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Basalt Trail - Deem Hills, AZ

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Guide 51 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
2.9 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.59 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,773 feet
Elevation Gain -159 feet
Accumulated Gain 159 feet
Avg Time One Way 30 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.12
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
33  2017-11-12
BCT Yo-Yo No Go
5  2017-07-31 RowdyandMe
9  2017-05-13
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
11  2016-12-26
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
9  2016-04-04
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
10  2016-02-14
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
14  2016-01-31
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
8  2016-01-06
Deem Hills - Inner Figure Eight
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Barrett
author avatar Guides 14
Routes 9
Photos 1,311
Trips 283 map ( 1,483 miles )
Age 55 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Nov, Jan, Mar → 6 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:34pm
Official Route
12 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
It's all about that Bass-alt
by Barrett

Smack dab in the middle of Deem Hills Recreation Area, the Basalt Trail serves as a connector between several of the longer trails in the park, and does not originate at either of the main trail heads. The first access is from the west via the Deem Hills Park trailhead, which has bathrooms, drinking fountains, and several ramadas, by taking the Circumference Trail 0.87 miles along it's southern path. This will land you roughly in the middle of the Basalt trail. To start at the "trailhead" shown on the map, you can take the Circumference trail's northern path for 2.1 miles. The second access is from the east via the East Trailhead, which has only drinking fountains and a small ramada, by taking the Circumference Trail 0.59 miles. For the purpose of this description, I will use the eastern approach, as it is the quickest way to get to the Basalt.

After an elevation gain of approximately 300 feet along the Circumference Trail, you will arrive at 33.729893N -112.147908W, marking the eastern terminus of the Basalt trail. There you will find a convenient trail marker that shows a trail profile, GPS coordinates, even a scannable QR code that will provide trail information on your smart phone. Follow the arrow right for 0.11 miles until you reach another marker telling you to turn left. For the next 0.1 mile you will be on a combination of the Palisade and Basalt Trails, until you reach another marker where the Palisade Trail departs to the left and you continue on the Basalt proper. The view will open up to the inner basin, with an interesting section of black basalt rocks sitting on an light colored area loaded with Chalcedony, a fine-grained quartz prized by ancient inhabitants of the area that can be shaped into arrowheads, knives and scrapers. After 0.22 miles you will reach a 4 way intersection, with the Circumference trail on your left, Ridgeline straight ahead, and Basalt to your right. Take a right and continue 0.1 mile, to 33.730144N -112.153550W, the western terminus of Basalt at yet another intersection with the Circumference trail.

The vegetation along most of the trail is made up of Creosote, Paloverde, Ocotillo, Brittlebush, Saguaro, and Staghorn Cholla, but the geology is what gave this trail it's name.

Basalt is an igneous rock that in this area was formed by volcanic activity 2-5 million years ago. As the lava cooled, it fractured into the boulders you see covering most of the ground. Originally reddish-brown, the black coating, called desert varnish, is formed in arid climates over thousands of years on exposed rock by a combination of chemical processes and microbes, and is made primarily of manganese.
Another geologic feature that can be seen along this trail is exposed by the displacement of boulders to make the trail. A white crust, called a carbonate skin, is seen on the surface that was below ground. This coating also only forms in arid climates, and is the result of accumulation of usually calcium carbonate attaching to the stone as moisture moves up and evaporates through the soils surface.

While not the most dramatic trail in the park, the Basalt ties everything together and gives the hiker a front row seat to some classic Sonoran Desert geology.

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2015-05-27 Barrett
  • Deem Hills Map
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    Deem Hills Map

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 20 deeper Triplog Reviews
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Met @afrankie for a quick trip to Deem Hills. The humidity reminded me more of Florida! Felt good to REALLY sweat it out. We hit the summit and the little scramble to the true summits and then went back down.

Saw a couple literally dragging their shibe anu dogs to go on the hike. ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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I had plans with @CannondaleKid for another epic adventure. I had listened to it rain and storm all night so when my alarm went off at 3:45 this morning I looked at the radar north of Globe and it looked BAD. Hindsight being 50/50 (per former Auburn coach Pat Dye) I should have gone anyway because by 5:30, this not being Florida, but Phoenix, the rain was mostly gone. Can't go back in time... Sorry @CannondaleKid, I'll be ready next time.

So instead of just moping at least I got out this AM and hit up a pretty area at Deem Hills with a decent summit. I even scrambled a bit on the rocks that makeup the true summit on the southern portion of the massif's ridgeline.

Found a couple geocaches when I was done and called it a partial day's success.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Well it was a nice morning for a hike and when I got to the trailhead there was one car. I had a little extra time before my doctors appointment and decided to add the west half of the circumference trail to my hike.
I did get a picture of a Chuckwalla that I really wasn't sure it was one until I upload my photos. I had second thoughts maybe it was coloring on the rocks as it never moved and I used all the zoom my camera had.
And when I got close to the trailhead there was still one car mine :y:
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Did a slightly modified version of the Deem Hills Inner Figure Eight this morning. There must have been a hot air balloon fest going on this morning because I counted 18 balloons to the north. There was an odd Ford Mustang in the lot this morning when I got there (I was the first one there beside this Mustang). It was parked perpendicular to the parking spaces and across from the parking spaces. I didn't see anyone in the vehicle and it was still there at the end of my hike. Creepy! Anyway, started on the Circumference Trail and headed south to the Basalt Trail, then hopped on Palisades east back to Circumference to Ridgeline to Circumference again to Basalt/Palisades to the water res road back to the trailhead. Nice to get out for a longer morning quickie with some decent elevation.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Just a beautiful morning for a hike. I was really surprised by how many people that were out on the trails.
More flowers blooming and I did have a young lady tell me that seen a couple of snakes on the trail but didn't know what they were. I however did not have such luck. Of course seeing my first Chuckwalla of the year was nice.
Just a really nice pleasant morning.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Doing Deems
Pretty warm for a mid-winter day. So time to work up a little sweat. Has been years since I last hiked Deem Hills. Used to live just south but moved about the time the trails were being cut into this park. Trails are in good shape. A surprising number of people were hiking and biking today.

Lots of brittle brush and globe mallow plus some others.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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Quick trip out to get myself moving. I started with the water tower, then Palisades and Basalt were easy inclines. Ridgeline was my favorite of all trails here, no surprise. I found my way to Circumference on the north side and did a solid run back to the trailhead. This wasn't a very exciting set of trails but still fun to do.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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I decided on Deem Hills for this morning and a lot of other people felt the same way. When I hit the trailhead there were two parking spots left and I got one. But the time we started up people were parking on the no parking zone.
The weather was great and I notice more wildflowers blooming here.
When we got back to the trailhead I had a car waiting for my spot so we loaded up and let them have it.
I did meet a couple with lots of gear and of course I asked them what's up. They said they were training for the Grand Canyon. Then they asked me if I new of any other good places to train. And of course only one place came to mind so the week before they leave do Flatiron twice and they be good to go. They thanked me then asked me where Flatiron is and I told them.
I also told them that if they see a guy moving quickly up the mountain wearing really bright trail running shoes to just say hi to JJ as he flies past them.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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What a surprising beautiful morning for a hike :) . When we got to the trailhead the sun seemed to shine on us the whole way :y: .
The trail was not busy but it was muddy at the beginning. Once we reached the top it was hard packed dirty with a few puddles here and there. Just a very awesome day to be out.
Basalt Trail - Deem Hills
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I just a beautiful morning for a hike and a little warmer than it has been. The trails were pretty empty which is always nice. :) I did run into a couple of bikers pushing there bikes up the hill :sweat: .
And the views of downtown Phoenix were to die for :lol: .

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
To access the Deem Hills Park west trailhead, exit I-17 North at Happy Valley. Head west 2.2 miles to Stetson Valley Parkway, turn right (north). Drive .3 miles to Deem Hills Parkway, turn right and proceed .5 miles. Park will be on your right.
To access the east trailhead, exit I-17 North at Happy Valley. Head west .9 miles to 35th Ave, turn right and head north. In 1.5 miles, it will twist and turn, becoming first Pocono Way, then 33rd Avenue. When you reach Pinnacle Vista, turn left and head west .7 miles to 39th Avenue, where you will turn right and head north .1 miles to the trailhead on your left.
page created by joebartels on May 27 2015 9:17 pm
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