register help

Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP, AZ

131 104 2
Guide 104 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SW
2.8 of 5 by 18
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,020 feet
Elevation Gain 350 feet
Accumulated Gain 400 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.53
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2019-08-31
Horseshoe Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
59  2017-12-28
MT - Guadalupe to Trilby
7  2017-10-22
Quail Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
1  2017-03-12
Estrella Ruck 12 Mar 17
4  2017-01-21
Baseline Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
9  2017-01-15
Estrella Ruck
6  2016-04-13
Rainbow Valley - Toothaker Loop
13  2013-12-07
Toothaker - Rainbow Valley - Dysart Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author mt98dew
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 19
Photos 398
Trips 1,442 map ( 8,572 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Phoenix,Az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan → 7 AM
Sun  6:18am - 6:25pm
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
You'll Be Coming Around the Mountain When You Come
by mt98dew

Overview: Estrella Mountain Regional Park is located about 20 miles west and south of Phoenix in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains. It was established in 1954 with the purchase of 800 acres. Today, the Estrella Park stretches for almost 20,000 acres. It has a wide range of amenities including horseback riding, a rodeo arena, golfing, fishing, baseball diamonds, a 65 acre grass picnic area and trails for hiking and biking. The park has 12 trails that extend for 33 miles into the Park.

Hike: The Rainbow Valley Trail (RVT) starts from the west end of the parking lot near a large board with a map of the area. A few feet past the map you will come to the first of four trail junctures. (All the trails are well signed so there should be no confusion as to which trail you are on. And, if you grab a map of the park trails, you will be able to see how all the trails interconnect and be able to devise your own hike). The RVT continues west past this juncture ascending gradually to a ridge directly in front. At this point there is another juncture with a trail heading off to the north. The RVT continues west and for about the next two miles wraps itself around the mid level base of the mountain. The trail will rise and fall gradually during this portion never getting high enough to crest the mountain and only briefly touching the desert floor. As you are following the contours of the mountain you'll notice to the north and west the White Tanks off in the distance. Closer by, is the Estrella Golf Course. And just to the south of the golf course, at the base of the mountain you'll see what looks to be an old water tank and the foundations of a structure. As you hike along the RVT there is another trail juncture at .75. This trail, the Quail Trail, heads off to the north and will pass just to the east of these remnants. At the 1.6 mile mark the trail will start winding toward the south, still maintaining a decent enough elevation that you came view the desert landscape to the west. The trail eventually work its way down to a major wash which it has to transverse. However, this will be one the easiest crossings of a large wash that you'll ever do. The trail has been cut into both sides of the wash for an easy entry and exit, no scrambling needed. At 2.75 miles the RVT intersects with the Dysart Trail. The Dysart Trail is a great trail to take if you are looking to do a hike in the 4-5 mile range. You can do a small loop incorporating this trail along with the Toothacher. However, if you are looking for mileage or you simply want to complete the RVT you need to continue south past the Dysart. For the next .75 miles the trail will do some gradual to mild climbs. Nothing serious, but more than you will have experience prior to this point. At 3.75 miles you will have reached the highest point on the trail, about 1350 in elevation. From here its all down hill. Literally. The RVT ends at 4.2 miles where it connects to the Toothacher Trail. This last section of the hike is kind of nice because it is one of the few spots on the trail where you can do a 360 and not see signs of human habitat.

At this point you fave several options. You can return the way you came, as in and out. You can turn south on the Toothacher and head deeper into Estrella Park. Or you can take the Toothacher north. Taking the Toothacher north will take you directly back to the RVT TH for a loop of about 6.3 miles.

Water Sources: There is water at the trail head on the west side of the rodeo arena, just a few hundred feet away. There are also restrooms there.

Check out the Triplogs.

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

2014-06-17 mt98dew
  • Estrella Baseline 2013 Map
    area related
    Estrella Baseline 2013 Map
  • Estrella 2016 Trail Map
    area related
    Estrella 2016 Trail Map
  • Estrella 2016 Park Overview Map
    area related
    Estrella 2016 Park Overview Map
  • book
    area related

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 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
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 Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
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 Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
This was a tale of four trails. The day started out overcast, drizzled, and then the sun broke out to complete what felt like a crisp spring day. Yup, and that's an accurate metaphor for the day's work. To break it up (all mtb):

Rainbow Valley: Doubletrack, but gradual rocky inclines. Nice lines along the ridge on the south side of the Estrellas in the mid-section. Trail maintenance declined throughout. A surprisingly exhausting ride, although I like to think endeavoring this journey after a face full of Indian buffet didn't help either;). (I thought this was going to be the most difficult of the legs too.)

Toothache: For only 1.4m, this seemed a while. Likely because it was majority climb with loose rock - this was both a toothache and headache, and ended up disembarking several times over some rough climbs.

Gadsden: If I could turn back time today, I'd use my power to hang a right onto Butterfield and forego this detour. This was terrible on two wheels - a several mile march through sand deposits in a deep wash, then followed by a series of climbs and falls in and out of said washes. Biking through quicksand - not what I was expecting, nor hoped for. Updated trail description would be big plus to save others the same frustration.

Butterfield: Nice finish a maintained trail and rollers to bring it home.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Nice run this morning going up Butterfield, around the middle, down Rainbow Valley and back over past the corral. I did see one other guy running way out there about 6 miles and thought to myself, what kind of weirdo is out running at 6 am in the middle of nowhere on a holiday, then realized that was what I was doing (and do regularly). Clearly I have a lot of issues.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Coldwater Rumble 52K
Ran in the Coldwater Rumble 52K. Great weather with temps. Aravapia Running does a great job putting on races. Did the first 20.5 mile loop in 3:39 which I felt good about. Took about 10 minutes at the turn around then went back out for the shorter loop. Finished in 6:37 which was good for 24th place out of 81 runners. Got past by a few people the last couple miles as I was starting to slow down. Felt good through 28 miles but the last 5 were a lot of work. Fun and painful day.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Been in a funk with my running lately and decided to see if a nice long run would help!! Up Rainbow :next: toothaker :next: cold water :next: butterfield :next: gadsden :next: cold water. Ran the same route that was used in the hypnosis night run!! Felt great to get in some distance!!
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Happy new year trail run with Dave W. I will be first place in mileage for probably an hour before the high mileage people report! Went Quail>Saddle>Toothaker>Dysart>Butterfield>Gadsden>Coldwater>Dysart>Rainbow Valley>Quail . Did a few extra spots on junctions and bottom to get to the 13.1.

Happy new year to everyone and hope this will be best year for all.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Nice overcast day for an afternoon run. Pretty mellow run, wanted to stretch our legs and run some trails that we've overlooked this year. Have plans to do the Coldwater Rumble next month so figured I better scout out parts of the course. Started out on Coldwater, hit Dysart and made a big loop around the southern side of the park. Finished by running down the Rainbow Trail and back to the rodeo arena. Actually saw about 8 other people out running the trails today, not used to seeing that many other people once you get a half mile away from the parking lot.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Feeling my age this morning, but still wanted to get out and do an easy run. Blew out my back lifting in the gym, so basically did the old man shuffle for most of the run. Met Jeff bright and early so we could watch the sun come up as we were running. Haven't been out here since all of the big storms, so there has been a lot of damage to the trails. Again, it doesn't appear that I will be posting any personal course records anytime soon on these trails either. What once was smooth is now rocky and some of the washes have doubled in size or are now 2-3 feet deeper.

Went up Quail Trail to Rainbow, then over to Toothaker. From Toothaker hit Baseline and followed that around to where it intersects with the Saddle Trail. Took that down to Quail and back to the car. Found that this loop gives you about the most AEG in the shortest amount of time in the park. Basically hit all of the trails in the park with decent vertical gain.

Still felt a little bit of humidity in the air, but it was in the 60's for the entire run. Bugs were not bad on the trail, but got eaten alive in the parking lot.
Rainbow Valley Trail - Estrella Mtn RP
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Got up bright and early to hit Ford Canyon before the sun was up. Drove all the way to the White Tanks to discover that the gate to the park was locked. Turned my car around cursing all the way to the Loop 303 trying to figure out what to do this morning. Was really hoping to get a decent amount of AEG today. Pointed my car south and headed over to the Estrellas instead, knowing that the gate to the park is never,ever locked. So hit the Rainbow Trail for the third time this week.

Tried to devise a route that would give me as much AEG as possible in a two hour period. Started at the Quail Trail and then over to the Saddle Trail, then Baseline before hitting the Rainbow Trail. Ran the Rainbow Trail up and over the big hill to the intersection with the Toothaker Trail, turned around and headed back the same way I came. Got to the Baseline Trail with about 15 minutes to spare, so just started power hiking up and down the hills to sneak in a little more AEG.

Hot, humid run but luckily the sun was behind the clouds for the majority of the run.

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

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From central Phoenix head west on I-10 towards California. Take the Estrella Parkway exit and head south. Continue about four miles or so to West Vineyard Avenue. Turn left on Vineyard, you'll pass a golf course. Keep your eyes peeled for the right turn into the park soon after the golf course. Take Casey Abbot Dr. and follow it around the perimeter of the park. This will eventually turn into 143 Dr. as it heads south and lead to the horse staging area. To get to the Rainbow Valley TH you will want to park west of the horse arena.
page created by kingsnake on Jun 17 2014 1:20 pm
help comment issue

end of page marker