Easy Owl Fix
The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve's Hawks Nest Trail starts at the Desert Vista Trailhead, climbing steadily to a Cholla choked saddle that gains access to the Dixie Mountain Loop and the parks interior. What would otherwise be an uneventful half-mile is made eventful by the Great Horned Owl nest located on the northwest side about 0.4 miles up.
The nest, like other saguaro nests, was originally constructed by Crows, Ravens, or Red Tailed Hawks and taken over by a yearly nesting of the amazing Owls. The pairs mate in January, and the babies arrive a month later, usually leaving the nest by May. A great view of the nest is possible due to the trail passing close and nearly at the same level. The adults and Owlets can usually be seen during daylight hours during those months, with the adult hunting in the morning and evening.
The trail, like others in the park, is relatively smooth, and you will typically see as many bikers as hikers on the weekends. Although a great destination for the very young and old due to it's distance, it's AEG makes it somewhat more challenging for those who are used to flat trails. There's no shade along the way, but the Palo Verde, Creosote, Brittlebush, Saguaro, Barrel Cactus, Buckhorn and Teddybear Cholla make for a decent Sonoran stroll.
A popular hike is to use this trail and continue on the Dixie Mountain Loop to create a lasso, bagging the two peaks along the way via spur trails. A good description of this by MEWhiteman can be found under "Union Hills Loop".
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.