Lots of Options
The Phoenix Sonoran Preserve has been in the planning stages for many years. A trail system was built a couple of years ago in the southern part of the park which is now being actively used. In mid 2012 another system of trails was completed in the northern section of the park on the south side of Carefree Highway. The new Dove Valley Road / Sonoran Desert Drive completed in May 2013 divides the northern and southern sections. (This segment of Dove Valley Road should not be confused with the Dove Valley Road on the north side of the park which allows access to some of the trails. They do not connect.)
This new trail system goes around and over a line of hills stretching southeast from Carefree Highway west of 7th Avenue to Apache Wash. The trails in this section are interconnected such that many loop as well as in and out hiking opportunities exist. I'd describe it as a large loop with trails and junctions connecting both sides of the loop to create smaller loops. There are also several side trails leading to the concrete multi use trail called the Sonoran Paseo paralleling the new road as well as a couple of spur trails leading to hilltops providing good views of the surrounding park. There are several access points providing different options for starting the hikes enabling one to hike different areas without a long hike in from the main trail heads. The large, outside loop is 13.7 miles long comprised of the Sidewinder and Ocotillo Trails. The shorter loop possibilities begin at about 2 miles and go up from there. Several combinations for different loop hikes are posted as GPS tracks. I used an arbitrary median distance and AEG in the statistics for this description as there is wide variation depending on the hike. The trails themselves are well constructed and graded and the hills are not steep making for good hiking, mountain biking and riding. There is very little shade. The trails are well marked with stickers on steel posts using the same format as in the south area of the park. They contain the trail name, mileage, elevation profile and a QR code to allow smartphone owners to get additional information. A letter on a colored background allows easy trail identification.
Check out the Triplogs.
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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