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Union Hills Loop, AZ

no permit
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Guide 85 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.9 of 5 by 17
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,610 feet
Elevation Gain 770 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,530 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.45
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2016-09-21 RowdyandMe
6  2016-08-20 RowdyandMe
9  2016-03-02
Cactus Wren-Peak 2383
2  2016-03-01
Dixie Mountain Loop - Sonoran Preserve
22  2016-02-10 RowdyandMe
5  2016-01-05 RowdyandMe
3  2015-12-28 friendofThunderg
5  2015-02-22
Union Hills and loops
Page 1,  2,  3
Author MEWhiteman
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 91
Photos 790
Trips 351 map ( 2,703 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:32pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hilly Desert Loop
by MEWhiteman

Overview: The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve is a new city park being developed in north Phoenix near I-17 and north of Pinnacle Peak Road. This hike is the first developed trail in the park and was completed in the spring of 2010. There is more information about the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve plans at their website. Phoenix has been buying land from the Arizona Land Trust and private owners in pieces for a number of years to add to the preserve which will eventually cover a fairly large though not contiguous area. The plan as I understand it is to have multiple trails and trailheads, ramadas, bathrooms, etc. As of the moment, June 2010, there is just the one trailhead and one trail. The posted hours show sunrise to sunset.

This hike is in the Union Hills and is mostly hidden from the nearby developments. The terrain is hilly with typical plants for this area - paloverde, saguaro, cholla, creosote bush and brittlebush. It is best hiked in the late fall, winter and early spring. The mileage given includes both spurs to the hilltops; be sure to adjust your mileages if you skip one or both of them.

Hike: Begin at the trailhead at the north end of the parking by a sign announcing that this is the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve on the Hawk's Nest Trail. In .1 miles bear right through a wash. At .4 miles (N33 44.694 W112 05.580) you come to a junction with the Dixie Mountain Loop trail. You can go in either direction, but my description is in a counterclockwise direction so as to do the longest climb early in the hike. Turn right at this junction. At 1.3 miles (N33 45.131 W112 05.128) you reach a spur trail on the left to the top of the highest hill on this hike. It is .5 miles round trip and 235' elevation gain to the peak and back with numerous switchbacks. Turn left to climb the peak.

This peak has two USGS benchmark discs on it dated 1986 and marked "Dixie", which I assume is the official name of the mountain, thus the name of the trail. The 1981 Union Hills 7.5 min topo shows the elevation as 2,383'. There is a 360 degree view of the surrounding area from here including the area to be encompassed by the preserve and the various other hills and mountains in the Phoenix area. For those into geocaching there is a cache near the top as well which I found 3 years prior by bushwacking up the mountain. Return to the loop the way you came.

Upon returning to the Dixie Mountain Loop trail turn left and begin a downhill section of the loop. At 3.1 miles (N33 45.507 W112 05.589) there is a junction with a community access trail. At 3.5 miles (N33 45.203 W112 05.534) you reach the second spur which leads to the top of a hill overlooking a granite mine. Turn right to climb to this point. It is .7 miles round trip and 300' of elevation gain. I could not find a USGS disc on the peak, but the Union Hills topo shows an elevation of 2,146'. There is an obvious geocache on this summit. Return to the loop the way you came.

Upon returning to the loop trail turn right. You'll pass through a cholla forest and will hike along a wash before coming back out to a developed area. At 4.8 miles (N33 45.021 W112 05.970) there will be a junction with a community access trail. Keep left here. At 4.9 miles (N33 44.931 W112 05.968) there will be another junction with a community access trail which is basically straight ahead. Bear left and uphill here to stay on the loop. It is uphill from here to the junction at 5.4 miles with the trail leading back to the trailhead. Turn right at this junction to return to the trailhead and your car.

I've hiked this several times and find it enjoyable when the temperatures are moderate. In a year with a wet winter the wildflowers are abundant. I expect overtime more trails and connectors will be built in this preserve but for now this is it!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-06-09 MEWhiteman
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Union Hills Loop
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    What a beautiful day to get Rowdy back on the trails. It was pretty quiet as I did run into one small group of people that were on a guided hike.
    I did see more types of wildflowers today and I did see but did not get a picture of my first snake of the year. It was a fast moving Patchnose snake.
    And coming down the Hawk's Nest Trail a Great Horned Owl has move into the old nest.
    It was a really nice hike just what Rowdy needed.
    Union Hills Loop
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    My days out the west valley are over and I'm back to my old stompin' grounds in north Phoenix. Had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this loop. Nice wide trails, rolling hills with a couple of short, steep power hike climbs. Little chilly, windy and overcast but not bad conditions for running. Did the loop clockwise. Ran the whole loop except for power hiking up to the two peaks which have a spur trail coming off the main loop.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Saturday morning hike with Brittain and Dustin. Nice and cool when we started at 7:40, but started feeling warm quickly as the sun got higher and we were climbing. This one is always nice because of the areas between the hills where you can "forget" that you are so close to civilization. The Teddy Bear forest in the valley bottom is my favorite part. Hit both summits while we were out.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Well this wasn't the hike I had plan for this morning. When I got up my wife told me not to look out front, so I did. The tree in my front yard was laying on my car. So I spent the morning cutting it down.
    I hit the trail after lunch and it was nice and warm and humid. I did meet one guy on a bike going up as I was coming down. He must of had second thoughts because past by me and head back down.
    It was nice to see that preserve finally got some rain. Hopefully will seems some new life in the desert.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Exercise hike on Dixie Mtn Loop and Western Vista(WV) trail. There's now a flag at the summit at the end of the WV trail with rocks around the base with the names of military who lost their lives in the service of their country. I'm assuming this is the significance of the inscriptions on the rocks.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Did this as an exercise hike. First hike in the valley in a couple of months. The temps were fine this morning. Saw a desert tortise which others have seen on this trail. He was just hiking along the trail. A couple of tenths of a mile further I passed a rattler. By the time I heard and understood what I was hearing I had passed the snake on the trail. I had to look back to see him right on the side of the trail. Good thing I didn't stop in front of it. I had seen another snake along this same section of trail a couple of months ago. :scared:
    Union Hills Loop
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    I had a really good time on this hike. For an "in-town" location, I found this one to be definitely above average. What really did it for me was that a good portion of the hike sported views that had very few or no manmade features, and the scenery was pretty nice on top of that. The best parts were definitely on the eastern side of the loop, with the northern end dragging a bit and the western part being close to a neighborhood and the I-17. I would say that to get the most bang for your buck with lots of desert views and little neighborhood view BS or freeway car noise, do an out and back on the eastern part of the loop up to the "Dixie Mountain Summit" and back the way you came. I didn't even go to the "Western Vista" peak as it was closer to the 17 and Dixie Mountain was satisfying enough. I had great cool weather without awesome clouds, and being a weekday, I only saw a few other users out there. Great outing!
    Union Hills Loop
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    Used part of the Sonoran Loop, a portion of a new trail not yet officially open and an old dirt two-track to make a loop from Sonoran Desert Drive (previously Sonoran Blvd). 2nd half of hike was very flat but I wanted to see where the new trail went. I'll pick it up from a different point in a future hike to see where else it goes.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Did this hike this morning. Some great views of the snow covered mountains to the north and east. It always amazes me that it is so hot here during the summer but you can see snow nearby at times in the winter. The city has also begun cutting additional trails in this area. There is one going east from the loop which is currently barricaded by the city as being under construction but it looks like it goes a fair piece. Time to explore.
    Union Hills Loop
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    Thought I'd try out this area close to home.
    Took the Dog and saw Denny out on the trail

    It ended up being nicer than expected.
    Nice views from the top of both of the peaks.

    The only problem is that @Tortoise Hiker (Denny) was unusually quiet today. Not quite sure got into him. I actually ran into him two different times today. Both times....standoffish.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Desert Vista Trailhead
    From I-17 and Jomax Rd, take Jomax to it's east end. Turn left on North Valley Pkwy, right on Copperhead Trail, left on Melvern Trail, and right on Desert Vista Trail to go behind the neighborhood community center. Desert Vista dead ends at the trailhead parking lot. Studying a map before you go is recommended as the trailhead is somewhat hidden in the neighborhood.

    Address: 1901 W Desert Vista Trail, Phoenix

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 29.4 mi, 34 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 134 mi, 2 hours 4 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 122 mi, 1 hour 54 mins
    page created by MEWhiteman on Jun 09 2010 4:04 pm
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