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Scenic Trail - MMRP, AZ

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192 97 0
Guide 97 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
Rated
3.1
3.1 of 5 by 19
 
3
Statistics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4.47 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,875 feet
Elevation Gain 284 feet
Accumulated Gain 441 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.68
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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6  2019-07-12
Escondido-Pemberton-Scenic - MMRP
KBKB
1  2019-01-28
Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton-Shallmo Loop - MMRP
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1  2019-01-14
Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton-Shallmo Loop - MMRP
KBKB
7  2019-01-04
Wash Day - MMRP
KBKB
5  2018-12-12
Shallmo-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch - MMRP
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1  2018-12-05
Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton-Shallmo Loop - MMRP
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4  2018-11-28
Stoneman-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch Loop - MMRP
KBKB
5  2018-11-14
Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton-Escondido - MMRP
KBKB
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 8
Author paulshikleejr
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 77
Photos 542
Trips 405 map ( 1,470 miles )
Age 54 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:11am - 6:31pm
Official Route
 
6 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Those people up there look like ants ...
by paulshikleejr

Overview
Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the 21,099-acre park known as McDowell Mountain Regional Park is a desert jewel in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. Visitors enjoy a full program schedule, over 50 miles of multiuse trails, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. A stroll through the park will allow visitors to likely see deer, javelina, birds, and coyotes.


The park includes 22 named and measured trails and trail legs. Park amenities are numerous and include restrooms, drinking fountains, a nature center, picnic areas, tent campsites, RV facilities, and more.

For pre- or post-hike activities, the closest venues are in Fountain Hills (5.3 miles to Fountain Park from the Entrance Station) and at the Ft. McDowell Casino (8.7 miles from the Entrance Station).

To get to the park, from central Phoenix, take Loop 202 east to Beeline Highway (SR 87). Continue northeast on SR 87 to Shea Blvd. Travel west on Shea Blvd. to Saguaro Blvd.; turn north. Continue through Town of Fountain Hills to Fountain Hills Blvd; turn right and travel four miles to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park entrance.

Hike
This description is of the loop hike comprised primarily of the Scenic Trail as accessed via the Pemberton Trail. My desire to hike this in a clockwise manner was bolstered by the host at the entrance station who coincidentally suggested a clockwise hike of this trail. It has been noted by another hiker (perhaps Joe) that, "The 1995 Rio Fire scorched this area. Nutrients returned to the ground now nurish spectacular wildflower displays after a wet winter."

This hike begins at the place known as the "Trailhead Staging Area". The actual insertion point onto the Pemberton Trail (which takes you to the clockwise startpoint of the Scenic Trail) is at (33.69088, -111.718422). From the insertion point to the Scenic Trail turn off is about 0.90 mile with an elevation change of 45 feet and a very minimal 60 AEG. This piece of the loop can arguably be divided into five small legs. The first leg is about 0.10 mile and takes you from the insertion point to the fork with the Pemberton Trail heading north and the Scenic Trail heading east. Follow the Pemberton Trail 0.11 mile north to a bend to the left which curves to the right until the next bend to the left in 0.22 mile. In 0.17 mile, there is a bend to the right and, in 0.30 mile, you arrive at the northern trail end/start point of the Scenic Trail.

The Scenic Trail is a 3.57 mile trail with an elevation differential of 268 feet and an AEG of 418 feet. It can be divided into five legs of varying length. The first leg is 0.56 mile in length (AEG 131) and takes you from the northern startpoint to the crest of the ridge. The second leg is really the "Scenic" part of the Scenic Trail. This leg is a 1.07 mile hike along most of the ridge of the Lousley Hills, which run near the eastern border of the regional park. Although there is a net drop of 25 feet from the start of this leg to the endpoint of this leg, because of its gentle bounciness, with a max/min elevation differential of 59 feet, it manages to achieve an AEG of 119 feet. Along the way, to the east, you'll see Native American land under cultivation and, to the west, you can look onto the leg of the trail that runs below the ridge between the two sets of ridges.

At (33.687152, -111.704460), the trail veers to the left, off the ridge, and starts a descent down the eastern flank of the ridge. This leg is 0.45 mile in length and loses a net of 171 feet (AEG 2 feet). A bit less than half way along this leg, you'll encounter a seemingly randomly placed sign providing interesting, but seemingly irrelevant, information. The next leg is short (0.16 mile), also downhill (elevation change of 79 feet and AEG of 3 feet), and begins when the trail crosses over what's left of the ridge (from the east side to the west side) and ends at the base of the rise.

The next leg is the final leg of the Scenic Trail proper and the penultimate leg of the loop overall. This recovery leg is also the longest at 1.21 miles. I term it a "recovery" leg because the last two legs took you to an elevation below that of the trailhead and over the course of the leg you rise 125 feet with an AEG of 131 feet. This leg runs between two ridges and as you traverse the "floor" of the depression, if you look up and to the west, you might be able to see fellow hikers making their way along the crest of the western ridge. The final, very short leg is one you've seen before: it is that first, short (0.10 mile) leg that took you from the insertion point to the first fork of this loop.

This description makes use of material from http://maricopa.gov/parks/mcdowell/

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2012-02-23 paulshikleejr
  • overview map competitive tracks hunting zone campgrounds
    area related
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 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Escondido-Pemberton-Scenic - MMRP
On Friday, the 12th, I did a loop hike in MMRP starting from the Four Peaks Trailhead (formerly known as the Horse Staging Area). I hiked Escondido, Pemberton, and Scenic. I passed the intersection with Cinch, planning on going back to Pemberton and down Shallmo Wash. But it was starting to get warm, so I turned back and went down Cinch and back on Escondido.

I saw a few cyclists getting ready to ride at the parking lot, but saw no one else on the trails.

Trails were in good condition. Hiking was easy except for the heat; my GPS watch indicated a higher heart rate than I'd expect to see for the terrain and pace. I'm not as well acclimated as I was last summer.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Shallmo-Pemberton-Scenic Lasso - MMRP
Another evening hike at MMRP: Out Shallmo to Pemberton, all the way around Scenic and, finally, back on Pemberton and Shallmo.

I saw just one very red faced cyclist on the Pemberton. It was pretty warm early in my hike and I'm guessing that he had started quite a lot earlier than I had.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Shallmo-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch Loop - MMRP
Another evening hike in MMRP. Did Shallmo, Pemberton, Scenic, Cinch, and Escondido.

I saw a trail runner and three cyclists. Was especially surprised to see two cyclists on the Scenic Trail late in the day.

I might have gotten some half way decent shots of the sunset. I'll post at least one of them in the photoset if it turned out. I wish now that I would've brought my tripod and cable release.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Cinch-Scenic-Hilltop-Shallmo Loop - MMRP
An early evening loop hike in MMRP... I did: Escondido, Cinch, Scenic, Pemberton; when I got to the Trailhead Staging Area, I did the half mile long Hilltop Trail before returning via Pemberton and Shallmo.

It was warm out. I considered going the long way on Scenic, but wasn't certain of of my heat acclimation status, so I kept it short.

I saw a few ravens and a two mountain bikers. When I returned, there were a number of vehicles in the lot; when I started, mine was the only one there. Apparently there were more riders out than I saw.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Cinch-Scenic-Pember-Stoneman-Tech Loop - MMRP
Another evening loop hike in MMRP...

For this evening's hike, I did: Escondido, Cinch, Scenic (the short way), Pemberton, Stoneman/Pemberton Wash, and part of the Technical Loop (in the competitive track area).

It was a quiet hike. I saw two mountain bikers as I was descending the short hill into Stoneman Wash, but saw no one else.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Escondido-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch Loop - MMRP
Another evening hike in MMRP...

This time I started on Escondido, seeing a mountain biker and later a hawk along the way. I went left on Pemberton and then left again on Scenic a short while later, doing the Scenic Trail ridgeline in the fading light. I tripped over a few rocks in the dark as I descended the final hill before coming to Cinch. I finished by turning left on Cinch and right on Escondido.

Didn't see many vehicles in the lot when I got back; usually there's quite a few night riders out on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton Lollipop - MMRP
Another early evening hike at MMRP...

Starting from the Four Peaks / Horse Staging Area, I hiked Escondido, left on Cinch, right on Scenic, left on Pemberton, left on Scenic, right on Cinch, and right on Escondido. I thought about returning via Shallmo, but that trail is exceptionally dusty and harder in spots to get out of the way of cyclists, so I opted for Scenic / Cinch / Escondido instead. The distance is almost identical anyway. If you're wearing mesh trail running shoes as I was today, the dust alone is a good reason to avoid Shallmo as it seeps through the shoes' mesh and then through the socks dirtying one's feet.

I saw a trail runner and a bunch of cyclists, including a group of eight or so women who seemed to have done a loop on Shallmo, Pemberton, and Escondido. I saw them twice, once on Pemberton and again as I was finishing up on Escondido.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Tech-Stoneman-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch - MMRP
Another early evening loop in McDowell Mountain Regional Park...

This time I started in the Competitive Track lot, hiked some of the Technical Loop, then a service road to Stoneman/Pemberton Wash, followed by Pemberton, Scenic, Cinch, and Escondido.

I saw a pair of hikers on Granite approaching the intersection with Pemberton and later some cyclists around dusk on Scenic, but that was it. Pretty quiet.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Shallmo-Pemberton-Scenic-Cinch Loop - MMRP
An evening hike in MMRP...

Starting from the Four Peaks / Horse Staging Area, I hiked Shallmo Wash, Pemberton, Scenic (the long way - along the ridgeline), Cinch, and Escondido.

When I started, I saw a number of mountain bikers getting ready for their evening rides. I encountered several riders as I started hiking north on Shallmo Wash, but once I hit Pemberton, I didn't see anyone else on my entire hike (which is how I like it).

I managed to hold off turning on my headlamp until a least a mile into the Scenic Trail - I finally turned it on when I hit a downhill rocky section. As I proceeded along the ridgeline of the Scenic Trail, I saw an orange reflection ahead of me. I approached, thinking that it might be a broken piece of a bicycle pedal reflector, but I was wrong - it was the eye of a bird, which had settled down for the night along the trail. It took off when I was just a few feet away. As I proceeded, I saw several other birds too. I think they might have been quail, but it was too dark for a firm identification.

When I got to the final downhill of the Scenic Trail, I saw a small tarantula near the top of the hill.
Scenic Trail - MMRP
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Escondido-Cinch-Scenic-Pemberton - MMRP
My wife and I did an easy hike today at MMRP. Her knee has been bothering her lately and she chose this hike to test the effectiveness of her knee rehab.

We did a lollipop-loop of Escondido, Cinch, Scenic, Pemberton, Scenic, Cinch, and back on Escondido.

After turning off onto the Scenic from the Pemberton, I chose to hike the wash which parallels the current trail. Prior to circa 2003, the Scenic Trail followed the wash that I hiked today. However, equestrians and cyclists got tired of riding in the wash and created a nice singletrack next to the wash. I showed this trail to Ranger Crash one day and he liked it so well that the trail ended up being rerouted to follow this impromptu trail.

It was fun hiking that wash again, though I'm quite happy that the hardpack trail is now the official trail, especially when riding my bike.

We saw several hikers and a lot of folks on bikes. We were especially surprised to see perhaps half a dozen bikes on ridgeline of the Scenic Trail. This area is somewhat rocky and typically does not get many cyclists.

We saw some blooming brittlebush on the drive over, but I don't think we saw a single flower on our hike, which is kind of unusual for this time of the year. We also were commenting on how brown the foliage is compared to last year.

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info


$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
To get to the park, from central Phoenix, take Loop 202 east to Beeline Highway (SR 87). Continue northeast on SR 87 to Shea Blvd. Travel west on Shea Blvd. to Saguaro Blvd.; turn north. Continue through Town of Fountain Hills to Fountain Hills Blvd; turn right and travel four miles to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park entrance.
page created by paulshikleejr on Feb 23 2012 8:50 pm
3 pack - loud whistle
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