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Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North, AZ

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Guide 143 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.51 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,735 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Accumulated Gain 699 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.84
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-08-17
Esplanade Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
6  2019-03-14
Ridgeback Trail - Sonoran Preserve N
5  2019-02-10
4  2018-11-21 RowdyandMe
6  2018-04-21
Phoenix Sonoran Preserve Highpoints
8  2018-02-18 black_toes
8  2018-01-31
Sidewinder Trail - Sonoran Perserve N
18  2017-12-19
Ocotillo-Sidewinder Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
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  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
35 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
The Meanderer
by MEWhiteman

Overview: The Ocotillo Trail is one of several trails in the northern area of the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. It runs the length of the trail system in this part of the park as does the Sidewinder Trail to the north, described separately. The Ocotillo Trail roughly parallels the new Dove Valley Road and the Sonoran Paseo although it meanders quite a bit. It starts and ends in the same places as the Sidewinder Trail forming a long loop. There are a number of junctions or cutoff trails allowing for numerous loop hikes by combining these trails. The trail generally sticks to the lowland while some of the other trails climb the hills for better views, but does gain some elevation at the western end. On the hills to the north you'll be able to spot the Sidewinder Trail in many places. The Ocotillo Trail is well marked with an "O" on an orange background and is easy to follow.

Hike: This hike is described from east to west following the increasing milepost numbers. Beginning at the junction of the Ocotillo and Sidewinder Trails at the east end of the trail system (MP 0.00, N33 46.121 W112 02.639) keep left on the Ocotillo Trail. This part of the trail is fairly level and does not meander much. At .37 miles (MP .35, N33 46.284 W112 02.932) there is a junction with the Apache Trail where you keep left on the Ocotillo. After a little gain in elevation you come to the junction with the Ridgeback Trail at .69 miles (MP .68, N33 46.242 W112 03.232) where you stay straight on the Ocotillo. Soon the trail begins its twisty phase and undulates over bumps and through washes for a few miles. At 1.31 miles (N33 46.421 W112 03.717) you pass an access trail on the left to the Sonoran Paseo. This is a concrete pathway along the new Dove Valley Road through the park. The Paseo is about 5 miles long and is open to walkers, bikers, wheel chairs, etc.

The Ocotillo Trail continues past another access trail to the Paseo at 2.03 miles (MP 2.00, N33 46.613 W112 04.156) and a third access trail to the Paseo at 2.56 miles (MP 2.50, N33 46.888 W112 04.426). At 2.99 miles (MP 2.91, N33 47.182 W112 04.533) join with the Sidewinder Trail. Go left on the Ocotillo to continue. Go right on the Sidewinder to reach the Central Ave. access or to form a loop. Continuing on the Ocotillo Trail at 3.25 miles (N33 47.137 W112 04.752) leave the joint Ocotillo/Sidewinder Trail by going left at the junction. Going right will follow the Sidewinder Trail around some hills back to the trailhead in less distance but more elevation gain than following the Ocotillo Trail. Continue on the Ocotillo Trail where you come to another Paseo access at 3.53 miles (MP 3.41, N33 47.096 W112 04.967) where you go right to stay on the Ocotillo. At 4.03 miles (MP 3.89, N33 47.095 W112 05.271) you reach the final Paseo access point at the closest point between the Ocotillo and Paseo. Bear right to stay on the Ocotillo Trail as it swings away from the Paseo for the last time and heads into a hilly area and to the 7th Avenue trailhead. There are a number of old 4WD tracks here but it easy pretty easy to stay on the trail. At about 5 miles begin the last, longest but gradual climb over .85 miles to the highest point on this particular trail. The trail ends at the final junction with the Sidewinder Trail at 6.51 miles (MP 6.27, N33 47.925 W112 04.980).

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2013-05-27 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 37 deeper Triplog Reviews
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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Belated post. Did an early morning in the Sonorans last week starting from the Apache Wash TH. Got on the trails around 5:30 am. Did a loop going clockwise on the Ocotillo and Sidewinder Trails. Trails were well marked and in decent shape - a little rocky in spots, but not too bad and not for any extended period. About half way through they actually share the same trail for a short distance. So this was more of a figure "8" (and, if one was so inclined, could shorten this loop by about 4 miles). I think I discovered the secret to tackling steep climbs..... I had one fall, just before the steepest ascent on the Sidewinder Trail. It was nothing serious, but it got the blood flowing and I was able to run (jog) the entire ascent. Not sure how much that fall helped, but I was surprised at how well I took the climb :) . For the most part, trails were not that busy, once I got away from the THs. I did encounter 30 hikers, 20 bikers and 6 trail runners. Sounds worse than it really was. Parking lot was PACKED when I got back to the TH. I've never seen Apache Wash so full!! Weather was great. No wildlife, except lizards.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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:
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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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.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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Had heard that the new Desert Hills Trailhead had opened in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve located at Carefree Hwy and 7th Ave. Started out on Octotillo Trail and continued West when it intersected Sidewinder Trail... making it a loop. Very little shade (started at 6:50 AM) and road noise at start and finish from Carefree Hwy, but close to home. They did a nice job on the Trailhead and parking lot. No cost to use. Still testing my new Garmin 235 watch and so far I'm very pleased with it. While I can't get all it's hike data off the watch screens I can when I connect to my PC with Garmin Connect. Watch gives me pace, time, AEG, HR ave/high/low, calories, moving time, lap (one mile) times.HR off wrist not very accurate. While I understand there are many ways to track hike on a map, I find phone app Maprika works for me.
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
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Hiked from my house to the grand opening of the new Desert Hills Trailhead in the Sonoran Preserve North. This is the TH at the Carefree Hwy end of the SPN. Was good to see a crowd of non-hikers out getting free swag and having to be given water and playing awesome music on trail through external speakers!

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.
page created by MEWhiteman on May 27 2013 3:56 pm
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