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Powerline Road #2 - MSPN, AZ

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Guide 62 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
1.8 of 5 by 12
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,581 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
27  2019-09-17
Balanced Rock Lollipop MSPN
5  2019-07-20
Latigo Trail - MSPN
8  2019-01-21
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPN
1  2018-03-22 Sun_Ray
15  2018-03-18
Axle Grease Trail
10  2018-01-14
Maricopa Trail - Bartlett Dam to Pemerberton
5  2017-11-25
Bootlegger Trail Loop
11  2017-10-11
Chuckwagon Trail - MSPN
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author neilends
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 16
Photos 182
Trips 140 map ( 670 miles )
Age 47 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec → 7 AM
Seasons   Winter to Late Winter
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
22 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Straight shot through the desert
by neilends

Although Powerline Road #2 pierces a straight and therefore seemingly unentertaining line through the Preserve's northern section, this trail offers plenty of up-and-down hiking. It offers an excellent overview of the entire northern section.

This is a textbook desert hike. There is no relief from the sun and no water. Do not attempt this without ample water supplies and education about desert hiking.

The obvious appeal of this trail is that it offers a nice and simple through-hike from one trailhead to the other, west-east, of what's known as the MSP's "northern section." The distance of that route is, from Browns Ranch Trailhead to Granite Mountain Trailhead, using the Brown's Ranch Road, 3.5 miles one-way. It would be very difficult to get lost along the way, because of the total lack of any route-finding skills needed. The trail itself is very wide, and smooth, throughout. There are electric towers strung together with power lines (naturally) guiding you from above the entire way. The trail is also pretty popular, so you'll be seeing people frequently during the winter months.

If solitude and a feeling of distance from civilization are what you seek, you won't find it here. But what you will get is a decent (light) cardio work-out, due to the fair amount of vertical loops along the way. No major hill climbing. But a fair amount of ups and downs, despite the straight-arrow direction. You will also be rewarded with an excellent overview of the entire northern section of the MSP, with direct views along the way of Cone Mountain, Brown's Mountain, Granite Mountain, and all the others. There are connections to virtually every other trail for those wanting to explore deeper into the network, either north or south. For me, this was an ideal mountain bike route, given my hiking environment preferences. But to each their own.

Water Sources

Not allowed.

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2015-02-14 neilends
  • MSPN Brown Insert
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    MSPN Brown Insert
  • MSPN Trail List
    area related
    MSPN Trail List
  • MSPN Gate Schedule
    area related
    MSPN Gate Schedule
  • McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
    area related
    McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
  • Axle & West
    area related
    Axle & West

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 29 deeper Triplog Reviews
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Balanced Rock Lollipop MSPN
Another pre-dawn start of an exercise hike for the SloFolks. We started at the newly remodeled Granite Mountain Trailhead. They did a great job on this and also the Fraesfield TH to the south. Even included flushing toilets! Nothin' but the best for us hikers. :D

We used six different trails to do the reverse looking lollipop loop shown in the photoset. Started with lots of moonlight and only one car in ahead of us when the gate opened automatically at 5:41am . Driving over we passed the Pima/Dynamite TH and the cars were lined up two abreast and all the way out to Dynamite Road waiting to get in.. MB'ers I'm assuming.

Even without all the flowers of this past spring this network of trails is very scenic. Granite boulders of all shapes and sizes. The tread on the trail is so nice it allows you to take in all the sights and vistas. It's nice to occasionally lift my eyes from the sad, sad ground...(obscure Leo Kottke song lyric). The Mazzies with the sunrise behind them were beautiful. I got some good shots of the ranges to the south and east also.

With the early start we had the place almost to ourselves. Aside from a large hawk (Ferruginous?) we saw just a few MBers and one couple hiking in as we were leaving. Summer is breaking, you could feel it in the air! :y:
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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With the opening of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve parking lot at Pima and Dynamite more trails have opened up to hike. I want to continue to say "I've hiked all the trails in the Preserve" so I'm starting on the few that are on the Northern Map dated Fall 2017. A friend had told me of a large crested saguaro near power line tower HV23. Parked at Pima Dynamite lot and walked the service road along the power line. The feds have cleaned and strapped the road.... I think they went overboard. The saguaro is on the left/West of the tower in front of a large bolder pile.
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Cathedral Rock-MSPN
I decided to hike out to Cathedral Rock today. It was really nice and peacful so Rowdy and I took a nice little lunch break. The last time I was here I had also planned a nice lunch break but the bees made me change my mind. So today made up for it. :) There were also a large number of bike riders out enjoy the day.
Also when I got to the trailhead out of habit I grabbed a map. This is a new map and has alot of new trails on it so I'll have to check them out. :D I was just wonder if anyone has checked any of them out yet?
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Granite Mtn Loop via Brown's Ranch Trailhead
wow what a nice morning for a hike. I only met one hiker early on and after that bike riders only. Oh they all very nice and really like how well Rowdy handles himself on the trails.
The hike was so nice early on as we had cloud cover for the first four miles after that we still enjoyed the scattered clouds ever time the got between us and the sun. I counted five Cardinals today got pictures of three but only two came out. And Rowdy got to see his first Gila Monster and it was no big deal to him. We did also see two deer but they were faster than I was with my camera.
It did warm up and Rowdy took advantage of a lot of the pools of water on the trail, mostly to lay down in them. It was a nice day to go hiking.
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Took a group of 6-7 of my wife's friends on, effectively, a guided hike led by me and Trixie. These were folks who live all over the Valley and hadn't really experienced any hikes other than a climb or two of Camelback. They met at our house, from where we led a convoy to the Granite Mountain Trailhead. They loved this experience, of course. The isolation and newness of the MSP itself made it especially novel and fun for them.

My objective was to hike to Balanced Rock and back, in a loop. Bootlegger to Saddlehorn to Granite Mountain Loop to Balanced Rock, and then return to trailhead via Powerline. The minimal elevation climb was perfect for a large group that included a healthy grandma in her early 70s. There are awesome and sweeping views available even without a huge elevation gain, along the way. Balanced Rock is a great destination and turn-around point. Despite a huge bug problem as we walked, everyone was raving about the hike for the rest of the day.
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Well Rowdy and I got another late start. As we started up Browns Ranch Road everyone else was heading back. It was windy and a little chilly but we had the trails to ourselves.
I was planning on hitting Balance Rock and hitting Granite Mtn. Loop Trail the going around Black Hills Trail. But the weather change all that. We stopped off to check out Cathedral Rock and take a break but the Bees had other ideas so we moved on. Next we hit the Amphitheater and took our break there. Rowdy eat a whole bag of beef jerky and drank some water that's when I notice a change was coming. We got back on the trail and started heading to Balance Rock and all at once it dump on us.
So I turned back and jumped on the Watershed Trail as the weather looked better going south, right. It rain on us the rest of the way back. Once we got on the Latigo Trail the rain lighted up and the wind pickup. We made it back to the trailhead soaking wet. Still a nice hike as the rain makes the desert look so clean :) :)
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Rain was predicted - but it looked further north - so we headed out in our rain gear to do a little loop. But then it started to drizzle and quickly turned into a hail storm by the time we got back to the trailhead. Sound of hail on the roof of TH is very loud. Poor Brad carrying George. I guess poor George too. Caroline and I kind of enjoyed it - we were jogging and laughing and then cheering for the boys to hurry up. Guess we should not have gone on the hike - but we are generally cautious people - so this was a fun misadventure.

Dinner at Pinnacle Peak Patio afterwards looking like wet dogs :lol:
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Knocked out my final segment of the Powerline Trail for the ATC, by hiking the southwestern portion of it on the MSP-North map. Looped back using the Hackamore Trail.

Saw a rattlesnake. I see them so often at MSP Northern now that I'm becoming blasé about it. I did replace the leash I use with Trixie, with a stronger and much shorter one with which I can control her better. She again did not even see the snake though.
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Bootlegger-Granite Mtn Loop-MSPN
I have a new pooch. She's awesome. Jack Russell and Italian Greyhound mix that we adopted from a rescue shelter. Small enough to make the wife happy but athletic for my hiking purposes. I've been so busy hiking with her that this is my first post about her, but I have multiple to catch up on.

This was a 6 mile loop that she handled like a champ, including the TWO rattlesnakes we encountered (photos to come), plus 4 horses, a million lizards (that she insisted on darting after 1 million out of 1 million times), and a red-tailed hawk. Another hiker encountered a gila monster about 100 yards from where I spoke to him, but I tried and failed to find it.

The weather was just ridiculously gorgeous. Sunny, slight cloud coverage, breeze, lower 70s. Omg. Where do we live? Paradise will actually be nicer than this?

Chipping away at the MSP ATC.
Powerline Road #2 - MSPN
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Totally thrilled that the wife is becoming more interested in hiking this year. Today I introdduced her to the Balanced Rock, while simultaneously knocking out more ATC miles. I haven't crunched numbers because I'm relying on maps that I mark up, but I don't have a lot left!

Spotted some beautiful wildflowers, and a bright red cardinal.

Permit $$
Nature Conservancy $6 per person, children under 16 - FREE.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Brown's Ranch Trailhead
From the 101 in North Scottsdale, drive North on Pima/Princess drive and go East on Happy Valley Road to the stop sign at the instersection of Happy Valley & Alma School Road. Follow Alma School Road North past Dynamite until it ends at Brown's Ranch Trailhead.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 34.0 mi - 44m
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 135 mi - 2h 4m
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 139 mi - 2h 15m
page created by Booneman on Feb 14 2015 9:14 pm
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