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Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP, AZ

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Guide 46 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SW
2.9 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,099 feet
Elevation Gain 170 feet
Accumulated Gain 409 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 7.36
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-06-22
Crossover Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
10  2019-01-13
Homestead Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
9  2018-10-21
Desert Rose Trail
13  2018-04-01
Gadsden Trail-Toothaker Trail Loop
9  2018-02-25
Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop
59  2017-12-28
MT - Guadalupe to Trilby
8  2017-12-17 DarthStiller
8  2017-07-09
Toothaker Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov
Sun  6:17am - 6:26pm
Official Route
11 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: Trail is located in the Estrella Mountain Regional Park and involves a 1 mile hike into the park to reach the trail head. Trail is comprised of hiking low lying hills and a significant wash towards the backend of the trail. Trail is marked, well established and mapped by the Estrella Mountain Park.

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  • Estrella Baseline 2013 Map
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    Estrella Baseline 2013 Map
  • Estrella 2016 Trail Map
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    Estrella 2016 Trail Map
  • Estrella 2016 Park Overview Map
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    Estrella 2016 Park Overview Map

One-Way Notice
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.

Most recent of 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Got a late start today so I needed something close to home. Headed out to the Estrella's and did a loop involving the Gadsden. It has been a year since I had done this loop and I had forgotten that they had done a signicant face lift to the eastern portion, so it was nice to revisit it. Started off from the Coldwater TH and went clockwise taking the Coldwater to Butterfield and then Quiclky on to the Gadsden. It was obvious that they had just been out there on their tractor, grading portions of the trail. I have mixed feelings on this. The trails are nice to run, but the trails lose some of their personality. Enjoyed revisiting the new portions of the Gadsden, though oddly enough I do miss the wash. The sand was never fun to jog in, but the wash had...personality. Jogged by that new trail that was created last year. Nobody from HAZ has mentioned it yet (that I've seen). I'm not sure if that means it is that uninteresting or nobody gotten out there yet. I guess I'll have to find out for myself. Took the Gadsden out to the Pedersen. The last stretch of the Gadsden is not much fun. Sandy and flat. No vultures to keep me company this time either. Took the Pedersen into the Toothacher. Felt myself fading so I had my head down for most of this, which is a shame, since this is one of the nicer section of this loop (but that might not be saying much). There is a system of trails to the west that interacts a little bit with these hills. (The system of trails are accessed primarily from the Estrella Mountain Ranch Community; though they can also be accessed by the Crossover Trail, that junctures with the Pedersen). I didn't see anyone up there today...though my head was down. Took the Toothacher into the Butterfield junction and the Butterfield over to the car. Faded a about a mile out, so ended up walking the last section. (Sadness). Nice jog. Weather was great. I would have liked to have been able to finish the run...just shows that I need to get out more frequently. Trails were moderately busy today. Saw 6 hikers, 2 bikers, and 2 equestrian. No wildlife.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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I went out and putzed around at Estrella before the rain. I was actually planning to get rained on which is always fun but as I was getting to the end, I hurried back to the truck since I had not got wet yet. Within 30 seconds of getting in the truck, it started to come down hard. Beautiful day.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Great day for an early morning jog. Got out there just before 5am and the the temps never got above the mid 80's while I was out there. Did this trail as a loop from the Toothacher Trailhead going in the counterclockwise direction. Took the Toothacher out to the Pederson and the Pederson out to where the Gadsden started. Not a huge fan of this western part of the Gadsden, as it takes off from the Pederson and heads east is is fairly sandy, straight and exposed. About a mile in on this sandy straightaway though is a community of turkey vultures that has been there for three years now. Not the prettiest of birds, but awesome in their size. I've seen up to 60 at one time, but only saw about 20 today. The Gadsden is nice, in that it intersects all three of the north-south trails (Toothacher, Coldwater, and Butterfield) allowing you to choose the length of your loop. Each time I passed one of the aforementioned trails I was tempted to take one and start my jog back to the car. It's been awhile since I've done a run over 10 miles and wasn't sure how well I would handle this length. I'm glad I pushed on because the park service has given a major face lift to the eastern portion of the Gadsden Trail, (basically everything east of the Butterfield Trail). In the past, as you headed east from the Butterfield intersection, most of your time was spent in the wash. There would be brief stints where you would pop out only to descend quickly back into the wash. No longer! After the Butterfield Trail there is one brief stretch where you are hiking in the wash, but other than that you are now hiking on a new 5ft wide trail that lies primarily on the south and east side of the wash. This new trail actually winds a little way to the east - so it doesn't actually hug the edge of the wash - before coming back to the wash to enter it and cross to the other side. Kind of exciting (for me - I love new trails), they have a newly blazed trail heading off to the east from the Gadsden that I'm sure will connect to the competitive trails near PIR. They had a post for a sign, but this new trail had not been named yet. COOL! After the trail crosses over to the west of the wash it pretty much follows the same track that the old Gadsden Trail used, though it has been redone and is now a 5ft wide road. The wash crossings are the only major change from the old track. They are more gradual and elongated. This facelift has added about .5 miles to the Gadsden. It is definitely easier to run and bike on, but they have taken some of the more scenic parts out of the trail. As a side note they have also given the Butterfield Trail a facelift as well. It too, is now a 5ft wide trail and now goes around some hills rather then over them. A. Little sore after the run but felt good about logging the miles and being able to complete it.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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This was a tale of four trails. The day started out overcast, drizzled, and then the sun broke out to complete what felt like a crisp spring day. Yup, and that's an accurate metaphor for the day's work. To break it up (all mtb):

Rainbow Valley: Doubletrack, but gradual rocky inclines. Nice lines along the ridge on the south side of the Estrellas in the mid-section. Trail maintenance declined throughout. A surprisingly exhausting ride, although I like to think endeavoring this journey after a face full of Indian buffet didn't help either;). (I thought this was going to be the most difficult of the legs too.)

Toothache: For only 1.4m, this seemed a while. Likely because it was majority climb with loose rock - this was both a toothache and headache, and ended up disembarking several times over some rough climbs.

Gadsden: If I could turn back time today, I'd use my power to hang a right onto Butterfield and forego this detour. This was terrible on two wheels - a several mile march through sand deposits in a deep wash, then followed by a series of climbs and falls in and out of said washes. Biking through quicksand - not what I was expecting, nor hoped for. Updated trail description would be big plus to save others the same frustration.

Butterfield: Nice finish a maintained trail and rollers to bring it home.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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First day of vacation! :y: I'll be on the road most of today so I wanted to get an early jog in before heading out. Hit up the Gadsden since it is close to home and has some decent miles. Got there a little before 6am. Started from the Coldwater TH and went clockwise..Coldwater to Butterfield to the Gadsden out to the Pederson to the Toothacher and back on the Butterfield. Weather was great! Didn't have the sun on me until Gadsden intersected the Butterfield on the back end. I had to guesstimate on my mileage as my Garmin died at the 8.7 mile mark and shortly thereafter my knee did as well. Got bad knees and every once in awhile they'll flare up and remind me that they are not as young as they use to be. :( Speaking of dying, the Gadsden is not a place you want to be if you are on your last leg. There is a growing community of turkey vultures on the Gadsden Trail between the Toothacher and the Pederson portion. On a previous visit I saw a number in the teens. Today I saw over 60. 25 in one tree alone. There were some sitting on the eastward hillside with their wings opened wide taking in the warming rays of the early morning sun. Even though they're just vultures, it was pretty awesome to see that many ay one time...and a little daunting as well.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Hot morning for a trail run but thats life. Went out with Trevor. Legs are starting to come back. Was getting pretty hot by the end but had fun. Posted a picture on Twitter then got a message from an AP reporter asking me to call her. I did and she asked a few questions about running in the heat. Looks like she is doing an article on Phoenix heat today so it will be interesting to see if I am quoted.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Happy new year trail run with Dave W. I will be first place in mileage for probably an hour before the high mileage people report! Went Quail>Saddle>Toothaker>Dysart>Butterfield>Gadsden>Coldwater>Dysart>Rainbow Valley>Quail . Did a few extra spots on junctions and bottom to get to the 13.1.

Happy new year to everyone and hope this will be best year for all.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Nice overcast day for an afternoon run. Pretty mellow run, wanted to stretch our legs and run some trails that we've overlooked this year. Have plans to do the Coldwater Rumble next month so figured I better scout out parts of the course. Started out on Coldwater, hit Dysart and made a big loop around the southern side of the park. Finished by running down the Rainbow Trail and back to the rodeo arena. Actually saw about 8 other people out running the trails today, not used to seeing that many other people once you get a half mile away from the parking lot.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Wanted to branch out and try something different this morning, plus add another 15 minutes to my Thursday runs. Did a loop of the Butterfield Trail to the Gadsden Trail, returning on the Butterfield Trail. It's been a while since I was on the Gadsden Trail and I forgot just how much of the trail goes through a wash. Would rather run uphill than through the wash, that section really slowed me down.
Gadsden Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
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Sierra Estrella Ridgeline W/ Peaks 3567 & 3650
Since moving out to Avondale I look at the Estrella's every day and wonder how to get to the top of the peaks. Knew eventually I would have to suck it up and do a long approach from the north side of the range. When I saw John planning a trip up to the ridgeline I knew I had no excuses to put off my explorations.

Met John at the rodeo arena parking lot and started the approach. Made great time on the park trails and were off trail and going vertical in under two hours. Shot up the approach to Peak 3567 on the north side of Corgett Wash taking the ridgeline straight up to Peak 2907 first. From there headed southeast towards our goal of Peaks 3567 & 3650. Took a different route down from John and headed down the main drainage from Peak 3650 until I hit the main spur of Corgett Wash. Intersected with John about a half mile from our rendezvous spot and headed back to our car the same way we came in.

To say the ridgeline of the Estrellas is rugged would be an understatement. One of the toughest hikes I have done in the past couple of years. Once on the ridgeline it was 4+ hours of continuous class 3 and occasional class 4 scrambling with cactus thrown in for good measure. You don't get a break from the cactus or scrambling the entire time spent on the ridge.

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
Connector trail - Not Applicable

To hike
From Phoenix head west on I-10. Exit and head South on Estrella Parkway. Turn East on W. Vineyard Ave. The Estrella Mountain Park entrance will be on the south side within the first mile. Upon entering the park follow 143rd DR. to the its culmination. (Maps are available upon entering the park).
page created by mt98dew on Nov 02 2010 8:23 pm
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