Famous Colossal Cliffs!
A telegraph line ran from San Diego to Maricopa Wells. In 1873 General George Cook insisted the US Army extend the line north through the center of what used to be called the Salt River Mountains to Prescott.
The trail begins as a paved wheelchair accessible path that takes you around the neighborhood. With a skip trowel texture and a desert hue finish it blends well with the environment.
0.45 mi - The paved path ends at a junction with the Desert Classic Trail. Take the 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. It gets a little steeper near the pass, not much.
0.75 mi - A signed petroglyph site is on your left.
1.15 mi - A bench is located alongside Telegraph Pass / Summit Road at the top. Most turn around and head back down.
From the saddle you can see a rock house to your left or WSW. It was built of granite rubble by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) ~1933-37. The project was terminated before it and others could be completed. The intended purpose is a weather shelter for recreationalist.
3.2 mi / 790 aeg Rock House Route
South Mountain's peak was a popular destination until the early 50's. Advertised as Colossal Cliffs with a sheer 1,000 drop and a quarter mile perch. Smoke from Superior's smelters was visible in the far distance. In 1953, the Parks, Playgrounds and Recreation Board authorized erection of television transmitters on Mount Suppoa. Other towers graced the summit dating back to 1933 when San Diego El Paso Airway leased a hundred square plot for a whopping $1 per year. The summit was also home to the famed goat herd. They remained in smaller groups scattered throughout the park after transmitters took over. Nowadays the north and west facing cliffs are off limits. You can drive to Gila Valley Lookout these days and stand over the south facing cliffs. Legal hikers need to cover a mile of road to access the popular hang glider launch / lookout area. The 1k drop is to the tapered desert floor. Despite our forefathers exaggeration Mount Suppoa does sport some nice cliffs.
8.2 mi / 1450 aeg Mt Suppoa via Telegraph
4.65 mi / 985 aeg Kiwanis Over-n-Back
5.75 mi / 1330 aeg Goat Hill
8.1 mi / 1830 aeg Goat Hill + Kiwanis
9.4 mi / 1670 aeg Telegraph Corona Loop
16.4 mi / 4180 aeg Alta Loop
Saguaros are the most notable desert vegetation. For comparison, Kiwanis on the flip side is has more shade options for breaks. A late afternoon hike does add shade on sections of Telegraph. In the year 2000 I noted numerous hikers smiling and offering a hello. 15 years later... deja vu. This is a good option for Ahwatukee residents looking for a medium trail.
38 parking slots roughly doubled late 2009 when expanded. 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) Trailhead map, disappointingly doesn't offer easy to read mileage figures.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.