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Bursera Trail - South Mountain, AZ

AZ > Phoenix > South Mountain
no permit
519 271 1
Guide 271 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mountain
3.2 of 5 by 28
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,301 feet
Elevation Gain 613 feet
Accumulated Gain 961 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.05
Backpack No
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3  2020-07-26
Pyramid Trail - South Mountain
5  2020-07-19
Bursera Canyon
3  2020-05-05
Bursera Canyon
11  2020-04-28
Bursera Canyon
14  2020-04-02 Walkingbambam
2  2020-03-26 astrobrewer
19  2020-03-25
5  2020-03-23
Gila-Bursera short loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 11
Author LindaAnn
author avatar Guides 39
Routes 379
Photos 3,244
Trips 1,138 map ( 8,338 miles )
Age 40 Female Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:46am - 7:22pm
Official Route
40 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
terrific torote
by LindaAnn

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.

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2019-01-29 LindaAnn
  • 2020 South Mountain Park
    area related
    2020 South Mountain Park

One-Way Notice
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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Pyramid Trailhead
From I-10 going S exit on 202/Pecos Road. Go W on Pecos Road for about 9 miles and turn right on 17th Avenue. Turn left on to Chandler Boulevard and go to end of road and park where road is closed off at 19th Avenue.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 22.6 mi, 28 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 104 mi, 1 hour 46 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 166 mi, 2 hours 48 mins
page created by joebartels on Jan 29 2019 2:13 pm
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
11.5 inch Teflon Coated Umbrella
Super Wide Brim Sun Hat for Men or Women
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