Overview: Estrella Mountain Regional Park is located about 20 miles west and south of Phoenix in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains. It was established in 1954 with the purchase of 800 acres. Today, the Estrella Park stretches for almost 20,000 acres. It has a wide range of amenities including horseback riding, a rodeo arena, golfing, fishing, baseball diamonds, a 65 acre grass picnic area and trails for hiking and biking. The park has 12 trails that extend for 33 miles into the Park.
Hike: The Dysart Trail is a nice little trail, once you get to it. This is one of several trails in the Park that you have to hike to get to. You have several options to get to this trail, but for the purpose of this write up we are going to start at the Coldwater TH. (Even though all trails are well marked, be sure to grab a map at TH so you'll be able to see your options as you hike). Park your car at the east end of the horse staging area and take the Coldwater trail .25 miles to the Butterfield. Follow the Butterfield trail approximately 1.1 miles south until you reach the Dysart trail. This is the most eastern access point for the Dysart and the most direct route that will allow you to complete the entire trail.
The Dysart is a single dirt track that runs in an east-west direction. It starts off by going down a slight decline with hills on either side of the trail (Knobb Hill is on the south side). At this point the trail is fairly enclosed with hills all around. The trail opens up to the north at the .5 mile point, giving a decent view of Glendale and the Cardinal Stadium. Soon after the trail intersects with the Coldwater trail. Off to the north you are able to see an old staging area that is no longer accessible by vehicle and is simply part of the Coldwater trail. Continuing west on the Dysart, the trails twists through several washes and you start to get a decent view of the White Tanks to the west northwest. At about the 1.1 mile point the trail splits. The actually Dysart trail stays to the south and soon intersects with the Toothaker trail. (The northern split is just a shortcut to the same trail). Continuing west, the Dysart negotiates a couple of washes and then flattens out as it terminates with the Rainbow trail.
At this point, you have finished the Dysart trail. If that was you objective, then congratulations. However, now you have to get back to your vehicle. Because the Dysart connects with so many different trails you have quite a few options. You can go back the way you came and do this hike as an in and out. You could also turn around and take the Toothaker back. By studying the Park map this looks to be the most direct return route and will shave a mile off your hike. Or can make a loop of the hike and take the Rainbow trail north. Doing the later would be the longest option but it would avoid back tracking and provide new desert views. The mileage given for this hike, incorporates the Dysart along with the most direct route to the beginning of the trail.
The vegetation on the Dysart trail is your typical desert variety. The cacti are primarily saguaro and buckhorn cholla with a smattering of teddy bear cholla on the eastern section. You'll also see palo verde, ironwood and quite bit of creosote. None of this provides any protection, so you are very exposed for the entirety of the hike. Bring plenty of water.
Water Sources: There is no water at the Coldwater TH. But there is water on the west side of the rodeo arena, a several hundred yards away. There are also restrooms there.
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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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