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Goat Hill via National West, AZ

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257 148 2
Guide 148 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
3.4 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,231 feet
Elevation Gain 1,231 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,506 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 - 4 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 15.93
Interest Peak
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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2  2019-08-05
Lost Mine to Goat Hill
3  2019-04-12
Goat Hill Loop via Pyramid / Bursera
3  2019-03-05
Lost Mine-Ranger-Kiwanis-Pyramid loop
7  2019-01-27
Lost Mine - South Mountain
3  2018-07-22
Lost Mine - South Mountain
2  2018-07-01
Lost Mine - South Mountain
2  2018-03-18
Bursera-National-Pyramid loop
1  2018-03-14
Night Goat
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,259 map ( 21,438 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:27pm
Official Route
51 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Goats Rule!
by joebartels

Overview: San Juan "Road" Trailhead onto the National Trail from marker 51 up past marker 38. Ending at the high point of the Gila Range which is Goat Hill. Trail data here is for an out and back trip. If wildflowers are in season go a little further and make a loop out of this with the Ranger & Bajada trails. Please Note: San Juan Road is only open sunrise to sunset. You need to be out of the park by sunset or risk getting towed. The gates as of this writing opened at 5am, okay 5:12 to be exact.

Hike: San Juan "Road" Trailhead is located between the Bajada and West Alta trailheads. From the trailhead follow San Juan road west a couple hundred feet and you'll see the National Trail crossing the road. Pick up the National Trail on the left/south side of the road. Within a few steps you'll pass marker 51 which is the Bajada Trail junction. Continue right on the National. The trail is flat as a pancake. In the old days the trail trudged straight up to the ridge. Now it takes a lazy approach shooting wide to gain a low saddle at the tail end of the range. I'm not sure why but maybe to accommodate mountain bikes. It might also have something to do with all the mine activity in the area. So maybe it was to divert the public from troubled spots.

Continuing on there seems to be a marker at every little jag in the trail. 50 you make a minor turn. 49 you approach a wash. You'll see what looks like a gauging station to your right. My first thoughts were, damn, if this entire valley fills up with enough water to make a noticeable difference on that water gauge I'd be impressed! Post 48 is immediately across the wash. 47 comes by quick too. At which point I realized it was more of a weather station as opposed to a creek/river water gauge. Little rocks line the trail. This isn't spectacular desert. It appears to be an old 4x4 romping grounds. What is spectacular is the morning sun hitting on the ever close Estrella Range! At marker 46 you just start gaining elevation. You go over this low saddle on the ridge thinking you'll be heading straight up. However, at marker 45 you turn left and head back down the other side? The trail shoots through a mini valley and instead ascends on a fork ridge. Marker 44 is down in the little valley. Looking west towards the Estrella Range you notice homes or something very nearby. Mountain biking up to this point would be a breeze. The trail now turns gravelly, thick and loose. Personally I wouldn't mountain bike up this trail ever, maybe down, but I doubt it. Anyhow, marker 44 is down in the little valley at one side of a ravine. You cross this ravine and marker 43 greets you. Basically the trail follows the fork ridge above the ravine up to the main ridge. Lots of Palo Verde grow in this area, due to the ravine. Nearing July it was rather warmy even at daybreak, you'd be best off tackling this in December. Of course you know strange things happen in the desert. I encountered the worlds largest wasp (I think). The thing was huge it could have eaten a bat!

Marker 42 is a bend in the trail or something. I remember it best by the ten plus javelina scattering every which way. They're funny to watch. They kind of gallop aimlessly. I took a couple quick photos. I was putting the camera away when another one jolted right beside me. It wasn't until the return trip that I noticed what they were doing. Also saw one skinny rabbit which made me wonder how in the world they get by without water.

Marker 41 is in the middle of the connector ridge. Between here and 40 is a section of trail fairly tough for a hiker, forget mountain biking it. It's steep loose gravel. Got me thinking, you know, you'd think there'd be a large bare spot at the top cause this gravel is only going DOWN! At any rate, by marker 40 you're getting to the good stuff. The trail zigs all over the place. This isn't a clean cut point A to point B clothesline ridge. It's wide, then narrow, then who knows. If you did make it to this point on a bike it's joy riding all the way from here to the Mormon trail.

Most notably first is the Ma Ha Tuak Range to the north. The pointy peak is Maricopa Peak. It kind of resembles Browns Peak as viewed from Roosevelt Lake. Next you'll notice the valley you just came from is flat! Good luck finding the trailhead down below without a zoom lens. Along the way are several mines. Looking a topographical map it's evident this whole area was scoured. These are, for the most part, shallow holes. One did appear to tunnel down. Only thing really interesting is the thought of the work involved hauling your butt up here then digging into rock, ugh.

Awatukee can be seen to the south. The rolling hills depict why this area is "too good" to just be called Phoenix, even though that's what it is. Somebody was coming down in a parachute from above. However, as he or she came closer I could hear a motor. Seemed odd that that would be allowed in the middle of a city? Hmmm. Anyhow, enjoy the stroll over to Goat Hill. Which is the high point of the Gila Range not to be confused with the Guadalupe Range you might be more familiar with. Goat Hill juts up from its surroundings so it's easy to spot. It's a little ways past marker 38. Guess I forgot 39, it was missing the number plate and basically signified the trail was turning at some point. If you need to be rescued it won't seem so useless.

The views atop Goat Hill are pretty good. You have a nice wide view of the valley. The radio towers are due east. Return the way you came. You might also opt to make this a loop trip. Continue on the National Trail 0.3 miles further and head on down to the Bajada Trail. Which as you recall goes back to marker 51.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2002-06-20 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.

    Most recent of 24 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Night Goat
    A really nice evening for a hike. The breeze was nearly constant, air quality crystal clear, and I didn't have to climb Guadalupe Ridge! :y: The summit of Goat must have just reached into the jetstream because the wind on the top was over 30mph and resulted in a quick retreat back down to national. Probably saw 25 non-giant centipedes on the trail. Not sure what that was all about. I also got bored and took some side trips that added up to an extra half mile. :)
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Maricopa Peak from Pyramid TH
    Started from my house and walked over to the Pyramid trailhead, headed up Lost Ranch Mine to National. East on National to Goat Hill, then down Ranger. West on Bajada to Alta, then up the eastern ridge to Maricopa Peak. Down the west side of Alta, then the boring west of of National to the saddle where I got on Gila, and took that west back to where it met up with Pyramid. Lots of people out today, including several people who felt compelled to ask me if I knew where where I was going, which warranted nothing more than an eye roll and a 'Yep' from me. Felt pretty warm at the finish.
    Goat Hill via National West
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    planned on doing some kind of goat hill hike
    parked at ranger trailhead as there is more room on weekends
    got to the intersection with bajada and thought i would check out the poppies that denny has mentioned
    abundant poppy fields, some lupine, brittlebush, creosote, lots of scorpion weed and a few globemallow
    made bajada quite enjoyable (bajada should only be in season during the month of march)
    hadn't hiked the piece between ranger and the triangle - my life is now complete :)
    stopped at the bajada trailhead to make sure i would skip the icky part of national if i continued west
    up national, hit goat hill along the way, down ranger
    very few wildflowers aside from bajada, just a few pockets on the other trails
    saw less than a dozen people; not bad for a weekend south mountain hike
    nice loop
    ended up going twice as far as intended
    double digits
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Lost Mine-National-Pyramid loop
    Daniela & I got started at 5:00am, and headed up Lost Mine. The first thing I noticed today was the air--it was cool!!! Relatively speaking, that is, but you can tell summer is waning. Surprisingly, Daniela had never been on Lost Mine, not sure how we had never done that one together. No breeze, of course, but it still wasn't too bad.

    When we reached National, we made a little side trip up 2484, and then over to the mine below the north side of the trail. Once back on National, we headed over to Goat Hill--no flying ants today--then kept heading east. Finally saw our first people of the day, including a few who had no idea where they were and asked me for directions. Spent a few minutes with each of them trying to let them know what their options were based on where they were parked and how much water they had.

    Pyramid had almost a steady flow of people today, and we ran into syoung along the top. We got some pictures of two brave coyotes too. On the way down, I saw a lady I had seen near the Ruins on Thursday, so we chatted with her for a few minutes as well. Quick walk back to the cars, and it still wasn't too warm when we finished around 8:30.
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Lost Mine-National-Pyramid loop
    I lost a bet on Sunday. Next time I'll just bet cash. It's cheaper. ](*,)

    There really is no other way you could get me to hike on somo in the dead of summer on the most humid day of the year. :tt:

    I think I dropped 6 or 7 lbs just from sweating. The frozen camelback in my pack was a life saver, though on Goat Hill I removed it and realized that my back was totally numb. :stretch:

    Then Javier came to the rescue. That lasted about 5 minutes. Maybe.

    Took about 15 minutes of driving with the A/C blasting before I stopped sweating.

    I don't know how you people do this crap everyday. :worthy:

    Teaching moment: Just accept being wrong. Betting is bad. :-({|=
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Lost Mine-National-Pyramid loop
    With slightly cooler temps, today seemed like a good day for one of my usual weekday SoMo loops. Chumley & I met at the trailhead a little after 7:30 and headed up Lost Mine. I really like that trail, but it is steep, and I swear there is never a breeze on it; but there is at least some shade in the morning. With the humidity this morning, it felt like a never-ending uphill slog. At National, we headed up Goat Hill, and then over to Pyramid. On Pyramid, I announced that, based on my highly scientific observations of certain cacti, it would rain soon. It started raining less than 30 minutes after we finished, so my rain prediction streak is still going strong. Nice to get a quick weekday hike in! And even better to finish just before the storm rolled in.
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Lost Mine-National-Pyramid loop
    Cool & cloudy again this morning, although it didn't feel quite as cool as yesterday morning. Headed up Lost Mine trail, no breeze again on that one. At the top, where it meets National, I went to the top of the little peak immediately to the west, marked as 2484 on topo maps. Nice views from up there, and I could again see the faint trail below leading to the mine on the north side of National that I've been wanting to get to the for last few months.

    When I got back down, I was able to follow that little trail this time, and it led directly to the mine. It went back about twenty feet, and since the rock looked pretty stable, I decided to look inside. There was something (supplies?) wrapped in black plastic, and some poles wrapped in some sort of canvas or tarp material; deliberately placed back here, not discarded, so I left it alone. I wish I had known about this mine last fall when I got caught on that nasty storm at this spot on National, this mine would have been the perfect safe place to have waited it out.

    Once back up on National, I went over to Goat Hill--no bugs today--then continued around and over to Pyramid and back down. Only saw seven people today, mostly on Pyramid. Very muggy, but the clouds kept it nice enough.
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Pyramid to Goat Hill
    Nice early morning hike up to Goat Hill. I got started at 5am, it was relatively cool, but very humid. Pleasant walk up Pyramid, with a nice sunrise, and plenty of clouds. Millipedes everywhere!

    It stayed cloudy all the way to Goat Hill, then the sun started peeking out, but the breeze kept it nice. Lots of flying insects (gnats? flying ants?) atop Goat Hill. Saw a few people back along National, including one character who tried to tell me that the millipedes were actually caterpillars and would turn into giant moths. I wasn't going to put much stock in whatever came out of the mouth of a 50ish year old guy with long, grape Koolaid dyed hair, and just as I was getting worried that I was going to have to turn into a trail-runner, I turned onto Pyramid and he stayed on National toward Telegraph Pass. Whew!

    The rest of the hike down was quiet, but very muggy; and there were even more of those flying insects along the top of Pyramid--even more than Goat Hill. No snakes today, despite being told last night that it was "almost a certainty" I would see them this morning. Not very many people out this morning, even though it was beautiful out--clear fresh air, and everything smelled nice.
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Lost Mine (east)-National-Pyramid loop
    Given the expected heat today, all I really wanted to do was a quick SoMo hike. Given that Denny wouldn't mind a pre-5am start, I invited him along. We met at the Pyramid trailhead at 4:45 and got started. It was really warm, and no wind at all. We headed over toward the Lost Ranch trails, and went up the trail farthest east from that wash--there is no trail name or description listed on HAZ, it's shown as Eliminator II on googlemaps, and I sometimes refer to it as Lost Mine East as it connects to the regular Lost Mine trail at the top.

    I don't take that trail often, and always forget how steep it is; the heat made it no fun at all, but there was finally a breeze at the top. At the top, we headed east on National, made a quick trip up Goat Hill, then continued on National over to Pyramid and down. Saw some millipedes, but not much else in the way of wildlife. Only a few people on the trails this morning, mostly on the lower half of Pyramid. Nice hike this morning, and it was great to meet you Denny!
    Goat Hill via National West
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    Nice early morning hike. Started around 4:50, and headed up the Lost Ranch Mine trail. While still in the wash, about 3/4 of the way to the end of it, there is a large beehive in the west wall of the wash, just above eye level. Very easy to hear! I walked by without a problem, but I didn't waste any time. If you want to avoid walking past the hive, you could take the Ruins trail up, and then cut to the east at the end of the wash, or stay up on the east bank of the wash to the end and then drop down into it to pick the trail back up.

    I took my time going uphill, then at the junction with National, I looked for a mine I had spotted on the north side of the trail a few months ago. I don't think I dropped down from National enough to get to it today. I could see probably where I wanted to be, but was too high and the slope was too steep to easily get down. I'll try again next time, but will go lower sooner to see if I can find it.

    After that, I headed to Goat Hill, where there was finally a little bit of a breeze for the first time this morning. Then I headed east on National, and down Pyramid. I saw a lot of millipedes, but not much else. Not very many people out this morning, mostly on the lower part of Pyramid. Nice quiet morning!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix, head straight down Central, keep going and going until it hits South Mountain. The road curves west passing an entrance gate. Keep going to the information/bathroom center. Continue on about 3.7 miles. Basically, San Juan 'Road' Trailhead is 1.7 miles past the Bajada Trailhead. If you go to far you'll curve right to the Alta Trailhead.
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