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Hidden Valley via Guadalupe Ridge, AZ

Guide 157 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.5 of 5 
no permit
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,387 feet
Elevation Gain 840 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,320 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 12.1
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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20  2021-05-18
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15  2021-02-03 LindaAnn
1  2021-01-07 LindaAnn
2  2021-01-06
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9  2020-12-10
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2  2019-12-10 LindaAnn
2  2019-09-29 LindaAnn
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 242
Routes 836
Photos 12,083
Trips 4,883 map ( 24,926 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:37am - 7:31pm
Official Route
20 Alternative

Crowd Thinner!
by joebartels

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Piestewa Peak is often touted as the busiest inner-city trail. South Mountain is only being held back by a lack of parking. On a Saturday morning in June with an expected high of 110 degrees, hiker's backed up parking nearly a mile before 8 am. Holy cow, you'd think you're at the beach in California, not! Luckily I arrived pre-dawn. The park attendant usually opens the gates around 4:45 am, and it loads up quickly.

This hike is referring to the Guadalupe Ridge-Ridgeline not the better know "Ridgeline Trail" which connects Beverly and Javelina canyons. From the trailhead, cut through the ramadas and head over and up to the Marco de Niza inscription rock. Grab a copy of "Day Hikes and Trail Rides in and around Phoenix" for information on the rock and the history of Guadalupe. From inscription rock, a trail continues up to the left. This is your access to the Guadalupe Ridge, which was named before the sprawl of Ahwatukee. Follow this bad boy 2.6 miles. It's a rollercoaster ride but most certainly worth the effort. The accumulated elevation gain is comparable to that of Echo Canyon Trail on Camelback. Here it's stretched out over 5.5 miles, so it's nothing as brutal.

The first section of the ridge takes you up and back down to the telephone lines at a junction with the Beverly Canyon Trail. This first slice of the ridge is very different from the mass of South Mountain. The terrain is similar to Squaw Peak. Represented by small jagged rocks and a lack of those huge blackened boulders typically seen on these ranges. The trail is well worn and easy to find.

Continue west and up from the telephone lines. It's steep going up. Amazingly, it's often mountain biked. The ups and downs continue. You will need to pay attention to keep on the ridge. The trail most easily follows back down to the Pima Canyon Trailhead, so if you find yourself going OVER and down, it's time to backtrack.

Did I mention the views are top-notch! You even have the San Tans in view, which tends to be a spec on the horizon from most other Valley peaks. Okay, so you're past the turnoff down to Pima Canyon Trailhead. You won't find any crowds up here, but you never seem to be "alone" on South Mountain. The trail narrows. It continues to be fairly easy-going. The tricky spot has already been passed. There are a few areas that become non-distinct due to rocks or boulders. Basically, keep up on the ridge. I believe I took every "sucker" path on my first attempt. The trail holds up pretty well to a section where you pass between two bathroom sized boulders. After this, cairns come into play due to the lack of vegetation and an abundance of small boulders.

Maybe now would be a good time to mention you'll need a good grasp of the Hidden Valley area to complete this hike. Continue on until you see the Hidden Valley signed junction way down below. You may have to squint, but I didn't think it was too difficult to spot. A rock-ridge takes you directly down over Fat Man's Pass. If you have a good grasp of the area as mentioned above, you know the way home. If not, you really shouldn't be here. If you continue along the ridge, you will drop off into Eagle Pass. Actually, the National Trail swings over, but I think the rock ridge down to Fat Man's Pass is best!

Please Note: Many trails in the park have been staked with yellow off-limit signs or camouflaged. As of this writing, the entire length of this route showed no signs of being closed to the public and a well-beaten path in vegetation areas. If that changes, you shouldn't cross off-limit areas.

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2002-06-17 joebartels
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Pima Canyon Trailhead
    To Pima Canyon Trailhead
    This one is a little tough to locate if you're not from the area. It's near Guadalupe Rd. The issue at hand is there are no on-off ramps for Guadalupe Rd. Instead, get off south a mile on Elliot and follow 48th Street north.

    Pima Canyon Trailhead is located west off of 48th Street, just south of Guadalupe Road. It's all somewhat confusing. Your first time, go to the intersection of Guadalupe & 48th, then head south. Take the first right and an immediate left into South Mountain/Phx Preserves Park. Follow the access road passing the golf course all the way to the trailhead.

    Pima Canyon Trailhead and Marcos de Niza Trailhead are the same now. Long ago, the road continued to Pima Canyon Trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 10.9 mi - about 18 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 101 mi - about 1 hour 32 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 155 mi - about 2 hours 25 mins
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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