Around we go!
Overview: Shantz Trail runs all the way from Wildhorse Trailhead to Cactus Forest Loop Drive. Along the way it passes the Wentworth Access and Cactus Forest Trailhead. Since it stretches across a large portion of Saguaro NP and intersects with multiple paths, it is one of the best trails to use when forming your own loop.
Hike: From Wildhorse Trail, head west on Shantz Trail as it climbs a small hill and begins to descend a series of stone steps. Very soon the trail will drop into a flat area and pass a signed intersection with the Bajada Wash Trail on your left.
Past Bajada Wash, the trail will begin to curve more to the southwest and climb a small hill before intersecting with Kennedy Trail on the left. As you move past Kennedy Trail, Shantz will begin to curve to the northwest and work its way up a small hill. Soon the trial will obtain the top of a small ridge that parallels Speedway Blvd for a short distance. The trail will now begin to curve southwest, away from the road as it works its way to the intersection with Monument Wash.
Crossing Monument Wash, Shantz Trail will begin to enter one of the only shaded portions you will encounter. Here Mesquite and Palo Verde trees for a thick canopy that shelters the trail from sun for most of the day. You will soon arrive at a marked intersection with Loma Verde Trail. Enjoy the last of your shade, as you continue east from this junction the trail will soon leave the trees. Yet despite the lack of shade, the area that approaches Loma Verde Wash is grassy and often green, even during the driest summer months.
Past Loma Verde Wash, the trail is relatively flat and crosses through a rather open section of desert. As you approach Wentworth Rd, you will be able to see houses ahead of you through the desert and the trail will take a sharp turn south. Shantz Trail will parallel Wentworth Rd for a short ways, and then curve southeast to a marked intersection with Vanover Trail.
Past Vanover Trail, you will once again curve southeast and pass a marked intersection announcing your arrival at the Wentworth Access Point. Shantz Trail will continue south past this and you will have occasional views to your east of the Tucson BLM office.
At 2.9 miles you will arrive at the intersection with the Pink Hill Trail. Past Pink Hill, Shantz will turn east as it approaches the Broadway Trailhead. In rapid succession you will pass the Cactus Forest Trail and Mica View Trails on your left as Shantz continues west past the Broadway Trailhead.
This final segment of Shantz Trail will turn south as it heads towards Cactus Forest Drive. This 1.4 mile stretch is the longest uninterrupted segment of Shantz Trail. As you approach mile 4.5, Mica View Rd will become visible on your left as Shantz gradually curves east to parallel the road. The trail will terminate at a relatively unremarkable section of Cactus Forest Loop Drive. You can either return the way you came, or walk a couple of feet east along Cactus Forest Drive and turn left onto the unpaved road that leads to the Mica View Picnic Area and other trails.
Cumulative Mileage from Wildhorse Trail:
Bajada Wash 0.2
Kennedy Trail 0.4
Monument Wash 1
Loma Verde Trail 1.1
Loma Verde Wash 1.6
Vanover Trail 2.4
Pink Hill Trail 2.9
Cactus Forest Trail 3.3
Mica View Trail 3.4
Cactus Forest Drive 4.7
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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