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San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP, AZ

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Guide 112 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SE
3.2 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Multi-Loop 6.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,679 feet
Elevation Gain 150 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.15
Backpack No
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2019-05-20
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
18  2019-03-06 TheNaviG8R
5  2018-12-11 Daytripper
11  2018-12-08 Yoder
21  2018-09-09
San Tan Loop
7  2017-06-25
Malpais Trail - San Tan MRP
1  2017-01-21
San Tan Loop
3  2017-01-14 Craigbhikin
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author ferazamboni
author avatar Guides 7
Routes 0
Photos 216
Trips 41 map ( 212 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Boulder, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr, May → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:25pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
San Tan (Mountain Bike) Freeway
by ferazamboni

The San Tan Trail is the longest loop trail in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. The trail is mostly flat and wide with very little elevation gain. These features make it an attractive choice for visitors looking for an easy desert stroll, as well as mountain bikers looking to make some high speed tracks.

There are three ways to access the San Tan Trail. The first, and most direct, is from the park visitor center located at the end of Phillips Road. To access the visitors center trailheads you need to either pay per vehicle, or you can opt to bike/walk in from outside the park entrance and pay a smaller fee. From this access point the signed trailhead will take you clockwise through the loop. You may also opt to take the Littleleaf or Goldmine trails from the visitor center trailhead if you prefer to do the loop in a counter clockwise fashion. The second access point is from the Goldmine trailhead located o Skyline Drive just west of Wagon Wheel Road. Taking this route will require you to hike the Goldmine trail south until it's junction with the San Tan trail after 1.5 miles. The third access point is from the Rock Peak Wash trailhead located off Brenner Pass Road near the southeast end of the park. Access from this trailhead requires a 0.8 mile hike along the Rock Peak Wash trail until its junction with the San Tan trail. This trail description will be for the clockwise route starting at the visitor center.

From the visitor center trailhead the San Tan trail heads south along a very wide and flat trail. Along this section, and most other sections of this trail, be on the lookout for mountain bikers and horses. Bikers tend to ride fast on the flat and wide sections of this trail. The trail etiquette is for bikers to yield to hikers, and hikers to yield to horses. After 0.6 mile you reach the junction with the Stargazer trail. Continuing south on the San Tan trail another 0.3 mile you reach the junction with the Hedgehog trail. Both the Stargazer and Hedgehog trails provide loop options that connect back with the western portion of the San Tan trail. The San Tan trail continues south another 1.4 miles to a junction with the Rock Peak Wash trail near the base of Rock Peak, a prominent set of buttes that jet up 500 feet from the desert floor. This section of the trail crosses through a sandy wash that will slow you down considerably unless you stick to the sides of the trail.

From the junction with the Rock Peak trail, continue west on the San Tan trail. After 0.6 mile you reach a junction with the Malpais trail. From here there are nice views of the mountains in the more remote southwest area of the park. If time (and energy) permits, the Malpais trail (4.2 miles) can be used to explore this area more closely and will connect back with the San Tan trail further north.

From the Malpais junction the San Tan trail continues north 0.7 mile to another junction with the west end of the Hedgehog trail. From this junction head west 0.2 mile to the junction with the north end of the Malpais trail, and then continue north 1.1 mile until a junction with the Moonlight trail. This is one of the more enjoyable sections of the San Tan trail mainly because its location in the park feels remote and the trail becomes more narrow. As a result you will encounter fewer bikers and horseback riders in this area as those visitors tend to opt for shorter loops that stick to the wide trails.

From the junction with the Moonlight trail, continue north along the San Tan trail for 1.5 mile until the next junction with the Goldmine trail. Along this section you will enjoy nice views of a large mountain range located just outside the park boundary in the Gila River Indian reservation. The final section of the San Tan trail follows the Goldmine trail and/or Littleleaf trail back to the visitor center trailhead.

The park visitors center has a nice memorial of the Arizona residents who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also a Desert Tortoise Habitat that provides an up close look at how these animals live and what they eat. The visitor center shop has a few items for sales as well.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-03-16 ferazamboni
  • 2014 map 2014 overview map
    area related
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 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Not the best trail for hiking when it’s this hot as very little shade. Started up goldmine trail from dynamite trail head as usual , an early start means hiking up the steep part with goldmine mountain blocking the sun. From the top good views of the Superstitions,air quality seemed worse at the end of the hike,Continuing on to the San tan trail near the headquarters and after that saw only one other hiker until near dynamite trail.Cut off a portion of the San tan by taking the hedgehog trail ,from the trail saddle good views of the San Tans ,can make out the Catalina’s in the haze. Lots of bees swarming around the blooming ironwoods but no problem for me,took a side trip and break to look around the prospect or mine area,not sure which it is as I did not go in, signs indicate the dig is closed. Always presumed it was the work of the “hermit miners” but not sure about that, should have visited their graves again which would have put me over 10 miles today.About 91 degrees at the finish, surprisingly 3 solo hikers just starting out at that time.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Nice day to get out, opted for a hike that only needs a light pack , water and snacks,due to annoying back problem when wearing the the heavier pack for more than 5 miles. Except for the steep portion of the goldmine trail this route is well suited for bikers and runners. Started at the dynamite trailhead ,took goldmine trail for the initial warm up, then San tan trail past the San tan trail head and around to the dynamite trail to finish up with the gentle downhill it provides back to the parking lot Fairly busy for a weekday I suppose due to the great weather, half dozen bikes and 1 horse with rider,plus about a dozen hikers and runners encountered.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Hiked from Dynamite trail head with Brittie and Jesse , hiked clockwise goldmine trail,San tan trail ,hedgehog trail,back to San tan and finishing on dynamite trail, Visited the hermit’s graves, the memorial at the park office which was being power washed by volunteers,the park office. Snacks were shared with a horse and water with fellow hikers. Temperatures were mild to warm with an intermittent breeze some clouds moved in the afternoon.Busy day on the trails, bikers go by dogs and kids too fast. Another nice hike on vegetation free trails.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Looking to do a change of pace from the more rugged superstition trails today. The county parks ,San Tan and Usury Mountain both provide easy to navigate vegetation free trails and deserve to be supported,if you go frequently consider an annual pass or a book of tickets. Accessed San Tan trail from the Goldmine trail and trail head, after the San Tan loop returned via Dynamite trail. The more remote southern section of the San Tan has distant views of Picacho Peak and the Catalinas and the Gila Indian reservation. Be prepared to have bikers come up on you on this trail, saw about 20 other hikers and half as many bikers on this mild and windy day.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Started a loop hike from Goldmine TH ,tried to beat the spring breakers and heat but still only a 0900 start. Lucky day ! Free parking at the trailhead as the container for the self pay envelopes was removed? Easy loop to keep a good pace, one rattlesnake off the San Tan trail, a few bikes, 1 horse and a number of hikers. Some lupine and poppies but not as plentiful as Usery Mountain Park.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Had time for a morning hike so kept it real close to reduce the drive time and allow more time outside. Actually saw more hikers and runners than bikers which was a pleasant surprise. With this hike I believe we have traveled all the trails in the park with the exception of .2 miles on the San Tan trail between the Hedgehog and Malpais Trails, which was an oversight on my part.
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Dynamite Goldmine SanTan Loop
Things to do complicated my day. This was a suitable solution to put a few miles under my feet and test out my new AARPeepers. Gonna take some getting used to. Somebody is using the photoshop sharpen filter a little too much. :lol:

Surprisingly few flowers. The ocotillo are all leafed up and should be very nice in a few weeks when they bloom. Saw a nice dback that obviously hadn't had his coffee yet. Something about being awake in February I think. :doh:
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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SanTan Moon Star Malpais Loop
I've never hiked in the park before and opted for the Rock Peak TH to avoid any crowds on this perfect day. Success! 3 cars! :y:

The Rock Peak and Malpais trails seem to be afterthoughts and generally follow sandy washes that are not pleasant. The other trails are the exact opposite. Perfect for trail running, mountain biking, or putting! I think they rake them daily!

Tons of saguaro down here and great views all around. Malpais is a scenic trail. This park would be 10x better if they built some trails that ascend some of the peaks. As it is they seem to try to avoid elevation gain whenever possible.

For some reason I put effort into getting back to watch some sportsing thing on TV. Reconsidering that decision now. ](*,)
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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This was a great trip and worth the admission. They keep people really honest with their fees here!

The Goldmine trail started very difficult. It is steep at the beginning! There's an offshoot to get to a peak that I used. While it was level for a bit, it quickly dipped down over the East face. I mistakenly tried to run it and ended up rolling an ankle. Knowing I had 8 more miles I took it fairly easy from there.

The trail after descending was really nice but decidedly more crowded as it weaved to the alternate parking lot. After that, I started the San Tan trail and took it to Hedgehog. I couldn't stop thinking about Ron Jeremy because of the name of this trail, haha. I really liked this trail, easily my favorite of the day and it would be stellar on a bike.

Next was the San Tan trail again which I also liked, good curves and up/down to it. The trail was never very rocky. Finally came the Dynamite trail which gave very good views and which is where I saw the traffic picking up again. I really liked this set of trails for its variety!
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
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Morning hike with my brother and nephew.
My brother picked the route that we took clockwise starting up the Goldmine trail, then across the San Tan trail, and finishing the loop with the Dynamite trail.
Cool trails, nice views from the top and with many very friendly others sharing the park along the way.
I rarely get to hike with family so this one was a solid -
:y: :D

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
For visitor center trailhead: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Hunt Highway. Travel east on Hunt Highway to Thompson Road south. Turn west on Phillips Road to the San Tan Mountain Regional Park entrance.

For Goldmine trailhead: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Empire Blvd. Travel west on Empire Blvd to Wagon Wheel Road. Take Wagon Wheel Road South to Skyline, and then west on Skyline to trailhead.

For Rock Peak Wash trailhead: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Hunt Highway. Travel east on Hunt Highway to Thompson Road south. Continue south about as the road becomes Brenner Pass Rd to the trailhead.
page created by ferazamboni on Mar 15 2010 10:22 pm
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