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National Trail - Telegraph to Pima, AZ

no permit
105 43 1
Guide 43 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
3.5 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 8.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,950 feet
Elevation Gain 1,200 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.1
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
11  2018-11-03
Holbert-Kiwanis-Loop with Towers Traverse
15  2018-05-27
Telegraph Pass - South Mountain
3  2017-03-03
National Trail - South Mountain
14  2016-03-17
Goat Hill via Ranger Trail
1  2015-10-11
Telegraph Pass-National-Hidden Vly-Pima Cyn
5  2015-09-20
Telegraph Pass-National-Hidden Vly-Pima Cyn
15  2015-02-07
Goat Hill via Ranger Trail
35  2014-03-02 RowdyandMe
Page 1,  2
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Map - Beartooth Phoenix
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:32pm
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
moderate (for distance)
by Randal_Schulhauser

National Trail from Telegraph Pass to Pima Canyon

If you are looking for a full day challenge, combine this hike with Telegraph Pass and Desert Classic to make an 18 mile loop. Cosmic Ray has labeled this a "primo fat tire trail", but there is plenty of room to share with hikers, dogs and horses. South Mountain is purportedly the world's largest municipal park... but it's also a preserve. Typical Sonoran desert vegetation abounds. Evidence of ancient volcanic activity is everywhere. There are petroglyphs scattered along the trail, particularly near the junction of Hidden Valley Trail or Marcos DeNiza Inscription Rock at the Pima Canyon trailhead. Don't let the distance discourage you. There are numerous side trails with loop-backs allowing one to customize their hike to suit their own personal wants and needs. I'll describe a recent "west to east" complete National Trail East hike;

Mile 0.0 From the Telegraph Pass saddle, take the trail marked "National Trail East". Follow the switchbacks up the ridgeline. You have views of Ahwatukee and Gila River Indian Reservation to the south and down town Phoenix to the north. Trail also looks down on Summit Road.
Mile 2.2 At trail post #25, take east fork (right) towards Summit Road.
Mile 2.3 Cross Summit Road. You will pick up the National Trail at trail post #23 and continue east.
Mile 3.1 At trail post #21, continue east (left) down hill and enter the Buena Vista parking lot. This serves as a popular trail head for many hikers.
Mile 3.4 At trail post #18, continue east (left).
Mile 4.8 At trail post #13, head south (left) to continue on the National Trail. East fork (right) is Hidden Valley Trail. It is a recommended option to take the Hidden Valley Trail as it will loop back to the National Trail and provide some of the most interesting scenery on South Mountain. Fat Man's Pass, the Tunnel and many mushroom rocks are my personal favorites.
Mile 5.3 At trail post #10, head east (right). South fork (left) is the Mormon Loop Trail.
Mile 5.4 At trail post #9, head east (left). Side trail to south is Hidden Valley Trail.
Mile 6.7 At trail post #2, stay south (right). Side trail to the left is the Mormon Loop Trail.
Mile 6.8 Climb down into Pima wash and join onto the dirt road. There are ramadas and benches if you need to rest. Continue along dirt road to the Pima Canyon trail head and parking lot.
Mile 7.4 Beverly Canyon Trail intersects dirt road. Have option to head south (right) to climb up and over to Desert Classic Trail if taking return loop. Otherwise continue along dirt road to the Pima Canyon trailhead.
Mile 8.1 Marcos de Niza ramadas at trailhead have water and washrooms available. End your hike here or pick up the Desert Classic Trail at the south side of the parking lot.

I consider myself fortunate to live beside a spur trail that joins the Desert Classic Trail. I frequently join up to the National Trail to make a return loop. South Mountain trails offer infinite possibilities and I try to take advantage as often as possible whether it be hiking, walking the dog or mountain biking. Enjoy!

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2004-11-22 Randal_Schulhauser

    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 Triplog Reviews
    National Trail - Telegraph to Pima
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I saw Lindaagm's track for Telegraph to the Dobbins Lookout, and it sounded good so I thought I would give it a go. I have been on all these trails before, just not in this combination, fun trip! I pulled into the Telegraph TH about 4:15 to get started. I tried to keep a really fast pace since I knew I was limited on daylight. I knocked out the 1.2 miles to the pass in 20 minutes even, pretty happy about that. I saw about 20-25 hikers to this point, then I only saw one lone biker on the trail until I reached the Dobbins lookout. Took a short break here to scarf down a Nature Valley granola bar while watching a gaggle of folks who mostly drove up to the top, how lame. Started back and I did not see anyone else until the pass, and then only a handful of people in the dark. Never needed my headlamp, enough city glow to light my way. Well worth doing this one again!
    National Trail - Telegraph to Pima
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Well it was a great morning for a hike. Sad part is that I was not the only one with that thought. It was very busy out today of course the weather was great. I mainly hike out here today was to see how much rain South Mountain got and I think she did good.
    Tomorrow I'll take a look at the Superstitions.
    National Trail - Telegraph to Pima
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I took my dog for a short hike from Buena Vista to Fat Man's Pass. Everytime I hike South Mountain, I end up asking myself, "Why?" :?: The traffic on Baseline was gridlock. :( Snowbirds in the car in front of me drove so slowly up the mountain that I was actually passed by a dude on a bike! :x The brown cloud wiped away any views. :cry: I should have just gone to the Supes.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    East Trailhead: From I-10 take Elliot Rd. west to 48th St. North on 48th St to the Point Golf Club South Mountain Community. Take Pima Canyon Rd. west until you reach trailhead parking near the end. Ramadas and washrooms available.

    West Trailhead: Start from Telegraph Pass trailhead and hike up to saddle to join National Trail East. From I-10 take Pecos Rd. west to Desert Foothills Parkway. North on Desert Foothills Parkway. Cross Chandler Blvd, as Desert Foothills Parkway curves to the west, look for parking lot on north side near South 7th St.
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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