Have Your Contraband Hootch on the Rocks!
An easygoing hike into a classic Sonoran landscape requiring minimal time or exertion. Would make a great hike for visitors wanting to get into the desert without getting too far from the parking lot. Also serves as an access to the larger MSP trail system.
This well-groomed, well-signed trail begins just past the Granite Mountain Trailhead kiosk. Set off confidently in the direction of your bliss with the view to Granite Mountain before you. All the favorites of the Sonoran landscape -- palo verde, ocotillo, saguaro -- are here.
At 0.3 miles, the first of several large granite rock formations appear alongside the trail, offering shade, shelter, or a seat. At this point, one might choose to contemplate the geology of the area, arriving at the profound realization that not only is there granite all around but also below, as evinced by the small protrusions of rock in sections along the trail.
As you press on, making your oh-so-gentle gain in elevation, you will be carried along to the junction, at 0.7 miles, with Saddle Mountain Trail, which provides a short connector to the southern portion of the Granite Mountain Loop trail. At this point, you would not be faulted for being completely overcome by the majesty of your surroundings and you may wish to turn around and ponder on your return the 1.4 miles of magnificence. Surrender. There is no shame.
If you haven't seen enough, carpe your inner diem and make a drunken beeline to the miniature saguaro grove that awaits you at the 1.1 mile mark. Bring the kids and astound the folks back east with a first-rate, classic Arizona photo-op in front of a trailside cluster of stately, multi-armed cactus. Yes, Grandma, they're that big.
For those whose curiosity is piqued by the gentle, mysterious giants, learn a little something about what's going on inside of one at mile 1.2 where there is an opportunity to see up-close a saguaro in a state of decay. The trail then continues another tenth of a mile to its terminus at the eastern portion of the Granite Mountain Loop. Continue on into the heart of this regional gem or return from whence you came, basking in the certitude that you have masterfully made efficient use of quality trail time. You rock.
Bring plenty with you as there is none at the trailhead
Camping is not allowed in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
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.