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Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SW
2 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 14.66 miles
Trailhead Elevation 969 feet
Elevation Gain 444 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,195 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.64
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
9  2018-02-25 DarthStiller
15  2018-01-19 kingsnake
9  2011-04-30 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:18am - 6:25pm
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0 Alternative
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At least it is long
by kingsnake

The hike starts at the southeast corner of the horse lot. Go .25 miles south along the pea gravel road (Coldwater Trail). Just past the first small wash, veer east onto Butterfield Trail. As with other trails in Estrella, the trail is wide and the surface tends to be rather benign, varying from mostly smooth, to occasionally strewn with small rocks, sandy in the washes. Butterfield has quite a few down & up wash crossings as it heads south towards Knobb Hill. About 2/3s of the way down Butterfield, just south of the Dysart Trail intersection, Butterfield reaches its maximum elevation after a short, but very steep, climb. Then you begin descending towards Gadsden Wash.

Across Gadsden Trail, almost as an extension of Butterfield is a small hill with a very steep grade. This isn't part of the trail system -- someone blocked it off with a small wall of brush and rocks since I was last out there a few months ago -- but the trail to the top is obvious. Might be worth exploring.

Turn west on Gadsden Trail for about .75 miles. (The Estrella map at seems to be off by about 10% on each segment.) Estrella is well signed, but some of the signs are plaques hanging from trees and bushes. Just keep an eye out.

Turn south onto Pedersen Trail, which is single track for the next several miles. It also has *alot* more cacti than any other part of the Estrella trail system. Especially cholla. Lots of cholla. (At one point the cholla balls that had fallen on the trail were so dense I had to take a small detour to avoid stepping on the "punji sticks".) You will cross two washes, then parallel a third for a bit, before dropping into it. As you near Hill 1547 is the first decent resting spot, about 6 miles into the overall hike. There's some good sitting rocks, and good morning shade. Thus ends the only interesting parts of the loop.

After leaving the wash, Pedersen turns west onto what might be the smoothest jeep trail in Arizona. Seriously, even my 14 year old rust bucket could drive it with losing any parts. (GPS claims the jeep trail is known as "W. Queen Creek Rd.") Put your head down, and keep putting one foot in front of the other for the next couple of miles. As you appear to be getting close to some sort of antennas, or other installation, you will reach the intersection of another jeep trail. (The GPS claims this is "155th Ave.") Turn north. Repeat the head down, one foot in front of the other routine for a little over a mile. You will come to a wide, flat, sandy wash. This is probably the only confusing part of the whole hike, and the only one where I did not see a sign. Basically aim straight across the wash. In a few hundred feet you will the jeep trail back up. After that, the trail turns east. Repeat the previous jeep trail routine. Yeah, exciting. After a mile or so, as you near the first mountain in several hours, you will begin bending north.

At the Toothaker Trail intersection, you have a choice: Take Toothaker back to the trailhead, or continue a bit to Coldwater Trail, then take that back. Coldwater is a mile less and, if you are as burnt out by this point as I was, you will take it.

Continue past the Toothaker intersection a few hundred yards to the Coldwater intersection. In the wash there are a few trees with trunks large enough to support sitting. Take break. You've gone about 12 miles.

Turn north up Coldwater, along the west side of Knobb Hill. The washes are not as numerous, or as deep, as Butterfield, on the east side of the mountain. After about 1.7 miles, you will cross Dysart Trail, and just after that enter the "secondary horse lot" (for want of a better term) at the head of the pea gravel road. Lots of big logs here to sit on, but you are almost home, so why bother? Continue north on the pea gravel road, past the Butterfield intersection, to the main horse lot. You are done. Yahoo.

In summation: Butterfield is okay (**), Coldwater enh (*), and Pedersen a slog. (0 kokopellis if Teva Joe allowed that few.)

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2011-05-04 kingsnake
    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
    Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    The last time I hiked in Estrella Mountain Regional Park was six years ago. Other than Gadsden Trail being miles of deep, sandy, wash, Estrella’s trails were very mellow. Large mileage is available without doing an out & back, which I always try to avoid.

    In 2011, took Gadsden Trail from Corgett Wash to Coldwater Trail. This time I did all of Pedersen Trail. (Three Es in the correct spelling.)

    I ate breakfast at the Waffle House on Dysart, but still got to the trailhead before sunrise, which was typically Arizona awesome.

    Throughout my hike, there were directional signs for a trail running ultramarathon. (The longer distances did five laps of this loop.) It made me think of “Signs”, by Five Man Electrical Band.

    From Gadsden Trail, the stock cars at Phoenix International Raceway, five miles away, were clearly audible. And that was only one or two cars: Imagine if there were 43!

    Pederson, south of Gadsden, has a TON of cholla, mostly teddy bear, though I also spotted some buckhorn. Six years ago, the cholla actually blocked the trail at points; now it is clear, except for the odd fallen ball.

    After a long break at the far southeast corner of Pedersen -- 3 bar Verizon reception -- I continued west on Pedersen. Or just off it, in the desert, as the jeep trail was deep sand. I found one saguaro that was leaking so much sap it had a puddle at its base. Pretty cool.

    At "155th Avenue" -- that is its real name -- I turned north, still on Pedersen. A mile up, I thought I saw a trailer, but it turned out to be large tent full of tables, chairs, cots, Coleman stoves, and two liter bottles of soda for the trail runners. Unfortunately, no beer. I took advantage of the shade, for my second break.

    Just north of Corgett Wash, I could see I-10 against the White Tank Mountains.

    Still on Pedersen, just before the intersection with Toothaker Trail, there is an interesting out crop of white rocks. (Smaller white rocks are scattered all over the park.)

    Lots of small planes overhead, taking off from and landing at Goodyear Airport, which is visible from the west flank of Knobb Hill on Coldwater Trail.

    The trail runners had another support tent at the corral. While the day started out cool & breezy, it had become warm & sunny, so I took a short break in the shade. I only had a mile to go, but I earned it.

    In 2011, I said this was a really boring loop. This time, it was not so bad. Mostly, I did it for the miles. I know it's not a lot for many folks on here, but I'm trying to get 100 miles for the month. :)

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
    Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Parked at the arena and did Toothaker>Dysart>Butterfield>Gadsen>Pedersen>Homestead>Pedersen>Coldwater>Dysart>Toothaker. Only saw one other person. Great cool weather after the rain. Trying to get ready for Coldwater Rumble in 6 weeks but going twice as much as today is going to be a challenge.
    Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    Well finally did it. Want to get used to longer distances and this was in my area. I notice another trail towards the South of the Petersen which was unmarked. I think this will the the Estrella connector for the future Mountain Trail(Which is supposed to actually loop into the mountain)
    Butterfield / Pedersen / Coldwater Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    Did this last weekend, as I wanted to test myself at a longer distance. Mostly, it turned out to be a mental test, as Pedersen Trail is seriously boring. Like walking across the Sahara, minus the dunes. (And I've been there.) Saw my first on trail, non-rabbit, non-lizard, wildlife ... ever. Never have seen any critters, not even in Aravaipa. I saw a snake in the middle of "W. Queen Creek Rd." (See the trail description I just uploaded.) Was not paying attention as I was just putting one foot in front of the other ... whoa! What's that. Check the tail. No rattle. *whew* Some kind of garter snake. Definitely not a kingsnake. I would recognize one of those. ;) Found a .22 rimfire casing, a 12 gauge casing, and -- most a rare -- a 30-30 casing. To keep myself entertained, on this slog, I speculated on what a 30-30 might do to various small critters. I was keeping detail split times on my paper map, but managed to lose that half way up Coldwater, with maybe a mile left in the hike. Back tracked a few hundred yards before coming to my senses, then continuing on.

    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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    West on I-10. Exit 126. South on Estrella Parkway. Five miles. First left -- pay close attention! -- south of Salt River. Second right -- *just* after golf course entrance -- is park entrance. Speed limit is 25 mph. Follow park road for 1.5 miles to rodeo arena.
    page created by kingsnake on May 04 2011 9:40 am
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