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Gooseneck Trail - MSPC, AZ

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Guide 36 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.9 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,535 feet
Accumulated Gain 392 feet
Avg Time One Way 2-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.81
Backpack No
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Gooseneck-Pemberton Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Crzy4AZ
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 96
Photos 2,588
Trips 589 map ( 2,119 miles )
Age 46 Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
MSP central region artery
by Crzy4AZ

The Gooseneck Trail is the main artery running through the Central (AKA Gooseneck) region of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and connects the Fraesfield Trailhead to the Tom's Thumb Trailhead. This 6.5 mile segment is part of the larger Maricopa Trail and offers side branches to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park trails as well.

The land surrounding this trail and its tributaries was purchased by the City of Scottsdale from Arizona State Land Trust at auction on December 7, 2011 for $41 million dollars ("The People's Preserve" p. 66 by Joan C. Fudala). This critical purchase created a continuous trail system between the Northern region (Granite Mountain, Brown's Mountain) and the Southern Region (Lost Dog, Gateway), and as of 2014 the McDowell Sonoran Preserve contains just over 30,000 acres and represents 1/3rd of the land total of Scottsdale.

The coordinates for the start of this trail segment are from GN1 trail marker at the Fraesfield Trailhead. There is ample parking and a separate equestrian area but no water and no map signs. The first 0.8 miles run parallel to Dynamite Blvd/Rio Verde Drive and are unremarkable. Traffic is visible from the trail. After crossing the road at 128th Street, the next 2.2 miles run parallel to 128th Street on its western border. Between markers GN3 and GN5 you will find very tall stands of creosote (some more than 6 feet tall). At GN5 marker is a branch point for Redbird Trail which is 1.6 miles in total length.

Continue on Gooseneck trail past the very large pack rat midden under a mesquite tree on the right side of the trail. Then at GN7 marker is the junction with Jomax Road and private property to the east. Continue to the four-way intersection at GN9/10 markers for quite the surprise: a very large ranching water tank. Investigate for animal tracks if the tank is full and stop for a break in the shade of the trees. There are Service Roads that run east/west here that could be used to make loops in the area.

The next 0.4 miles to the west of 128th Street run along the raised berm of the water tank and offer 180 degree view of Tom's Thumb and the associated ridgeline. After crossing 128th Street at markers GN12/GN13, travel one mile before reaching connecting trails to McDowell Mountain County park trail. If you continue on Gooseneck past markers GN17/19, the trail becomes more narrow with many small, picturesque granite rock formations. At the end of the trail is GN21 marker and you may choose to take Rock Knob Trail to Marcus Landslide Trail (west) or to the Pemberton Trail (east).

Look for the blue colored paper map of the Central region to explore the many loop permutations nearby or make this a shuttle hike as I did with one car at Frasefield TH and one at Tom's Thumb TH. High clearance vehicles can travel on the unpaved 128th Street between the two trailheads. Bikers and equestrians will find Gooseneck trail and the Central Region of the Preserve very inviting as well.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2014-12-26 Crzy4AZ

    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 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Went to the water tank this morning as per suggestion by another steward who saw kingfisher yesterday. It was first documented in conservancy. I went but unfortunately didn't see it. Instead, I scared the jeepers out of a bobcat which ran so fast that I couldn't take a photo. Herd of deer came by and I also managed to scare them off too. Saw the usual players and finally saw an osprey and captured it. It was first in the conservancy to document it :y: . Awesome. I also saw a vesper sparrow (being confirmed) which is a first for me :) Overall, excellent outing.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Went to the 128th street water tank with another steward and found out where to park without getting into trouble. Walked across the street into preserve trails which takes you into beautiful boulders...sure home to wonderful reptiles. We didn't see any....saw sleepy oranges mating. I really like to be around experienced people as I am constantly learning.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    First time on this trail and today was the perfect time to do it. I never seen another hiker on this trail and just three bike riders. I wasn't sure I would enjoy this hike but the weather made all the difference today nice and cool with a very nice breeze.
    I did see a small red snake early on but it was to quick for me to get a picture of it. Later on I was surprised by two mule deer and of course not fast enough to get a picture of them either. But I will say they appeared very healthy.
    This was really a nice quite little hike with some great views and being in no hurry made it that much nicer.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    On patrol for McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. Over the last 13 months I've been a steward there has been great improvement in reporting our hike/bike/horse trail patrols. The Conservancy has worked with the City of Scottsdale to determine goals for how often trails should be patrolled. The have been put into categories....once a day, twice a week, once a week and color coded on an online map. Plus a list is available to show when the trail was last patrolled. This morning I reviewed the list and saw that a once a week trail "Redbird" was last patrolled on October 8th.

    The list actually has good coverage because of the great increase in mountain bike patrollers who can cover a lot more trail.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    After doing little hike and then skinny-dipping in our own pool earlier in the day - - we somehow pulled it together to pack all four of us up for a pre-sunset hike in the Central Region MSP.

    We are closing on new house in few days - so the skinny dip in pool mid-day was a way to celebrate and have no regrets policy for old house.

    We hiked the Saguaro Nest trail loop and a little bit on Service Road #1 and Gooseneck Trail. Light was awesome. There was one other person out on trail - and she asked if we wanted a family picture - and it turned out to be the most perfect capture of who we are. Later I realized I knew her from IG and she's a MSC Steward - how crazy is that. Got back to car before sunset and had dinner at Twisted Lizard in the neighborhood.

    Saw several beautiful deer around the water tank on Gooseneck.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Needed a Plan B after lightning scared us away on Hawknest trail. So we took 136th St by car down to Dynamite and then left on 128th Street - to do a short hike in the Central/Gooseneck area. Did not actually hike Gooseneck trail, but is closest trail to post here.

    Chased a family of deer up Service Rd #1 to the mesquite forest on the berm of the huge water tank - two adults and two babies. So very sweet! Huge loud hawk swooping around.

    Then set out on Saguaro Nest Trail for a little loop and again the lightning just got too close. Oh well! Went on to dinner at Pita Jungle.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Date hike on a Saturday night. Marcus Landslide :next: Rock Knob trail :next: Gooseneck trail :next: then back.
    Beautiful light at sunset. Climbed around a little. Then dinner at Isabella's Kitchen.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Mountain biked the Gooseneck Trail this morning. Trying to knock out MSP trails for the All-Trail Challenge, by biking long and flat routes while hiking others. Loved this one for my beginner biking skills: pretty flat terrain, smooth trail, not crowded. Getting hooked to the biking, I confess!

    Biked up to the Fraesfield TH. Was running low on time so I didn't actually bike the trail back, and used 128th Street (much of which is unpaved) on the way back instead.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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    Today I completed all of the 6.5 miles of the Gooseneck Trail. Rather than do a shuttle hike or 13 mile out and back I built it into two loops and this one last section at the North end. Started at the Fraesfield parking lot and followed it SW along Rio Verde Rd and across Rio Verde Rd until intersection with Redbird Trail then returned. This was followed with Trailhead Hosting at Tom's Thumb from 10-noon. Crzy4AZ climbed Tommy Boy while I was there and we visited for a while. Great to see HAZ'ers on the trail.

    All Trails Club in McDowell Sonoran Preserve:
    123 of 133 completed.
    Gooseneck Trail - MSPC
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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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Fraesfield Trailhead
    13400 East Rio Verde Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85262
    No bathrooms or water at trailhead

    Easiest access is from Dynamite Boulevard from the west and through Fountain Hills north to Rio Verde Drive from the east.
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 1 h 58 min
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 2 h 4 min
    page created by Crzy4AZ on Dec 26 2014 11:01 pm
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