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Malpais Loop from Phillips TH - San Tan MRP, AZ

Guide 11 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3 of 5 
66 11 1
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.34 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,671 feet
Elevation Gain 259 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.64
Backpack No
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8  2021-06-06 Yoder
21  2018-09-09
San Tan Loop
6  2015-02-07
San Tan RP Outside Loop
10  2012-07-14
San Tan Trail - San Tan MRP
16  2012-01-29 trailzrus
5  2009-01-02 jman1283
Author jman1283
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 2
Photos 39
Trips 10 map ( 78 miles )
Age 56 Male Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:37am - 7:29pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Little Big Park
by jman1283

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Excellent hike at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, just outside of Queen Creek, Pinal County. Not far from my home in Chandler. The most strenuous sections are the sandy wash areas that really slow you down. Watch for equestrian traffic and cyclists, though I was really all alone for most of the hike. Great expansive valley view, towering rock wall cliffs and amazingly huge ancient saguaro cacti. There are benches throughout the hike where you can rest if you like and take in the vista.

Check out my gps route. The trail is extremely well marked but if you are like me, it's comforting to have that track log just in case you get turned around or confused. Also, because the park is open from 5 AM to 10 PM, if you happen to be hiking before dawn or after dusk you could have the gps track log to guide you when you can't see the signs. The mileage is just over 9 miles. The hike is really along three trails the SanTan Trail, Malpais Trail and the Hedgehog Trail. I lost gps signal briefly along part of the Malpais wash area but you just stay in the wash and follow the signs.

According to the park trail map and literature there are currently six trails with plans for more. In fact I noticed a couple of pieces of heavy earth moving equipment in a couple spots, evidence of trail grooming. One cyclist I spoke with said that he was amazed at the work they've done in the park since his last visit a week ago. In addition to more trails the park literature states there are plans for campsites also.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2009-01-02 jman1283
  • san tan map
    area related
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.

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To San Tan Park (Multiple) Trailhead

Phillips Trailhead (Main): From the Phoenix area go east on highway 60 (Superstition Freeway) through Mesa and past the new 202 overpass to Ellsworth. Go south on Ellsworth about 12 miles to Hunt Highway (Ellsworth basically ends at Hunt Highway). Turn left (east) on Hunt highway and go to Thompson Road (clearly marked) and turn south. Go to Phillips road and turn west (right) to the park entrance. From Hunt Highway signs clearly mark the way to San Tan mountain Regional Park.

Skyline / Goldmine Trailhead: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Empire Blvd. Travel west on Empire Blvd to Wagon Wheel Road. Take Wagon Wheel Road South to Skyline, and then west on Skyline to trailhead.

Rock Peak Wash Trailhead: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Hunt Highway. Travel east on Hunt Highway to Thompson Road south. Continue south about as the road becomes Brenner Pass Rd to the trailhead.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) [ 43.5mi - 1hr to Phillips ] [ 39.6mi - 52mins to Skyline ] [ 46.4m 1hr 6m to RPW ]
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 83.6mi - 1hr 58m to Phillips
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187mi - 3h 13m to Phillips
page created by jman1283 on Jan 02 2009 8:58 pm
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