all aboard the zig zag express
The Malpais Trail is a newly constructed trail in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, not to be confused with the Malpais Trail in the San Tan Regional Park. The east end of the trail starts at the Hawknest Trail, just north of the Brown's Ranch road Trail. The shortest access to this point is to just follow the Brown's Ranch Road Trail from the Brown's Ranch TH.
From that starting point, the trail heads west and within 0.2 miles crosses the powerlines on the west side of the preserve. After this crossing, it crosses the West Express Trail and Stagecoach Trails consecutively. After this crossing, the trail heads along some volcanic rock, before descending a bit into a more vegetated area. The trail follows a very windy, zig-zag path until it junctions with what is labeled as a Temporary Connector Trail that continues to head west until it ends at Legend Trail Parkway.
There is currently one other trail at this "junction" which heads south and is currently unmapped. There is also a notable difference in how the zig-zags end at this point. About 0.8 miles before this point, there are signs noting that you are entering State Trust Land and that a permit is required.
Heading west, the views are primarily to the northwest of the Spur Cross area, Elephant Mountain, and directly north is Desert Mountain in Scottsdale. Heading back to the east, the main view is of Brown's Mountain, and of the Powerline #1.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.