Scenic trail in the far southwestern corner of South Mountain Park. Can be done as a one-way hike, or linked with other nearby trails as part of a loop hike.
Starting from the Pyramid Trailhead at 19th Ave & Chandler Blvd, you will start out on Pyramid Trail for approx 0.40 miles to get to the start of Bursera. The trail will fork here, taking the left fork is the beginning of Bursera. The trail continues east for a short distance until you are at the eastern end of a ridge. From here, the trail makes a U and turns west as it climbs the ridgeline. The incline is steady, but generally not too steep. There are a few small switchbacks, but the trail mostly stays atop of, or slightly on the north side of the ridge the entire way up.
Despite the name, there are almost no bursera trees along this trail; plenty of creosote and palo verdes though. Looking down to your right, you will see the Gila Trail paralleling Bursera; further to your right are the Lost Ranch Ruins and several popular social trails. All of these trails offer loop options depending on how far you want to hike.
After a little over a mile, you will reach the high point of the trail on this ridge, and the trail will curve sharply to the left to stay on Bursera. You will see a clearly defined social trail turning to the right; taking this social trail to the right will drop you steeply down to Gila Trail at a saddle below. Staying on Bursera though, the trail stays high for a short distance, then starts to descend down the north side of the ridge, gradually at first, then a little more steeply. The footing on this descent is surprisingly not great in places--loose sand and gravel on top of bare rock. Once past the steep part of the descent, the trail levels off and continues west, now in the bottom of the valley. Wildflowers are usually plentiful in this section during spring.
After crossing a large dry wash, the trail curves to the north, crossing paths with Gila Trail. Staying on Bursera, you start to climb up several switchbacks over the next quarter-mile to reach National Trail. Once at National, you can turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead, or you can use National (most options are to head east) to make a large loop hike.
• Bursera - Lost Mine Loop 7.5 mi / 2k
• Pyramid - Bursera Loop 10.2 mi / 2.3k
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.