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Turnbuckle Trail - Skyline RP, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
2.6 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,513 feet
Elevation Gain 580 feet
Accumulated Gain 612 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 5.04
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Page 1,  2
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
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Dec
Sun  6:14am - 6:35pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
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  • Skyline Regional Park 2019 Map
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    Skyline Regional Park 2019 Map
  • Skyline Regional Park 2019 Trails
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    Skyline Regional Park 2019 Trails

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This hike is listed as One-Way.

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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
Turnbuckle Trail - Skyline RP
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To (mostly) avoid the hell that is I-10, I drove an extra 30 miles to get to Skyline. First, I headed north out of Phoenix to I-303. I took that around the northwest corner of Phoenix to the far west end of Bell Rd., in Surprise. There’s a lot less traffic on I-303 than I-101. (Taking the 303 also avoided the hell that is Bell Rd. through Sun City.) Heading west, Bell Rd. turns into Sun Valley Parkway, which loops around the west side of the White Tanks. Sun Valley Parkway is four separated lanes, mostly 55 mph. Doing the speed limit, I was passed by a school bus. 🙄

On the way into Skyline Regional Park, on Watson Rd., I passed a cluster of cop cars off to the side. Good thing I was still doing the speed limit. (When I left, four hours later, they were still there: I wonder what was going on?)

Turnbuckle Trail was so wide & well-groomed Sonja Henie could have skated on it. If it was 50° colder. And Phoenix actually got some moisture that could be turned into ice. In any case, most of the pedestrian traffic seemed to be heading up Turnbuckle towards the Valley Vista Trail saddle.

Granite Falls Trail was not quite as wide or well groomed as Turnbuckle, but it was still no look walking, except when crossing washes. The lack of ankle breakers makes the whole Skyline trail system ideal for trail runners, though I did not see any people off of Turnbuckle.

Chuckwalla Trail, which swings out wide to the west, is similar to Granite Falls, but with fewer wash crossings. Both Chuckwalla and Granite Falls do, however, cross many jeep trails. Skyline Regional Park has trail signs every ¼ mile: It is near impossible to get lost. If you hike for more than five minutes without seeing a trail sign, head back to where you made your last turn. Chuckwalla climbs 200 ft. — man the defibrillator! — in 1.25 miles to Indian School Rd. I’m serious. That’s what it is, even though it looks like just another old jeep trail. From Indian School Rd., Chuckwalla turns back east, for a mile, until it connects back to the north end of Granite Falls.

It was on Chuckwalla Trail that I realized Skyline Regional Park had no flowers (yet anyway). There were mountains, and hills, but no interesting rock formations. There was one jeep trail into a wash that looked like it would be fun to ramp on a mountain bike, but I never saw a single MTB all day, not even in the parking lot. Nor did I see any horses. (Though I did see tracks for both.) In other words, there really wasn’t much to photograph other than saguaro. So, that is what I did.

After a few minutes Granite Falls connects back to Turnbuckle. From that intersection to the Valley Vista Trail summit, is a 700 ft. climb in about a mile. However, Turnbuckle — or Turn-BACK-le as I kept malapropping it in the hike video 🤪 — has a jillion switchbacks, so while a good blow, it is not too steep.

Valley Vista Trail is the rockiest, narrowest, trail I hiked on in Skyline, but no worse than going up the south side of Shaw Butte. There is another guide post at the summit, but I went about 100 yds. past that. It requires some very minor scrambling, but is level, and leads to a much more panoramic view of Skyline Regional Park and points south. Unfortunately, the distant view was obscured by awful smog along the I-10 corridor. It was so bad, I could barely make out the Estrella Mountains, only 10 miles away. I could see Luke Air Force Base to the east. Several pairs of F-16s blasted overhead during my hike, but I could never deploy my camera fast enough to get decent video of them. 😕

While taking a break at the Valley Vista lookout, I dropped my camera. 😣 Then the battery on my crappy Garmin 62S nearly died. 😕 My backup batteries were dead. 😡 I cut my break short, put the 1-bar batteries back in the GPS, then hauled ass back down Valley Vista Trail. Rather than continue my loop to Skyline Crest Trail, I bailed down Turnbuckle towards the trailhead. I was a quarter mile away when the 1-bar GPS batteries went kaput. I got to my car and couldn’t find my phone. 😱 Panic set in. :pk: , I thought I would have to back track two miles and 900 AEG — one way — to the lookout, and hope my phone had not grown legs. 🙏🏻 After much 🤬, I found my phone in the bottom of my pack. 😍 Hiking! 😉

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

I've seen some brittlebush elsewhere in the Valley, but despite the high temps this week, zilch in Skyline RP.
Turnbuckle Trail - Skyline RP
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Skyline Regional Park
after recent off-trail sunday hikes, wanted something longer on an actual trail
have thought about doing the skyline trails, but didn't really want to drive out there for six miles
ended up with a decent hike by doing some extras
started up mountain wash, then lost creek
not sure where the official trail ends, but went down the verrado side of lost creek to the end
one nice hill, otherwise not much to say about this part
coming back up, saw a new trail blocked off and then at the saddle, took another segment of new trail up a ridgeline
this was a nice piece - steep uphill at times with cool rock and good views
this new part ended at the bobcat that others have mentioned
will make for a nice loop when finally connected to the lower part
wish i had taken the lower part rather than lost creek trail just to see where it goes
back at the saddle, continued up mountain wash to turnbuckle, and then went up valley vista
nice ascent, again with some good views
finished the turnbuckle loop, and went all the way back down mountain wash
was thinking i would get some tracks, but I see that patrick l has already posted them
finally, went up watson overlook
wanted to completely hike every trail in the park, but left off the parking lot connector
(seemed unnecessary and obsessive-compulsive)
mountain wash and turnbuckle were wide trails with good footing so you could look around
the best ones, though, were the overlooks and the unfinished ridge
glad i went out there, and i'll probably be back after the new trails are finished
something different with good linkage ;)
my track is from route scout
gps had 12.05 miles with 2410 aeg :-k
Turnbuckle Trail - Skyline RP
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Fresh air hike today to check out Skyline Regional. Nice park with well manicured trails and it looks like many more are on the way. The jaunt today was clockwise Turnbuckle - Valley Vista - Mountain Wash.

Clouds passed as soon as I peaked at Valley Vista to finish with a sunny jog to stretch out the legs after the uphill.
Turnbuckle Trail - Skyline RP
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Mike suggested we try out a new hiking park, the Skyline. Mike and his wife had already done a hike before in it, but my wife and I hadn't. It's a long way out west from my home. It was nice. The trails are in good shape, well signed. Several other people must like it as there were many on the trail. Two horseback riders. We also did the Valley Vista, for a nice view of 300 degrees of surrounding area. And a few other small trails. A beautiful morning for a hike. The wind was a bit strong on the peaks and saddles. No wildflowers yet.

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