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Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N, AZ

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Guide 177 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.2 of 5 by 18
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 7.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,735 feet
Elevation Gain 120 feet
Accumulated Gain 996 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.52
Backpack No
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6  2018-10-18 RowdyandMe
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Author MEWhiteman
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 91
Photos 790
Trips 351 map ( 2,703 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:17am - 6:24pm
Official Route
36 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
The Hilly One
by MEWhiteman

Overview: The Sidewinder Trail is the longest trail in the northern section of the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve and goes over the highest hill. It is the northern most of the two main trails in this area and has the most hills as it meanders between its easternmost trail head and the parking at Carefree Highway and 7th Avenue. There are valleys surrounding it giving good views to the hills in Cave Creek and the southern part of the Sonoran Preserve. The trail is well marked, wide and easy to follow.

Hike: I've described this hike from southeast to northwest following the ascending mileposts. The beginning of both the Sidewinder Trail and Ocotillo Trail (N33 46.121 W112 02.638) is accessed by a short trail at the north end of the trailhead parking area (currently under construction). At the milepost go right following the markers with an "S" on a light blue background which marks the trail. The trail begins a gradual climb up some low hills and at .90 miles (Milepost .83; N33 46.539 W112 02.679) reaches a junction with the Apache Vista Trail. This trail is an out & back to the top of the hill. Go right here to stay on the Sidewinder Trail. It loops around the end of the hill and comes to a junction with the Apache Trail at 1.22 miles (MP 1.18; N33 46.568 W112 02.812) where you go right again to stay on the trail. The Apache Trail connects to the Ocotillo Trail. The Sidewinder Trail is flat for the next .6 miles until it reaches the junction of the 14th Avenue access at 1.77 miles (MP 1.72; N33 46.947 W112 03.063). The trail gradually climbs for the next .6 miles and then begins a slow decent reaching the junction with the Ridgeback Trail at mile 2.50 (MP 2.50; N33 46.959 W112 03.580). Keep straight here. The trail winds around to the 10th Street access at 2.68 miles (MP 2.75; N33 46.983 W112 03.666). Bear left to stay on the Sidewinder. After crossing two washes the trail begins a gradual to moderate climb up the highest hill in this section of the Sonoran Preserve. At 3.13 miles you cross a gravel road which has been "plowed" to discourage vehicle use which provides a way to the Ocotillo Trail to shorten a loop, if you are doing one. At 3.67 miles you reach the ridge and at 3.77 you reach the high point on the trail.

Now begins a series of switchbacks down the hill reaching the junction with the Central Avenue access at 4.66 miles (N33 47.260 W112 04.444). AEG is 681' to this point. Go left here. At 4.83 miles (MP 4.70; N33 47.181 W112 04.534) the trail reaches a junction with the eastern section of the Ocotillo Trail where you bear right. A junction with the western section of the Ocotillo Trail is reached at 5.09 miles (MP 4.94; N33 47.140 W112 04.749). Keep right here and begin a gradual climb to the tower hill passing through a wash on the way. The trail reaches a junction with the Tower Road access at 6.25 miles (N33 47.453 W112 05.057). After finishing the climb the trail decends gradually reaching an area with several unmarked trails at 6.7 miles where you should keep right on the Sidewinder Trail finally reaching the Carefree Highway/7th Avenue access point and parking at 7.20 miles (MP 6.98; N33 47.927 W112 04.978).

This makes for a long out & back hike. However, with the several access points along the way, the Ocotillo Trail and other shorter trails, many shorter loops are possible from 2 miles and up. The official trail map is posted below.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2013-05-13 MEWhiteman
  • Sonoran Preserve - North Map
    area related
    Sonoran Preserve - North Map
  • SPN - West Side Map
    area related
    SPN - West Side Map
  • SPN - East Side Map
    area related
    SPN - East Side Map

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 40 deeper Triplog Reviews
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Phoenix Sonoran Preserve Highpoints
Hot Air Balloon morning, grabbed some photos on the drive in; about a dozen. They were pretty much all on the ground by the time I rounded the first hill.
HAZel was M.I.A.; I tried everything to get it to function correctly but it wasn't happening thus the 5 minutes in break (will send info to our Webmaster). Very disappointed as I like to see how I'm doing on workout hikes. Guessed at mileage and AEG using my old route and route editor.

I hiked C-clockwise from Apache Wash TH. Lots of hikers, bikers and all dogs were on a leash :o , one lizard and a couple song birds. Seemed like quite a few elderly out too; makes me think I need to find a harder trail for my workout hikes :lol: .

It was so nice out I extended my hike and came back around and did Apache View hill again. The trails are all in good shape. I could have hiked longer but I was getting hungry.

My bulging disk flareup is mostly gone now which is about normal healing for when it flares. I was worried since I'm five years older than the last time that it might take longer; thankfully not.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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O R S O - Sonoran Preserve North
:( my knee. Guess I'll rest it for the week and see what happens. First 3 miles were awesome as I didn't feel a thing but after that, my knee started hurting and the last mile I had to try and hike keeping it straight. I shouldn't have done the New Year's Day hike as apparently my knee just wasn't fully recovered as it hurt for the rest of the week but felt good Sunday morning.

Reminds me of the time in 1998 I hurt my back laying paving stones. Got the PENS treatment, thot it was healed, went back to laying paving stones, hurt my back, never healed but enough to get by without surgery (bulging disc).

Anyway, hiked Ocotillo to Ridgeback to Sidewinder and finished on Ocotillo. Lots of bikers out today and quite a few hikers, one horseback rider. Trails seem to be in great shape.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Phoenix Sonoran Preserve Highpoints
The chance of precip was too high up north so back to Plan B, get up early and hike locally. I am still in prep mode for my Glacier Park backpack in a few weeks. Kelly came up with this route. A very nice alternative to Shaw Butte and same amount of drive time. Note to self, for monsoon weather hiking you are just going to have to get up at 5 :( (I did 5:30 AM today).

I was grateful for cloud cover and the occasional breeze from time to time. I did pull out my umbrella for the last mile though. I heard some coyotes and the cicadas were out as I came off of Ridgeback Overlook where I had stopped to edit some photos and do a FB post. There were a few others on the trail including several bike riders and other hikers and a couple runners that were glistening. Yep, the humidity was a little intense. The trail was in real nice shape.

This is my first monsoon hike of any substance and I lived to tell about it. :lol:
Oh, this is the first time that I can remember not putting ice in my water... prefer the ice.

Video - [ youtube video ] including Cicadas.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Apache Wash
Nice 6 mile loop this morning out of Apache Wash Trailhead. One of the news channels mentioned fog in the valley this morning and I had good luck with fog between the ranges up here before. Unfortunately, that would not be the case today. None the less, still an excellent way to start the day. Too many people with misbehaving dogs today though. Almost got caught in a dog fight, twice!

Also, I took this opportunity to run Route Scout on my phone vs my Garmin GPS60 back to back and note the differences. My phone logged 5.71 miles and 941' AEG, the Garmin came up with 5.93 miles and 836' AEG. The extra AEG on the phone must be from repeatedly lifting from my pocket to my face to read all those super important emails and text messages :lol:
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Well I got my new inserts today and decided to try them out. The trails weren't to busy today and the weather was perfect.
It was nice to get in a little longer hike and seeing so much more green than I am used to seeing.
I did see a few more birds as well.
My new inserts will take a little getting used to as my doctor found my left leg is almost a half inch shorter than my right leg. Now I am waiting for my new brace to go with it.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Just time for a quick one in town today, so I thought I would try out some new trail. The trails out here are all really well manicured, but I think this must be a much better area for biking than hiking especially judging by who I found out on the trail. I made my way up the Apache Vista trail, cut around over to the Ridgeback Overlook, and then back to Apache Vista for one more up to try and squeeze as much elevation gain as I could for the hike. Hard to imagine these two 'peaks' were included in this year's version of the Phoenix Seven Summit Challenge, I feel like I would have gotten more effort out of the Hedgepeth Hills...I managed to keep a 3.7 mph+ pace even on the uphill sections without running at all. There are at least some nice views of the real mountains up in Cave Creek from here.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Great day for a long hike. 11 miles in the Sonoran Preserve -- another fitness hike but went more miles with the AZ Wandering Bear. Hiked the Sidewinder to Ridgeback to Ocotillo back to Sidewinder and to the Desert Trails parking lot off of 7th Avenue and Carefree Hwy. If you stay on Ocotillo on your way back to the parking lot, that would have added one more mile. Ran out of energy today at the 11-mile mark. Lots of bikers and hikers on the trail this Sunday.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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Ocotillo-Sidewinder Mini Loop
What a beautiful afternoon for a hike. Rowdy was in heaven with the cooler temperatures and a nice breeze.
We only saw one hiker on this beautiful day.

I was a little sad as I pulled into the trailhead I seen a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk on a dead bush. I stopped grabbed my camera and when I rolled down my window it just flew away. And it really looked great as it took off but I didn't get the picture just the memory, wow.
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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An Arizona first for me, lightning-ed off the trail. On a somber note, I saw the memorial/actual location where the teen boy died a few weeks ago. Sad enough but sadder that he almost made it back to the trailhead as it was only about 1/4 mile to it... :(
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
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The first 5 1/4 miles was awesome as it was cloudy a sweet breeze and it sprinkled lightly and we really never got wet. We took a nice little break under the bridge and when we got up and started again it was clear skies.
It did not take long to warm up as there was really no shade for the next three miles and Rowdy needs his shade.
Tomorrows hike should be sweet as we head to the Mogollon Rim.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Directions: West End: Desert Hills Trailhead located at the southwest corner of Carefree Highway and 7th Avenue. From I-17 take exit 223 Carefree Highway (SR-74) and travel east to traffic light at 7th Avenue. Turn right into developed trailhead. From north Scottsdale take Carefree Highway west. Turn left at the 7th Avenue light into developed trailhead. There are bathrooms, shade and plenty of parking.

East End: Apache Wash Trailhead, 1600 Sonoran Desert Drive, N 33 46.103 W 112 02.654. From the west take Exit 222 off I-17. Continue to traffic light at Dove Valley Road. Go east on Dove Valley Road. At 5.1 miles from light the road name becomes Sonoran Desert Drive and in another .1 miles turn left into trailhead entrance. From the east from Loop 101 in north Phoenix, take Cave Creek Road (Exit 28) and go 4.5 miles north to Sonoran Desert Drive. Turn left (west) and continue 3.5 miles to the trailhead on the right. There are plenty of parking, bathrooms and shade.

Alternate access: Parking for a couple of cars is available at the intersection of 10th Street and Dove Valley Road south of Carefree Highway; also at the junction of 14th Street and Dove Valley Road on the side of the road; and also at the end of Central Avenue south of Carefree Highway there is very limited parking for a high clearance 4WD vehicle. These alternate access points are on gravel roads useable by cars except for the Central Ave. one.

page created by MEWhiteman on May 13 2013 4:54 pm
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