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Black Hill Trail - MSPN, AZ

no permit
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Guide 51 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.6 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,502 feet
Elevation Gain 85 feet
Accumulated Gain 135 feet
Avg Time One Way 45 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 2.45
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
38  2019-04-12
Balanced Rock Loop
15  2018-03-17
Whiskey Bottle Loop - MSPN
13  2018-03-08
Little Granite Mountain - McDowells
10  2018-01-14
Maricopa Trail - Bartlett Dam to Pemerberton
18  2017-02-16
Whiskey Bottle Loop - MSPN
10  2017-01-29
McDowell Preserve North
6  2017-01-09
Granite Mountain Loop - McDowells
1  2016-02-05 Crzy4AZ
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author DarthStiller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 230
Photos 6,011
Trips 434 map ( 3,778 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:26pm
Official Route
16 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Old jeep road, new trail
by DarthStiller

This trail is an old jeep road that has been redone a little bit to serve as one of the main entry trails into the new northern expansion of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It starts at the Fraesfield Trailhead and heads directly north, terminating at Powerline Road #2. It intersects with three other trails before its termination point, providing some loop options on the eastern side of this new area.

The trail starts out very wide, obviously a road that's been there for several years. To your left (west) Fraesfield Mountain is visible, as is the Whiskey Bottle Trail carved into the northeastern side of it. Directly ahead to the north is the powerline, which isn't the greatest view. Just beyond the powerline however, is Granite Mountain. At about the half mile point, the official trail branches off from the road and becomes a single track. This spot is marked well, and is just before an abandoned steel tank of some kind. The single track eventually turns back to jeep roads, alternating along its way between the two. Views of Four Peaks to the east are visible and the Mazatzals to the northeast.

The vegetation for the most part is scrub brush, some mesquites and palo verdes. Not many cacti are seen until the northern end of the trail, where a saguaro forest and teddy bear and buckhorn chollas begin to appear near Granite Mountain. Along the single track sections, the vegetation becomes closer and thicker to the trail.

At the termination point, you have the option to follow the Powerline Road #2 to another area of the park east or west, or continue north on the Granite Mountain Trail to the Granite Mountain Loop Trail. All options lead to other intersections of trails that can loop you back to the Fraesfield Trailhead.

This trail and area in general seems to be equally used by hikers, bikers, trail runners, and equestrians.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2014-02-17 DarthStiller
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  • McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
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    McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
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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 17 deeper Triplog Reviews
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Dropped kids at school - had few friends over for breakfast/tea - then drove to Fraesfield TH around lunch for a short hike.

Black Hill going southeast :next: 136th Street Express :next: Morning Vista :next: back to TH via Black Hill. Grass is very thick green in the shade. I like 136th St Express trail in this section.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Had to work again this weekend. Two weekends this month - which is rare for me. I have to go into the hospital for about 4-5 hours Saturday and Sunday and get paged at home with cross-cover. Good to pay the bills but wearing me out this month.

Date hike on Sunday night. Did an easy hike from Fraesfield TH: Black Hill :next: 136 th St Express :next: Morning Vista :next: Black Hill trail. Dinner at Pita Jungle afterwards. Only got paged once while out on the hike. Biblical sky of clouds and light on the drive home.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Date hike - wanted something with not much elevation gain after hiking earlier in the day. Cloud cover made hike nice and luckily no gnats. Noticed an old AZGF water catchment basin off Turpentine trail that I had never noticed before. Just seems so silly and all it does is attract biting bugs and millions of bees. I think all the animals have lived just fine in the desert without human-created watering holes for a long time. Although maybe the real purpose is to attract animals to hunt them.

Saw 5 jack rabbits and heard/saw one very loud Diamondback rattlesnake. He was right by trail's edge and so loud - I scooted away then looked back and Brad with headphones on didn't hear it and was about to walk right near the snake as he's all coiled up and ready to strike. I yelled at Brad to move over - - and all was well. Snake stayed coiled/raised up but then settled down and stopped rattling.

Changed in parking lot and then had dinner at Mesquite Grill at McDowell golf club. There is a hamburger with bacon and pulled pork and cheese that is out of this world good. I love sitting out on their patio watching sunset.

barrel cactus blooms here and there - - few marigolds too
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Well it was beautiful day to be out on a trail. This wasn't the hike I planned, but it's the one my ankle would let me do. The trails were really busy with bike riders and only a few hikers.
The Preserve itself is really beautiful this time of year and not so much as flowers but all the other life it has. :y:
This is really a beautiful place to see.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Got to Fraesfield TH around 8am and only few cars are there. Did a lasso loop hike by taking blackhill all the way to powerline and came back to turpentine. Took turpentine to granite mtn TH. Took 136th st back down to dixileta, then back to blackhill. Despite gorgeous weather, only saw a few bikers, two hikers and one horse.
Saw 2 Hawks, one new bird, 2 new plants and serenaded by a male cardinal. Found a smartphone with verizon coverage. As I was hiking back, tried to have an action plan on how to return it to it's owner. As I reached the TH, it rang. Answered it and it was his friend locating the phone. Waited for them to drive to TH (oregon license plates)and returned it. They were very appreciative. I hope they had wonderful experience in the preserve. :)
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Latigo to Whiskey bottle
Got to TH little before 8am. Parking lot is a little fuller than expected. Then saw a HUGE group of hiker's assembly. Decided to go in a different direction from jane rau - latigo- whiskey bottle- blackhill- dixileta back to latigo. Saw very few people despite gorgeous weather.
Theme today is Ravens. Saw lots of them. Heard em and finally was able to get some pictures of em. They like to hang out latigo-whiskey bottle area.
Biker told me about a badger that lives in that area. Will look for it on future hikes.
I got lucky by living here. What an amazing place to live. :y:
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Started the day off with educational and fun MSC steward retreat sitting between @Sun_Ray and @neilends - - and I gave a short presentation on use of Instagram for digital stewardship.

Then I knew I only had 1.8 miles left to hit the 133 mile mark for ATC challenge (all trails club) for hiking every trail in the McDowell preserve. So I told Brad we should do it as a family hike and have some sort of celebration afterwards.

Black Hill :next: Monument :next: 136th Street Express :next: Dixileta :next: Whiskey Bottle :next: parking lot.

So he and the kids plotted a very sweet surprise (although I did sneak a peek since they were working at the kitchen table LOL) that included a "finish line" of gold paper tied between the two kids' waists. And Caroline made four posters that they held up for me as I busted through the finish line paper. They were cheering and playing kazoo/harmonica type noise makers. So stinkin' sweet. I will never forget that moment!!! And it was at trail marker WB4 forever etched in my brain's hiking file cabinet.

I know it's not physically hard to hike every trail in the McDowells compared to Supes or Grand Canyon....but I think @Sun_Ray will agree with me that it's harder than you think to plan out all these segments without repeating a bunch. And doing all the teeny-tiny linking pieces too. Need patience more than anything. Few tough ones (Thompson Peak and Tom's Thumb from south) but mostly the McDowells are very accessible to people of varying knee/neck/back abilities.

So after hiking in the McDowells for 10 years - - I've done every dad-gum single one of them! :y: :y: :y: :y: :y: And to celebrate with the kids and Brad was something super special. Went to Pinnacle Peak Patio (it's the last year of its existence on that property) for drinks, dinner, dancing to celebrate afterwards.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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ATC challenge update: 131.6/133.4

Almost there for ATC! Last few years Brad has planned Thursday days off from work for date hikes and this is our first of 2015. He yields to me to pick the hike and I try to find areas that he hasn't seen before.

It was a very chilly and windy 45 degrees at Granite Mtn trailhead and we layered up with several hats and coats.

Powerline Rd #2 :next: Granite Mtn :next: Granite Mtn Loop :next: Branding Iron :next: Cholla Mtn loop :next: Balanced Rock :next: (lunch at balanced rock) :next: Chuck Wagon :next: Powerline Rd #2 :next: Black Hill :next: Turpentine :next: 136th Street Express :next: the road where Brad picked me up like a hitchhiker :sl:

Saw only 5 other people all day. Wind was killer. Branding Iron is pretty and you can see the double crested saguaro over on nearby Coyote Canyon trail. Love the juniper trees on Balanced Rock - crazy to see juniper in MSP (but is 2856 feet elevation).

Went home - took quick nap - picked up kids - ballet class - then with kids straight to community center hot tub spa to soak muscles. Awesome day.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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Black Hill Morning Vista loop MSP
ATC challenge update: 126.2/133.4

Was supposed to have all afternoon to hike around Fraesfield TH but kids got sent home from school for no hot water. Waited until Brad got home then zipped up to do a little loop of Black Hill segment never done down to intersection with 136th Street Express trail (no segment GPS on HAZ yet) and then over Morning Vista and back down.

Highlight was hearing and then seeing a buck chasing a doe in some love ritual. His antlers were pointed down as he ran. She would stop and let him get close and then she would spring/bounce away. I got a little video of it - posted on my Instagram gallery (same name Crzy4AZ). A few minutes later the buck spotted me and we had a little stare down. Think he was trying to tell me that I had ruined his love vibe - sorry dude #buzzKill.
Black Hill Trail - MSPN
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McDowell Sonoran Wandering
I started out at the Fraesfield TH. I was the only vehicle in the lot. I headed down the Gooseneck trail to where I left off the previous week.

I explored Redbird / service road connectors before heading back on the Redbird trail. When I went past the Fraesfield TH, the lot was half full. The mountain bikers came out in full-force at 10am.

I headed North by taking:
Blackhills trail
Bootlegger trail
Granite Mtn Loop trail
Cow Poke Trail
Dove Valley trail

I explored on the old BLM roads that are now part of the preserve. I went the Tonto forest Granite MNT boundary. There are numerous old BLM roads in this area. It looks like there are plans for a numerous new trails. I seen a bunch flagging for new trails.

On the way back I took the new Coyote Canyon trail. This trail is a loop that connects the Dove Valley trail with the Granite Mtn. Loop trail. The Coyote trail starts off is a cool canyon. It's about 90% done. The trail sign is taped on a post and one of intersections has a post without a sign.

I took the following trails back:
Granite Mtn. Loop trail
Bootlegger trail
136 Street Express trail
Morning Vista trail
Black Hills trail

The weather was perfect. Even though you're in a city park, you can get to the middle of no-where and explore. The Tonto Forest connection opens up a lot of possibilities.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Fraesfield Trailhead
13400 East Rio Verde Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85262
No bathrooms or water at trailhead

Easiest access is from Dynamite Boulevard from the west and through Fountain Hills north to Rio Verde Drive from the east.
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 1 h 58 min
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 2 h 4 min
page created by DarthStiller on Feb 17 2014 9:13 pm
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