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Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop, AZ

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Guide 75 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SW
3.5 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 8.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,000 feet
Elevation Gain 333 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,110 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.1
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
23  2017-03-12 Yoder
9  2017-01-15
Estrella Ruck
6  2016-04-13 hikingaz2
11  2014-02-22 LOChikinggal
19  2013-02-16 NatureKopelli
4  2012-12-26 leonesiegel
5  2012-02-02 leonesiegel
10  2010-03-01 leonesiegel
Author Moovyoaz
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 21
Photos 98
Trips 12 map ( 116 miles )
Age 64 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec → 8 AM
Seasons   Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:33pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
The Rainbow Connection
by Moovyoaz

2013 Notice
Park trails have changed, hence why this is no longer included in the Estrella Mapped Area.

This scenic loop incorporates parts of the Rainbow Valley, Toothaker, Pedersen and Coldwater Trails as it loops around the western side of Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Much of the loop is flat and easy, but there are several rough, steep sections along the Rainbow Valley Trail.

The hike begins at the Estrella Mountain Regional Park Rainbow Valley trailhead located on the west side of the park's Rodeo Arena. About 50 yards beyond the trailhead, the signed Toothaker Trail branches off to the left. Ignore it and head straight west on the Rainbow Valley Trail which winds into the hills through scattered ironwoods, paloverdes, saguaro and cholla. As the trail climbs gradually into the mountains, it offers nice views of the old Estrella Golf Course and the the Gila River in the distance below. Soon the Rainbow Valley Trail turns to the south, and leaves all traces of civilization behind as it wanders up and down through the Estrellas.

After 1.5 miles, the trail makes a steep, rocky decent into a valley where it meets the signed junction with Dysart Trail at about 2.1 miles. For a shorter hike, one can take it .7 miles east to the Toothaker Trail, which leads northeast back to the trailhead, completing a 4.5 mile loop.

Continue south on the Rainbow Valley Trail. After a mile it bends east and ends at the Toothaker Trail, 3.4 miles from the trailhead. Again, for a shorter hike, take the Toothaker Trail north about 2 miles back to the trailhead, completing a 5.4 mile loop.

The longer loop now continues south on the Toothaker Trail, winding another 1.5 miles down to its junction with the Pedersen Trail. Go northeast .2 mile on the Pedersen Trail to the junction with the Coldwater Trail. The loop then proceeds north, passing through several washes. After about 1.6 miles the Coldwater Trail arrives at what is known as the 'Staging Area', which was apparently once a trailhead. Here the are two choices for the return to the starting trailhead: One can head east on the Dysart Trail to the Toothaker Trail, and then north, or continue north on the Coldwater Trail, which actually follows an old road to the parking area on the east side of the Rodeo Arena. Then go west .2 mile to the starting TH and parking area on the west side of the arena. Either route north makes for a 8.4 mile loop.

In 2009, what was once the eastern leg of the Rainbow Valley Trail has been renamed, and is known as the Butterfield Trail. Check the maps below.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-01-28 Moovyoaz
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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 21 deeper Triplog Reviews
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Estrella Ruck
A friend and I have begun training for the Bataan Death March Memorial Ruck which will be held on the 19th of March in White Sands New Mexico. The event is 26.2 miles with 35lb ruck sacks on.

Estrella Park offers a great venue for us to conduct this training. There was very little traffic early in the morning. In fact, I do not think we saw another person until we made our way back to the trail head. The weather was perfect. There was a storm coming in just East of us from the South. I love watching the clouds "scrape" the tops of mountains. What an incredible day!
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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I have done this loop 30+ times but hadn't done it since knee surgery in August. This used to be my speed trail run work out but I knew once I did it again, I would know how much power I have lost in my legs I have lost and knee. It was as bad as I though as I was about 20 minutes off my best time. Still over all I am grateful that I can still go out so I will take it. Hopefully as 2017 progresses I get some of it back but I know it will never be the same.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Rick wanted to build up my arms, so we went and loaded a load of wood, Told him let's hit Estrella Park while we're this close. Forgot my Parks Pass, so as I was talking to the Attendant, he informs me that Estrella was the 1st Park in the County System opened in 1964 and is the 2nd largest Park in the County. Seen one Biker and a couple of hikers before we got back to the TH. I can see why the runners and bikers enjoy this Park. Reminds me of Usery --well used. If we go back I'll suggest White Tanks, and see what they are all about :)
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Bob agreed to help me load some firewood in Buckeye, so we thought we would take the opportunity to check out the Estrella Mountain area. This is a great mountain bike trail, but not too much for the hiker in my opinion. Not much in the way of views or shade on this trail, still had fun though.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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So my ankle is feeling much better and wanted to go for something a little longer, but not have to worry about tripping over stuff. The trails in the park are like superhighways, clean & wide so that you can mindlessly put one foot in front of the other. This used to be my go-to training run when I lived out here, so felt kind of weird going back after not visiting the park in over a year. Had perfect January weather and overall a delightful day on the trail.

Aravaipa Running was putting on one of their classic ultramarathons today, the Coldwater Rumble in the park. So got to see lots of runners out on the trail. Saw Brian (mt98dew) out racing this morning as well as ultra running celebrity "Dirt Diva".

I did notice in the year since I have been there that they re-routed the Toothaker Trail. So according to my calculations added a slight bit of mileage to the loop.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Started at the corral and went counter clock wise. Felt good the first few miles which was surprising a week after the marathon. Was pretty quick up the hill at mile 4 then had a great last 2 miles and ended up having my fastest loop by about a minute. Love that the cooler temps are here.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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My buddy talked me into mountain biking instead of running. Pretty pathetic when I could have ran this loop faster then biked it. It is faster biking on the flats and downhills but on the uphills running is the way to go. After coming off RB went up the backside and came down Coldwater to Dysart. I good time but miss my running. I will fix that tonight.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Was not able to run this morning because of other commitments so I decided to wait until the afternoon in the heat of the day so that I could do my first heat run of the year. It went about how I would have expected to go with heat and tired legs. Still it is always good to mix training up and with the heat and tired legs, that is great distance training.
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Started up the Quail Trail to the Rainbow Trail to Toothaker and then to the Horseshoe trail to baseline trail and then back up Rainbow and down Saddle trail to Quail back to car. Started at 6 in the morning so it was nice and cold but I love to run in the cold so it did not bother me. First run of 2015!!!
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
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Another pre-dawn run of the Rainbow Loop with RunMule this morning. Took it pretty easy, have a long day planned for tomorrow. Nothing too exciting to report other than it was a little nippy this morning. While out running we saw another runner with a headlamp approaching us and was able to exchange pleasantries with MikeS for a few minutes.

Permit $$
information is in description

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix, west on I-10 to the Estrella Parkway exit 126. Travel south 7 miles on Estrella Parkway to Vineyard Ave, just south of the Gila River bridge. Turn east on Vineyard Ave .2 mile (past the golf course entrance) to the Estrella Mountain Regional Park entrance to the south. Follow the signs east and south to the Rodeo Arena and trailhead. There's a $6 fee at the gate.
page created by Moovyoaz on Jan 28 2010 9:27 pm
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