near the mile mark. The trail was mainly used for means to travel to an old mine[1]. You can forget exploring that area as it is off limits. So stay on the trail and keep out of trouble! Plenty of restrooms are available in the parking areas. It's great to wash your face off after a hike in the summer heat.

The trail starts out with a few switchbacks. A wide trail handles the crowds fairly well. At times it gets extremely crowed. Then there are times you luck out and a beautiful day will go by with only a few visitors. Conversations of how Piestewa compares to Camelback is often heard in passing. Camelback while statistically more challenging is smoother. An extra 100 feet of elevation, two steep handrail sections and a few stretches through boulder fields gives it the "tougher" nod. The footing on Piestewa is typically more jagged yet generally no steeper than a staircase.

Several benches along the way provide comfort. Passing the 0.25 mile marker you are in the midst of switchbacks. Between the 0.45 and the 0.6 mile marks the trail flattens out. The Circumference Trail spurs off to the left and then down away at the half way point 0.6 miles. Continue on up the next series of switchbacks that start immediately after the 0.6 mile marker. The second section of flattened trail opens up after passing the 0.75 mile marker. Enjoy the stroll and relax as the nasty sections are yet to come. The trail goes in and out of the contours with minor elevation gain for a short distance. Welcome to never ending switchbacks. It's something like thirteen in a row. The first being the least forgiving as it is steep and the footing is rather loose. After that it's not too bad footing wise. The third takes you up to a popular bench. After the fourth switchback comes the largest step with exception near the summit. ( now gone, this trail receives a lot of volunteer maintenance ) On Camelback these are the kind of long legged steps you battle over and over again. More steep slopes are encountered passing the one mile mark. Though it's nothing to worry about as the steps are small and close together. Just like a staircase.

Okay it's on to the summit. Believe it or not, only a small percentage of the crowd makes it up to the official summit. Most are satisfied with the larger area just a few yards shy of the peak. It's fun to look around and see the city from a birds eye view. Personally I prefer the shear drop off from Camelbacks summit which adds a real sense of elevation! Piestewa Peak is a nice alternative when you can't get into the Camelback parking lot!

This is a preserve. Taking home rocks or even moving them is prohibited. Leave the wildflowers in place. Only park in designated areas. Do not cut switchbacks. Over the years I have seen rangers hand out tickets for all of the above. An illegal parking ticket really puts a damper on the ride home. I myself have been tempted to follow an old obviously blocked trail that cuts up the dreaded switchbacks. Forget it, it's stupid and just isn't worth it period.

Over the years I have met many rangers on the trail. They are friendly, helpful and do a great job.

[1] 2014 - 17 years later I'm not sure on my source. Met a man named John that farmed in the area back in the 60's. He said the city paid them 5k to construct the trail to the top in 1965. I asked if it was originally a mining trail that ended near the horse rails and he said no. I asked if it was built for recreation and he said yes. Also stated that burros were used rather than horses to build the trail. People did take horses up often back in the day.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

1997-03-01 joebartels
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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.

Most recent of 365 deeper Triplog Reviews
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Entrance monument finished with the million dollar Napolitano term while several if not dozens of other similar named places remain without one iota of protest.

Unexpectedly cooler in the first two switchbacks. Technically the Phoenix Inner Basin, just unreal with 105ish expected later in the day. Didn't have a thermometer. Yet several agreed that by the quarter pole it was several degrees warmer.

Learned the big black bees this time of year are Carpenter bees. Knew stinging was never an issue but assumed they were bumble bees. Like I know what any of that means. Looked up Carpenter bees. Stings are unlikely except by females when provoked, such as poking your fingers into their burrows.

Everyone is lively on Friday mornings. The cooler weather helps too. Hellos and switchback babble was kicking hard.

5 to 10 Park stewards and rangers have been working on the first switchback. Maybe 25 feet of trail for weeks in a row on Friday mornings. Still not complete. Just interesting. Year ago, I heard on the rumor mill a select few aim to rework the entire trail. Getting rid of the concrete... the unnatural stuff that's worked for decades. At the current rate of progress it would take decades. By the time they got a quarter mile up the new tread would fall apart. Okay... rant off**.

If you miss the full moon ta'night* mark Aug 13 2049 on your calendar for your next chance to bark at the full moon on Friday the 13th. Fear not fellow goblins, enjoy thirty HAZoweens until it swings around again.
* this version corrects my lack of research and trust in radio
** removed a mean spirited jab
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Auxiliary lot opened after I started. When I left it was only half open, guess they missed something. Gates were being installed on the summit lot and the standard Friday morning volunteer+ranger crew worked on laying the tread for the initial switchback. Did not appear the tread would be finished today.

Laura was on her third lap when I quit after two. Apparently three months rest has merit... yeah whatever!
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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6:05 am
Yogafest in the pines! Well, minus the pines.

Break after Lap 2
Found some raisins that have been in the armrest of my truck for 18 months. Hit the spot!

11:08 am Lap 4
Noticeably less crowded.

Arrived this morning with intentions to hit five laps to close out August. Nothing new...
Aug 18 2012 - 5 laps
Aug 21 2016 - 6 laps
Steady quick made those work. My newfound aggressive crawl pace now doesn't cut it. No clue what a magic carpet ride was like in the 60s. Guessing similar to cresting lap four today. Learned a few new cramp dance moves at the grocery store post hike!
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Took two plums on last Saturday's hike. Found out they weren't anywhere near ripe. You know, similar to chewing battery acid. Realized a nice thing about being a cyborg. Without feeling or taste buds on my right I can wolf down cringe worthy fruit. Now ripe, I enjoyed the second one this morning.

Day later, they're still working on the water fountain. Love the rainy nights could do without the mornings that follow. One of the older gents I say hello to often apparently helps on AZT trail and fence work.

Smacked shin. Impromptu tourniquet kept the pain, swelling and blood loss to a minimum. Took my mind off being the worst sauna day in sonoran history!

Just rained 10 hours ago. The Ocotillo are leafing out. Impossible. Someone must be watering 'em.

Tried Lemon Reign pre hike. Guessing it's similar to crack, could have chugged a gallon.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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They are paving the axillary lot today and hooking up the water fountain at the summit lot. Doubting this place is opening in 2 days. Then again there's at least 4 dozen workers today. If they open the summit lot and put back no parking along the entrance it'll be a In theory that was going to be paved too. Not believing it since they covered the no parking signs vs taking them down. Then again this is just Phase I.

"130 LED" light post have been installed. Apparently brighter than the sun as there are only a few.

Grateful the sweat faucet has been turned down a notch.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Decided I would join Joe's page and pay a visit to Piestewa. Met a co-worker and joined the masses around 5:30am. Surprised. I thought getting there before sunrise would beat the crowds. Wrong. Parking areas are still in disarray but it is coming along. Friend wasn't a hiker but we made decent time getting to the top. Humid, with no breeze, but the temps weren't too bad. Nice short hike, good conversations. Dodged a few of the Jurassic park bumblebees. Saw one mouse.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Passed three mice and ten minutes before it started to ever so gently light up. Then it happened, the earth rotated and sunrise kicked off another beautiful day.

After such a cool morning yesterday I tried crack o dawn. Nice but not as cool/dry as yesterday.

Apparently the construction crew is full swing pre dawn to beat the heat. Small army compared to a couple dozen mid morning. Leaving they were snapping chalk lines to paint parking slots.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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6:07 am
It won't last but damn it's cool outside. Wednesday is forecasted to blow away the record by 4 to 5 degrees. Right now I'm worried about cold winter mornings on the horizon!

Jurassic Park Bumblebees are out. Intimidating with a bee the size of a cow flying with a stinger coming at you
and circling for minutes.

After 13 months they paved the summit lot this morning.

Sweaty after the first half lap. Still must be drier out as both descents were fab. Looks like Linda confirmed it's still hot so probably just because I got out early.

I was looking forward to hitting 600 consecutive days on Friday. Just checked. Missed it. Gee bummer. 616 was today.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Hiked Piestewa Peak with my wife as a training hike for our upcoming expeditions in China.

We made pretty good time despite not having hiked in over a month. The hike was very beneficial for our conditioning (it is hard to exercise all the muscle groups used on the trail in a gym).

The trailhead construction was still going on but they had one of the new overflow parking lots open and available for use. Facilities at the trailhead were not yet open and we had to detour around the fenced construction site to get to the trail.
The trail was busy as usual but not overly so. The combination of construction and hot weather is probably deterring some of the otherwise regular users.

nothing significant
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300
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Very hot (so far this year) 4 PM hike which was fine, but it got me thinking, "when are the cicadas going to start singing?". It was dead silence as far was wildlife for most of the hike, and no insects at all afterward and near my car at 5 PM. Must still be early. No birds, but it is getting late in the desert and it was hot!

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Between 16th and 24th Streets on Lincoln Drive go North on Piestewa Peak Park. Follow Piestewa Peak Park through the neighborhood into the park.
3 pack - loud whistle
go prepared
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