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Cow Poke Trail - MSPN, AZ

no permit
299 26 0
Guide 26 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.7 of 5 by 7
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Distance One Way 0.63 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,649 feet
Elevation Gain 112 feet
Accumulated Gain 112 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 1
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2017-10-31 RowdyandMe
5  2016-11-13
Soapberry Wash Trail - MSPN
10  2016-03-27
McDowell Preserve North
6  2016-02-04
Dancing in Granite
24  2016-01-17
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPN
2  2015-12-31
Bootlegger Trail - MSPN
8  2015-07-08
Bootlegger-Coyote Cyn-Granite Mtn Loop
3  2015-07-08
Bootlegger-Coyote Cyn-Granite Mtn Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Jan, Dec
Sun  6:14am - 6:26pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

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  • MSPN Brown Insert
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    MSPN Brown Insert
  • MSPN Trail List
    area related
    MSPN Trail List
  • MSPN Gate Schedule
    area related
    MSPN Gate Schedule
  • McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
    area related
    McD Sonoran Preserves - North 2015 - 1
  • Axle & West
    area related
    Axle & West

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
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Dancing in Granite
This is a perfect set of trails to take out-of-state visitors. Lots of beautiful granite boulders, desert views in every direction, easy, smooth trails. We did this back in December in the rain and it was really "mistical" with the clouds billowing below the hills. Love doing it today on a beautiful sunny day. Weather was perfect.
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Gamboling Around Granite
Very nice day for a hike, but we wanted something interesting but not too demanding. The area around Granite Mountain sounded just right. Used a bunch of trails to construct and easy 8ish mile route. A few folks on the trails, mostly close to the trailhead. Enjoyed all the granite outcroppings and Coyote Canyon was a nice surprise.
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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We wanted some sort of family hike - but took forever to get packed up and was very hot by the time we got started around 8am. George walked on his own some but needed to be carried. Turned around when Brad's water was half out - - Caroline was devastated and had a mini-tantrum since she had plenty of water. We talked about how sad it would be to have a trail rescue or Daddy in the hospital from dehydration. She eventually understood. Good lesson that in a group hike you are only as strong as the person with the least amount of water.

So we regrouped and went to a super swanky fancy ritzy park by the fire station on Alma School Road. Kids had fun and Brad and I stretched out and relaxed on the benches and had a picnic.

Ran into Paul on MSC Patrol on Cow Poke trail - he had a huge pick axe in one hand and big clippers in the other hand - - he looked a little bit like a serial killer - but I know him well and about Patrol duties - made me laugh a little though thinking of what an out of towner would surmise running into him on a remote trail!
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Bootlegger-Coyote Cyn-Granite Mtn Loop
The Turtle needed to get off of the concrete trails and do something different. I showed him some boulders ans saguaros.

We hit up the Northeast portion of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and some new trails or both of us. Once again got lucky with the weather. Upper 70's to start, probably low 90's to finish. Clouds filtered the sun and the breeze blew just enough to keep us cool.

The Coyote Canyon Trail was a pleasant surprise and interesting area.

Lots of Doves, Quail, Rock Squirrels, but that's about it. 2 bikers, and 3 hikers were all we saw.

Good hike Mr Turtle... Lets get that arm healed so we can get you on some other hikes.

** Note to future hikers that want to hike out of Trailheads on the Eastern side of this complex. There is No Parking at any of the Trailheads, other that the Granite Mountain Trailhead **
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Hawknest Old Paint Wash loop MSPN
Friday morning date hike - very unusual but Brad took the day off for our Memorial Day weekend trip to Pine/Strawberry. So it was his idea to get in a hike just the two of us before our trip. Was last day of Kindergarten for Caroline - what a great year it's been.

Picked this loop to explore Old Paint Wash trail in its entirety and to make sure I can legitimately say I'm still in "ATC" all trails club with the newest trails added March 2015. We had hiked Hawknest to what I thought was the end on Christmas Day and sure enough the signs do show it finishing at that bent and chopped saguaro. However - it will extend further west by mid-summer. Construction on Phase 2C trails is complete for the summer - but signs won't be up (and another new Northern region map) until mid-summer. So for now I've done all the signed portions of the "super north"-eastern region of the Preserve.

The 0.5 north/south segment between Hawknest and Old Paint Wash is called "dove valley extension" on our MSC patrol reporting page; however none of the maps call it that. We will see how it all sorts out. There's an old AZ Game and Fish water tank for game at OP11 marker with a bunch of older signs and barbed wire.

Old Paint Wash is not really a trail - it is a natural sandy wash. You have to trudge through it. Seems like bikers would hate it - might have to push bike through some parts of it. Dove Valley Trail runs parallel to it with multiple places you can connect between the two trails.

Took Cow Poke trail (the newly extended part) back to 136th Street Express and saw dozens of beautiful saguaro blooms. A few at eye level. Saguaro stands around Granite Mountain are the best in the Preserve. Now I've done all 6.7 miles of 136th Street Express.

Home for lunch - nap - packed for trip - got to cabin by 8pm. Very nice start to the weekend.

saguaro blooms
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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MSP North Loop
This was a mountain bike meander-patrol, with the aim of furthering my All Trails Challenge progress as an MSP Steward. Biking these flatter trails is just amazing. I'm getting a real high from looping and turning and dipping along them. Of course the flattest ones are still hilly here and there, and I wound up walking up slopes a few times. For the most part though, sticking to trails labeled on the official map as "easy" was a good bet.

Relatively crowded throughout, with bikers and hikers and a bunch of horse riders too. Balanced Rock had so many people (7-8) crowding around it that I didn't bother taking any photos. I'll come back another day.

The bike ride revealed at least 2 trails that aren't on HAZ yet. Will add them later.
Cow Poke 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.
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Coyote. Canyon-Granite Mountain Loops
I decided to combine two loops into a figure eight. It was a little chilly at the start but I warmed up pretty quick. The trailhead was pretty full when I got there. Once Rowdy and myself got started the hike went smooth. There were quite a few people out maybe working of Christmas Dinner and drinks.
The views were great on every side of Granite Mountain. It seems like it has been awhile since we had clear skies. Seeing three Crested-Saguaros on one hike was a real treat. I really enjoyed this area and will do some more exploring, but first Rowdy is going to get fitted for a new harness.
In the spring I am sure this area will be bloomimg nicely.
Cow Poke Trail - MSPN
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Saturday night date hike with Brad to check out the new loop off Granite Mtn loop trail.
Parked at the tiny pull out at Dove Valley Rd/136th Street.

The signs for the trail are temporary paper signs - I think this trail will be very popular once the word gets out. Cool water tank from ranching days. Older motorized vehicle trail signs still in place.

The little slot canyon is really pretty and we were down in it about 45 minutes before sunset - - the light was incredible. Very unique area of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Had an encounter with a mountain lion - first time and I would be fine if it was the last time. In a bend of the canyon I saw up ahead him/her cross the canyon and I just froze. :o Was far enough up ahead of me (and the only way out) that I wasn't sure that was what I had really seen. Brad came up past me with his headphones on - and I told him to stop and wait but he didn't see anything and kept going. I walked briskly looking up to the right side of the little canyon rock walls - I could HEAR the deep, heaving growly-type breathing and I started yelling to Brad to tell him to take his head phones off. Maybe that was a good thing. I looked to where the breathing was coming from but couldn't see anything. Scooted out pretty fast and was then right where the canyon opens up into a sandy wash. Whew!! I know there's at least one mountain lion in the northern section of the Preserve - - and if you are hanging out at sunrise/sunset in remote areas -- I guess this is what you get!! Plus the water tank just ahead of where I saw him cross attracts deer and javalina (tracks everywhere) - probably a good place to "pick up dinner" if you're a mountain lion.

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Map Drive

To Dove Valley Trailhead
From intersection of Pima Road North and Dynamite Blvd - go east on Dynamite to 136th Street.
Go north on 136th Street past the Granite Mountain TH to Dove Valley Road.

There is no official trailhead (yet) - but there is room for 2-3 cars along the roadside at the intersection of 136th Street and Dove Valley Road.
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 2 h 5 min
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 2 h 11 min
page created by joebartels on Dec 26 2014 9:30 pm
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