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The 136th Street spur is a less traveled and rugged trail that eventually joins the Sunrise Peak Trail. For the suburban hiker, this is a quick way to transition from the safety and sanctity of the gated community to the hot, wild, and deserted desert. Driving through the gates of the entrance brings an immediate change from community to nature as if walking onto a movie set.
Starting in a wash that parallels 136th street for about 1.4 Miles, the trail leads to climbing over a few challenging boulders and slowly ascends to meet with a trail to the left that climbs quickly to the junction. Ravine walls on both sides of the wash filter the community life from the hikers temporary world and provide beautiful views as well as solitude. The first thing that I noticed was the erosion of the land, both on the sides and the floor of the wash. Nature is clearly at silent work here. The wash is littered with beautiful and unique Saguaros and Jumpin' Cholla. The wash, as well as the trail leading out of the wash, is not well maintained and therefore, offers the hiker a sense of the pioneer spirit. The last turn from the wash onto the trail that switchbacks up the left side, is marked, however the sign is small and is off to the left somewhat. The sign is easily missed.
The only "signs of man" that I found were two overpasses from 136th street to the surrounding gated community and some footprints in the wash. While in the wash the trail is not steep, but some of the boulders are a little foreboding. I treasured my climbs on Camelback Mt from Echo Canyon as experience to deal with the boulders. As the hiker leaves the wash and begins the ascent on the left, she/he can see the beautiful Sunrise peak and most of the Valley below. Interestingly, should 136th street continue through the landfill it would become Gilbert Road.
From the trailhead it is about 1.6 miles to the Sunrise trail intersection. Once joining the main trail, the hiker can turn to the Lost Dog Wash (2.1 miles) or continue to Sunrise Peak and on to the Via Linda trailhead (2.8 miles). The trail is very rugged, in some places very steep, and is not recommended for horses or bikes but, offers the hiker the sense of being totally alone in the desert. Since the trail is not hiked by many it is possible to lose yourself in the buzzing of the occasional fly or the total silence.
Shuttle: It should also be noted that this hike starting or ending from the 136th Street TH combined with any of the other Via Linda Street TH options (from the 124th St-Lost Dog Wash, 128th St., or 145th St.) would make for an excellent car shuttle hike opportunity with minimal driving time-distances to retrieve your other shuttle vehicle. If planning a shuttle which includes the 136th Street TH, it is recommended to end your shuttle hike hiking down the 136th Street Spur Trail wash to end at the 136th Street TH.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.