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Bursera Trail - South Mountain, AZ

no permit
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Guide 224 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
3.1 of 5 by 26
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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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2  2019-08-29
Bursera - Gila loop
1  2019-08-26 gummo
2  2019-08-16 Yoder
2  2019-07-08 gummo
3  2019-04-12
Goat Hill Loop via Pyramid / Bursera
6  2019-03-02
Pyramid Trail - South Mountain
7  2019-02-10 DarthStiller
7  2019-01-27
Lost Mine - South Mountain
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 8
Author LindaAnn
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 358
Photos 2,285
Trips 938 map ( 6,924 miles )
Age 39 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  6:13am - 6:32pm
Official Route
38 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

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2019-01-29 LindaAnn

    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.

    Most recent of 63 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Bursera - Gila loop
    Linda let me join her for a nice mid morning hike. Hiking with Linda and after a rain storm.Chances high for a snake encounter :o . I was hoping for some leftover clouds but nope. Climbing Bursera was a sweat fest but I felt ok. When climbing Bursera the heat and thick air felt like I had to push through it. Linda had told me about a guy questioning her about seeing Speckled Rattlesnakes here and hinted they may be Tigers :) . :D Speckled is about all I see on this end and have never seen a Tiger here although I know her and JohnLP see both. So wouldn't you know we have a Tiger give us a little shake so I see my first South Mountain Tiger Rattlesnake :y: . After the short visit a breeze picked up and we strolled back to the trailhead. The recycle can at the trailhead blew over last night so Linda and I did our good deed and picked it all up :D . Great hike and company! Thanks Linda, you rock!
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Bursera - Gila loop
    Thursday morning sweatfest. Looked like parts of SoMo got plenty of rain last night, which knocked a few degrees off our starting temperature. Still felt like Florida though. Partway up Bursera, Denny started talking about this being perfect weather to see snakes. I told him about some genius I encountered recently who told me that I’d never actually seen a speckled rattler on SoMo, that they were all tigers and I just didn’t know the difference.

    Drenched in sweat on the way up Bursera, the few spots of shade on the descent were a relief. Once heading back east on Gila, full sun and no breeze made for a tough walk up to the saddle. New sign at the saddle closing off the connector trail to National that I really liked. The descent back down felt a lot better. Dropping into the wash, we got a courtesy rattle. After several seconds of looking around, Denny spotted a healthy looking tiger. We got a few pictures as he moved around some rocks and tree roots. Easy hike back to the cars after that, especially once the breeze picked up. Great hike & great company!
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    We decided to do another night hike since the moon was just past full. Started out on the Bursera trail, jumped onto the National, and took the Pyramid trail back to the trailhead to complete a nice 10 mile loop. Started out at about 8:30pm, and got back to the car about 1:30am. Didn't see anyone the entire hike. It was great! (but still hot~!)
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Bursera-National-Pyramid loop
    Started at 0515, finished at 0915. Enough moonlight to where I didn't need a headlamp at all. I scared a couple of javelinas along Bursera, and they quickly ran away, would have been too dark to try and get a pic anyway. Quick side trip up to Goat Hill. Only saw people for the last two miles or so.
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    I was originally going to head over for my annual Camelback hike, but decided I wanted to get more mileage than that today. I started out around 7:30 and headed up Bursera. East on National with a quick stop on Goat Hill, then down Pyramid. There were quite a few people out enjoying the weather today, and I exchanged phone numbers for a future hike with a nice couple who were hiking on Pyramid.
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Pyramid National Ranger Bursera Loop
    Hiked up Pyramid to the National, west to Ranger, down Ranger to Summit Rd and back, on to Goat Hill, then west on National finishing on Bursera. Saw some nice scenery, and a saguaro in bloom! :)
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Bursera-National-Pyramid loop
    Nice solo hike. A little too much sun for my taste, but cool and breezy. Near some of the old mines, I followed an old, but clearly visible, well constructed trail down to ridge to the north. Didn't lead to much of anything that I saw, but I didn't look around much due to time, maybe I'll look again next time I have a chance.
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Bursera-National-Pyramid loop
    Another 'Housewives of Ahwatukee Gossipfest' with Celina. We got started around 8:15, and headed up Bursera. I was quite impressed with the volume of wildflowers along nearly the entire length of the trail; the poppies were closed today due to the cool temps, but still quite nice to see. We headed east on National--plenty of flowers up there too--then down Pyramid. Ran into @juanjaimeiii and a friend of his on Pyramid, quick introductions all around, then we continued on our respective hikes. We finished up around 1:00. Nice day with the cool weather, clouds, and breeze.
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Somo Wildflower Recon
    Checking out the wildflowers on South Mountain was this hike's objective. Denny's pics of the Bajada looked good, so I wanted to get over that way. Started hiking from the Chandler Blvd trailhead. Up Ruins, east on National to Goat Hill, down Ranger, west on Bajada, east on National, east on Bursera, east on Gila/Valley View.

    Wildflowers can be seen on all the trails. Poppies are in abundance. Nothing overwhelming, but a nice show. I saw poppies on 80% of the hike. Very nice day. Saw Sreeeram and friends on the Bajada finishing their Alta hike. :)
    Bursera Trail - South Mountain
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    Pyramid-Alta-Bursera loop
    Spent the day working on my shorts-knee brace-socks tan lines. Headed up Pyramid, stopping about a mile in to take off the long sleeve shirt, I shouldn't have even brought it in the first place. From Pyramid, I headed west on National, decided to skip Goat Hill since I wasn't sure where I would be on time today, then down Ranger. After crossing the road, I cut across a little bit, then got on Bajada and took it west to Alta. Up Alta, then around and up to Maricopa Peak from the west side. I thought about going up Maricopa from the east side, but I just did my nails last night and didn't want to chip the polish on the rocks the very next day. Laugh all you want, but the struggle is real. Quick lunch on the peak, then down to San Juan Lookout. I picked up National again from there, for the most boring two miles of my life, then at the saddle, jumped on Gila and took it over the ridge and connected with Bursera. Took Bursera all the way back. Only saw a few people today. Saw plenty of lizards, but luckily none of their slithery cousins. A little on the warm side for me, I wish we had last weeks temps again.

    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
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