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Derby Loop Trail - South Mountain, AZ

no permit
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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
1.4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.48 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,555 feet
Elevation Gain 39 feet
Accumulated Gain 49 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.64
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2015-05-29 joebartels
30  2014-01-25
SoMo Park Circle Route - 1934 Master Plan
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Sun  6:13am - 6:32pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Derby Fever!
by joebartels

Connector trail between Max Delta Trail and the intersection of Ranger Trail and Los Lomitas Trail.

Easy to follow. A decent little trail if hiked at sunrise or sunset. Probably used most by mountain bikers that just happen to be in the area. Which is ironic since they probably despise the nice ravines that give it character. Above the ravines the tread was smooth and less sandy than anticipated. Appeared lightly used by horseriders, not destroyed like Los Lomitas or Box Canyon.

Starting on the Ranger Trail from the Five Tables trailhead one hour before sunset I had shade the entire hike from the Ma Ha Tuak Ridgeline. Nobody loves this trail. It's close to the road, the area feels bleak, looks like a furnace and we live in a destination perk society. Understood.

Years ago a good friend mentioned memories of soap box races in the area. In an effort to feed my derby fever I spent a few days researching. Jump in for a ride...


A soap box derby track on a nearby hill featured such guests as Pat McMahon, Wallace & Ladmo. Drivers age 11 through 15 raced for an all expenses paid trip for the champion to the All American Soap Box Derby finals in Akron, Ohio ( run nationally since 1934 ). "Class A" groups are ages 13 to 15, and the "Class B" division is ages 11 to 12. The Jaycee Hall held clinics covering rules and explained design ideas. A picnic at Encanto Park was held the prior weekend. KPHO Channel 5 televised some of the events live.

1959 - Derby director Mike Kennelly, whom built the original track, expected more than 100 participants in the race. The boys competed for $15,000 in college scholarships. The derby was under the direction of the Phoenix Junior chamber of commerce. Sponsors included Phoenix Chevrolet dealers and KOOL TV. Entries met rigid specifications and built their own car for no more than $15. Official wheels and axles were $20 extra, apparently a standard. Car and driver weight was limited to 250 pounds. The race ran in three car heats on a 600 foot derby track. 700 feet of stopping area was allowed. Speeds up to 26 mph were expected by the finish line.

1961 - Tucson Daily Citizen called the SoMo track "Jimmy Bryan Junior Speedway". Tucson boys won the 1960 series. In a letter to the editor one Tucsonan had his feathers in a ruffle since a better equiped track (closed) in Tucson lost sponsors due to lack of participation and enthusiasm.

1963 - Wheel and steering kits were made available free of charge along with a sponsor for each car. The track was 682 feet and averaged 26 miles per hour. In addition to winning, trophies ranged from best upholstery to brake assemblies. Imagine tennis balls over axle assemblies for a suspension system.

1971 - Girls first entered the local derby!

1972 - Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, withdrew it's sponsorship.

1973 - 62 boys and 7 girls competed. The national soapbox derby winner received a $7,500 scholarship. A total of $30,110 in scholarships was shared by the top nine national winners. Rules for competition required carts be built by the driver for $45 or less. Without a major sponsor it was the beginning of the end... the lightest field in years.

1975 - 32 entries

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2015-06-05 joebartels

    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 Triplog Reviews
    Derby Loop Trail - South Mountain
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    I needed a hike. HAZ site was saying I had hiked 57% of the trails in SM. So I figured it was time to try out some of the missing trails. Mike was also up for a hike, so we met at the 19th Ave TH at 6:30am. Headed out the Ma Ha Tuak trail, then onto the Derby Loop, on to the Los Lomitas, even threw in the Judith Tunell, over to the Max Delta and finally the T-Bone back to the TH. The 7 miles was interesting, but I needed some elevation which is missing from most of these trails.

    So seeing as the Warrior was right there... Mike said he had somethings to do, so he took off. Man that Warrior is a butt kicker, especially after 7 miles of other trails. It took almost exactly 2 hours to hike the 7 miles. The Warrior took me 10 minutes less than 2 hours just to do the 1.5 miles to the Alta and back. But it's done.

    No other people on the trails, at least seen by us. We saw several cotton tails, quail and a few Jacks. But my high point is after several hundred miles of hiking in SM I saw a fox today. Looked up just to see him running beside the trail and a leap over the edge. This guy had very red fur, including a full furry red tail. Really surprised me.

    Almost no wildflowers.
    Derby Loop Trail - South Mountain
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    Alta National from 19th Ave
    First time hiking from the 19th Ave trail head which meant a few new trails. We started out on the steep, get the blood flowing, Warrior trail, then traversed the ridge line on Alta, picked up National, down Ranger, used Derby Loop as a connector, then brought it home via Ma Ha Tuak. Sweet loop, saw very few, and stayed dry.
    Derby Loop Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    SoMo Circle Route – Jan2014

    38.17 miles, 4:40:29 time, 1870 AEG (per FitBit)

    Do two half SoMo’s make it whole?

    Started on Desert Classic and headed towards Pima Trail Head. Cut through Beverly Canyon and onto Javelina Canyon Trail. Found a side trail that dumped me out by a reservoir by a fire station. This allowed me to join onto Highline Canal Urban Trail without skirting along a section of Baseline Road.

    Once inside South Mountain Park, to the Box Canyon Loop up to Las Lomitas Picnic Ramada (closed to automobile access) and onto Las Lomitas Trail to Ranger Trail where we discovered a new trail – Derby Loop Trail.

    At the intersection of Central Avenue and San Juan Lookout Road I was stopped by a Ranger. He indicated that access was closed due to a special event – “National Trail Trek Day” :next: ... index.html

    ” The 18th National Trail Trek is January 25, 2014!
    Barcode #99170, Viewable on-line 11-2-13. Registration opens 11-16-13 @ 10:30 a.m.
    Rain or Shine! This 15.5 mile hike will take you from the easternmost edge of the mountain (Pima Canyon) traversing the South Mountains all the way to San Juan Lookout near the western edge. We provide the food, water, round-trip transportation, various prizes and surprises -- you provide the miles and miles of smiles! Cost is $50.

    Please note: Pre-registration is required for the National Trail Trek; absolutely no walk-in registrations will be taken the day of the event. Also, no mail-in registrations will be accepted.

    If you have photo images from the 2013 NTT please e-mail then to and include photo credit info.
    South Mountain Trail Trek Map
    National Trail Trek Information:
    • Average hiking time – 5 to 6 hours for 15.5 miles
    • Half-way shuttles: you can obtain a ride in the van at the half-way point (7.5
    miles) if you cannot continue. The van will drop you off where you parked at the Activity Complex.
    • Transportation: Bus from Activity Complex parking/check-in off Central Ave. to Pima Canyon – approximately 10 miles and takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Vans used for transporting you from the end – approximately 5.5 mile drive.
    *You can have someone drop you off at the Pima Canyon parking lot. Be aware – you must have your NTT wristband to obtain the lunch and get a ride back in the vans to the Activity Complex. Your driver cannot drive to San Juan to pick you up.
    For questions about the National Trail Trek, call Event Coordinator Christine Romo @ (602) 262-7393 or e-mail
    Click here to see 2012 hike images!

    Oh well, had a good conversation with the Ranger. Introduced him to a free GPS app for his iPhone – Trimble Outdoors before pushing off to more or less retrace my route home.

    Spotted my first Mexican Poppy bloom of the year… :)

    South Mountain Ranger Maps
    Detailed :next: ... 062880.pdf
    East Section :next: ... nteast.pdf
    West Section :next: ... ntwest.pdf

    Spotted my first Mexican Poppy bloom of the year.
    Brittlebush blooms in lower washes plus some Desert Marigold blooms and Fiddlenecks and Bladderpods.

    Permit $$
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    Map Drive

    To hike
    page created by Randal_Schulhauser on Jan 25 2014 6:10 pm
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