Watch for exploding Saguaros
The Thunderbird Recreation Area located along Pinnacle Peak west of 55th Avenue is named after a WWII Fighter training facility that used to be located 4 miles south of the park. It's trails wander up and around the Hedgepeth Hills, named for the Hedgepeth ranch that used to be at the site.
H2, or on newer maps the Arrowhead Trail, ascends the 1862' southeastern peak of the Hedgepeth range. It is most easily accessed via the H1 or Whip Trail from the eastern parking lot and trailhead located at 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak. By using this access, one can make a loop that adds .82 miles to the 1.4 mile H2.
Starting at the trailhead, take H1 across a sparse creosote flat leading to H2 proper. From there switchbacks wander up the slope in a clockwise direction, reaching a plateau at .6 miles (15 minutes). The trail stays flat as it heads west toward a notch at .75 mi.(19 min)that used to frame a huge Saguaro, whose exploded remains now remain (lightning?). From there the trail winds up to the main summit at .9 mi. (22 min, ), where a flag sits atop a huge summit cairn. It even had solar powered up lighting at one point, which is rare but nonetheless correct flag etiquette. (The American flag should not be flown in darkness)
From the summit the trail follows a ridge west to a lesser summit at 1 mi(26 min) that has a great slant back seat with nice views of the western half of Thunderbird Park. At that point the trail heads down to the saddle between the two eastern peaks of the park, reaching a set of Ramadas at 1.4 mi(34 min). This is where H2/Arrowhead ends, but H1/Whip continues east another .6 mi(11 min)to your starting point. Total loop 2.2 mi(45 minutes). The most rugged of the Thunderbird Park trails, this trail has typical Sonoran Flora, including Saguaro, Barrel, Cholla, and Buckhorn Cactus, along with Palo Verde, Creosote, Brittlebush and Perennials depending on rainfall. I've seen a number of Coyotes over the years, as well as some nice lizards, but only 1 Rattler in over 100 visits. The geology is volcanic tuft, I think, as are most of the peaks in this area.
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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