Heart of Muhadag Du'ag
New post markers are confusing.
Park map now shows the NE portion utilizing the now missing Box Canyon Loop to Holbert instead of the sandy wash to Scorpion Gulch. Stay tuned...
Accessible from both east and west ends. The western end is accessed 0.25 miles up the Ranger Trail from Five Tables Trailhead. Described here from the eastern end. The trail leaves the entrance road just west of Ponderosa Stables near Scorpion Gulch.
Trading post built in 1936. Owned and operated by William Lunsford and his wife. They lived in the attached building. "Grandpa" as he was known cared more about children visitors than profit margins. Bottles of pop and penny candy was often given away. In the 60's parents were known to phone ahead kids were on their way. Bill then returned a courtesy call as they departed the curio shop which included jewelry, leather goods and native crafted items. In the 1970s, it became a bar. Scorpion Gulch was listed on the historic preservation register in October of 1990.
This trail is difficult to decipher for the first mile. Best download and use the supplied GPS Route until the park marks the designated trail. Trail posts are washed out ( 5 & 10 ) and missing [3,6,12-14] in areas leaving the maze of trails a crap shoot. FS, regional & city parks typically close these type of situations until budget allows a fix.
Lomita - a low broad hill. Hiking through the sandy wash is fun for about three steps.
0.60 mile You should be in the vicinity of the park maintence yard. I was in the wash but the real trail may be above overlooking. Guessing on the wash as seriously abused terrain within sight of their facilities would surely be marked off limits if incorrect. Also seems likely due to placement of #15 later on.
0.75 mile Unmarked hairpin turn.
0.88 mile Post #15, signage resurfaces. The hairpin turn seems most logical as this post has an arrow pointing back west.
0.93 mile Post #16. Box Canyon comes in from the left. The next tenth of a mile is a slice of paradise where you enter a narrow cut wash. Sandy, confusing and no fun for some.
1.12 mile Post #23. Cross road to Piedras Grandes which translates to "large stones". Accessed just off this trail it is among my favorite SoMo locations. The history is rich, enjoy the ride...
Other cities wanted the Arizona dream. 1950's Los Angeles commissioners said a park such as South Mountain would be worth ten million dollars to their coastal city. Phoenix paid $17k for the 14,513 acres in 1924.
Saddle and foot trails were expected eight miles south of the hustle and bustle of downtown in the 1930s. The park ventured beyond the call of duty catering to those seeking the comforts of the 20th century. Piedras Grandes, Las Ramadas & Las Lomitas ( view map ) were the Valley's hottest family scenes. These picnic areas had everything. Gravel and paved roadways led to ramadas. Loaded with features such as nearby water faucets, electric lights and fire places. Dance platforms were reserved for dancing(photo - Arizona Sun Bonnets at Las Ramadas Platform) and skating. In 1952 ramada tables cost 25 cents. Park entrance was free until 5pm, then 25 cents per car thereafter.
Arroya Secco ( dry creek ) was a fourth picnic area with 8 ramadas. The layout slightly shuffled and now renamed "Three Tables" and "Five Tables" areas. A baseball field on old maps looks long gone based on satellite imagery.
1.42 mile Kiwanis Trail trailhead. From the previous section to here is blah but well defined and signed. Continuing west from Kiwanis, the trail immediately dips through the ravine that drains Kiwanis. Either the CCC did one hell of a job or it received some love over the years. It's surely flashed at least once a decade since it was built in the 1930s.
The trail heads over towards the old Las Lomitas picnic area. Piedras is a mini Disneyland will all the rocks to play on. This is more of a large group area. Without the boulders it just looks old. Yet better than Las Ramadas, my least favorite.
1.75 mile Cross the road to Las Lomitas and head towards the Ranger Trail. A little bleak for most. It has small nice wash and a good distant view ot the Estrella Range. About once every ten years a nice wildflower display of poppies and lupine blanket this area all the way out and through the Bajada Trail.
2.25 mile Trail ends at the Ranger Trail. It's under a quarter mile to Five Tables, which is the TH for Ranger. For reference, to the northwest is a private track for the Quarter Midget Racing Association.
I've heard from HAZ members over the years that this trail is not loved by anyone...lol The Piedras area has fascinated me since the 90's, guess I overlook what others see. You might have to go play on the large stones and find the camera angles from years gone by to appreciate. The park recently refurbished the restrooms in the park. Currently closed but figure they are waiting on budget to continue plumbing or such. Just wanted to share a little history of SoMo. It has unique areas that have simply been abused over the years. Keep in mind park budgets are lean followed by urban sprawl robbing inner city interests and monies. Keep me posted of changes or things I've represented incorrectly and I'll correct the guide.
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.