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Bajada Trail - South Mountain, AZ

Guide 132 Triplogs  1 Topic
  2.2 of 5 
no permit
503 132 1
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,588 feet
Elevation Gain -300 feet
Accumulated Gain 289 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.46
Backpack No
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3  2021-04-04
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 245
Routes 837
Photos 12,279
Trips 4,941 map ( 25,216 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, - -, - - → 10 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:27pm
Official Route
21 Alternative

Poppy Wonderland
by joebartels

HAZ Patch
Bajada - definition and pronunciation

This is one of the easiest trails at South Mountain with good views under choice conditions. You have the choice of enjoying this route as an out-n-back, shuttle, or part of a larger loop. Mountain biking is also an option, and great for beginners. Just watch out for those ravines where you might need to hike the bike.

If you hike this trail at 2 pm in July you'll think it's the crappiest experience in your life. An early February excursion with wildflowers will leave you with impressions of la-la land. The key to wildflowers is a wet winter, usually Nov-Jan. Mexican Gold Poppies blanket the hillside with nice accents of Coulter's Lupine. It's really a sight to see! Which by the way is easy enough for children and the elderly. There's no need to go the entire distance, just turn around when the family has had enough.

The wildflowers are great and obviously the main attraction. However, I'd like to share another unique opportunity. Sunrise, any time of the year hiking from east to west. The view of Butterfly Peak (Sierra Estrella Range) in the distance is beautiful beyond words. The sun lights up the steep ravines casting shadows, which in turn gives depth perception. I simply love it! What makes it so special is you're in the middle of a city and you'd never know it.

This trail also plays a major role in two looping options. The Bajada Trail itself skirts the lower-northern-flank of the Gila Range. Atop the Gila Range is a section of the National Trail. As seen in the map below you can create a loop with the Ranger Trail. This would be my loop of choice. The popular loop is with the Alta Trail (Ma Ha Tuak Range). Which gives you fascinating views of downtown Phoenix Arizona!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2001-02-17 joebartels
  • 2020 South Mountain Park
    area related
    2020 South Mountain Park

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.

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. Pass the information/bathroom center...

This trail can be accessed several ways. It starts 0.45mi up the Ranger Trail. You can cut into the middle near where Summit Road takes off from San Juan. The key is to park inside the triangle or you will be ticketed. As of 2011 San Juan has been closed for years. It is open on occasion. Most specifically when wildflowers are at peak. Then you can park where the Alta/Bajada meet or at the west end where Bajada ends at the National Trail.
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