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Pima Wash - South Mountain, AZ

no permit
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Guide 168 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
2.1 of 5 by 25
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,389 feet
Elevation Gain 614 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.55
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
2  2019-09-11
Hot n sweaty
6  2019-04-11
National Trail - South Mountain
9  2019-04-07
San Gabriel Ridge
7  2019-02-22
National Trail - South Mountain
1  2019-02-18 jtaylor
3  2019-01-26 johnlp
1  2018-07-10
Hidden Valley via Pima Canyon
1  2018-01-07
Javelina - Ridgeline - Beverly Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author slegal
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 101
Photos 2,962
Trips 56 map ( 351 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Thousand Oaks, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:15am - 6:26pm
Official Route
22 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
South Mtn Underground
by slegal

I have always viewed South Mountain as Hike Central for the HAZ community. So it comes as a surprise that a California guy is writing the hike description for this gem of a hike in the heart of South Mountain. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising since I posted only the 5th photoset for the hike.

This is an enjoyable hike. The lower Pima Wash (downhill from the stone house) provides for a pleasant alternative to the Old Dirt Road. It's also much less crowded. The wash meanders through mostly sandy wash with occasional rocky inclines. For the most part, it's pretty flat. A little before the stone house you have to exit the wash and head up to the Old Dirt Road, because the wash is closed.

Past the stone house you can reenter the wash and continue on up the wash. From here on, the wash is enclosed in a canyon bordered to the south by Guadalupe Ridge and to the north by the National Trail. The beginning of this leg of the wash is much like the lower leg, mostly flat. However, the wash gets narrower. Eventually, the trail reaches a rock wall. The first involves about a 40 foot climb, followed quickly by another 60 feet of quick elevation gain.

Route finding to this point hasn't been too difficult. Then you arrive at a much bigger 80 foot climb that I struggled to figure out a good approach to. I finally settle on some slippery rocks on the left side of the wall because they seemed to have good hand holds. I scrambled my way up to be faced with yet another wall ahead. This is where I exited the wash briefly, in favor of a higher route up near Guadalupe Ridge.

After a while of hopping from rock to rock I ran into a well worn trail that took me back down to the wash, above all of the rock wall scrambling. The remainder of the canyon is relatively flat until just before your reach the cave at Hidden Valley. Then you have some rock scrambling to do again before reaching the cave and exiting Pima Wash.

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2011-03-20 slegal

    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 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Low risk hike with the Turtle. We checked out the new still under construction Pima Canyon trail head. New pavement and a few more parking spaces. Seems they should have added a bunch more parking. Looks like a two month project to me not 6 months +. Good times. Thanks Denny. :)
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Guadalupe Ridge Loop Plus
    This was a fun little loop I put together on the fly.

    The rain was pretty intense heading to the TH. I kept saying over and over, "I LOVE walking in the rain..." (except maybe with an expletive or two) hoping a little reverse psychology would make the weather man change his mind. :) I bet on a mostly empty parking lot this morning because of the rain, and I was correct. Maybe a dozen cars at the Pima Canyon TH, on New Years Day... :o

    Started the ole Ridgeline routine, intending to check out a route Linda had told me about between Hidden Valley and the beginning of National. I started mapping out the possible routes for the day and realized by using that wash to return to where National starts instead of National itself, I could add a little bit of extra fun without hitting already hiked tread.

    The rain let up pretty quickly and the sun came out. The slick rocks made for a little slower than usual hiking along Guadalupe Ridgeline where you play on the boulders. Once I hit National it was smooth sailing for a while. I took a quick break at the Buena Vista TH bench, before making my way to Hidden Valley via National.

    After Hidden Valley, I just kept following the wash instead of hitting National again. It was slow going again because of the slick rocks. The vegetation along the wash seems very healthy, and the fun little scrambles give this route some character. Figuring out a way around the dry falls was also fun. Lots of pools along the wash, no trickles though.

    I connected the wash to the beginning of National and looped back around using Mormon Loop. It finally decided to start raining again as I made my way up National. Then I brought it back home on Ridgeline Trail and Pima Wash. The light rain persisted through the rest of the hike.

    This hike effectively combines two of my most common workout hikes into one. Cool! :D

    Happy New Years all!
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Still hot and humid. Cutting down from the Guadalupe trail to the Pima wash (hidden valley) I was scrambling over and around boulders. I jumped down off about a 3 foot boulder into a small enclosed area. Only to find that I landed less than 3 feet from a sidewinder. Luckily it was a baby. Maybe 16 inches long. His rattle sounded like a angry bee. More of a buzz than a rattle. If it had been a parent the 3 feet might have been close to striking distance and I couldn't have quickly gotten away. His light colors blended with the sand so well.

    Then 10 minutes later I rounded a boulder in Pima wash and there was a 2 to 2-1/2 foot snake a foot in front of me. From the stripes I believe it was a Patch-Nosed snake. He just sat there then suddenly whipped around and took off. He was really fast. Much faster than the baby sidewinder.
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Nice loop in SOMO on the way home from the Old Pueblo. Thanks to Dallin for posting this track, it was a nice loop with good effort, and for the most part away from the busier trails. Parked at the 48th street TH and started up Marcos de Niza, continued west along Guadalupe, and then dropped into Hidden Valley. I played around in here a bit and took a little break, and then started my circle around and back to the TH. Saw quite a few mountain bikers on the Mormon Loop, but otherwise just the occasional hiker. It wasn't Wasson Peak like I had originally planned, but since I was short on time this did the trick.
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Borrowed this track from Lindaagm's post from a few weeks ago, looks like she did it again yesterday morning too! After my work day in Tucson, I decided to come back and hike SOMO in hopes of having less wind than I had encountered down there. Pulled into the Pima Canyon TH (first time in 3 years) and started hiking a bit before 4. I actually parked right by the TH surprisingly, although by the time I finished my hike there were cars parked as far east as you can park. I followed the road west to the wash and started my 'off trail' portion of this hike. The way is easy to find, either stay in the wash the whole way, or take one of the many trails that seem to follow it along. With my new pair of boots that is not missing any grips, I had a lot of fun scrambling over all of the high boulder spill overs. I actually enjoyed this stretch quite a bit more than Hidden Valley, that was a bit anti-climatic once I reached it for the first time. I explored around a bit and then hooked up with the National trail for a bit. Took the Guadalupe Ridge the whole way back, first time on this trail. I really liked Guadalupe, good effort since it is a fairly constant up and down all along the ridge. Some great bouldering here too. Once I hit the power lines, my mostly solo hike was overrun with a press of people, but it was the home stretch so no worries. Fun trip, well worth doing again.

    Brittlebush are just about finished, but lots of Flattop Buckwheat are blooming, Globe Mallow are getting ready for another round too.
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Got to hike with my eldest daughter, home from Seattle with our granddaughter. We started hiking together when she was six years old when we lived in Alaska(Sitka). We have had some memorable hikes! West loop> Beverly Canyon> Pima Wash. Enjoyed the morning. :)
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Guadalupe Ridge Loop
    Saw the sun peeking through the clouds around 11am this morning and thought it might be a good day to get out, I was rethinking that when I got to the trailhead, the sky was dark and it started to sprinkle. I started up Marcos De Niza and the rain let off quickly, leaving partly clouded skies the rest of the way. Nice.

    I passed a few groups on Marcos De Niza, but didn't see a single soul on Guadalupe Ridge until just before Eagle Pass. It was pretty cool to have the entire ridge to myself. Feels like the only place on the east side of the park where you can get some form of solitude.

    After taking a break at the Buena Vista TH bench, I headed back down on National. Overall less people than I expected considering the holidays, but signs of life picked up as I approached Fat Man's Pass. Checked out the trail that connects Guadalupe Ridge to Hidden Valley for a little extra AEG. Took Ridgeline and Pima Wash back to the parking lot after coming off Mormon Loop, which is much more interesting than the dirt road back to Pima Canyon.

    Overall, great day.
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Started from the Beverly Canyon TH and took the Beverly a short ways to where it crossed a wash and split. Followed this unnamed trail as it wrapped around the edge of the park. One side of the trail bordered the apartments, the business complexes and the golf course. It eventually connected to the East Loop and then to the Pima Wash Trail. Took the Mormon loop for a short ways to connect to the Javelina which took me back to the car. Nice set of trails to jog. Wash was sandy, but not a lot of elevation involved in doing this loop. Not a lot of traffic on the trails. Encountered a biker, a couple of hikers and a couple of joggers. Saw a couple of rabbits and a chipmunk.
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Claire and I met up for an evening hike in South Mountain. We met at the 46th St trailhead and started hiking around 5:30pm. We followed the Beverly Canyon Trail and crossed over to the Desert Classic Trail. From there we took the San Gabriel Ridge. This was a nice stretch with solid views. We made good time and connected through Pima Canyon and finished up on the Beverly Canyon as darkness set in.

    Beverly :next: Desert Classic :next: San Gabriel Ridge :next: Pima Canyon :next: Beverly
    Pima Wash - South Mountain
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    Got off to a late start at 10:45 and it was warm and sunny. The parking area was very full, but I was lucky to find a spot close to the trailhead that was just vacated. Took the dirt road for the first easy 1.2 miles to the junction of the National and Mormon Loop trails. Then I followed the sign to the National trail which begins climbing up to the ridge line to the West. Up on the ridge there was a refreshing cool breeze. I continued along the National Trail until I got to the sign for Hidden Valley via tunnel. The tunnel is a natural rock tunnel that the trail goes through. It is a nice comfortable place to rest in the shade and drink some water. Hidden Valley trail is a short loop that connects with the National Trail at both ends according to the map. I followed the trail through the tunnel until I got to what looked like a dead end. There were lots of foot prints in the soft sand, but I didn't see any easy way past some boulders. I tried to climb over the boulders, but rock was steep and slippery. I explored for a few minutes to see if there were any side trails that went around the boulders, but decided that I didn't feel like getting lost and back tracked to the National Trail.

    I continued on National until I got to the second junction for Hidden Valley at Fat Man Pass. The trail goes through a narrow split between two large boulders and it was a tight squeeze, but I am happy to say that I made it through. After the squeeze the trail appears to follow the wash. After a couple hundred yards I reached a place where I had to either climb over a boulder with a big drop off on the downhill side or crawl through a narrow hole to who know what. Neither option looked good to me, but I didn't see any way around. I back tracked and ran into some other hikers at Fat Man Pass, but they couldn't help. So back to National Trail for the return trip.

    On the way back I took the fork to the left to take the Mormon Trail and then took fork on right for Mormon Loop. Mormon Loop gave nice views of downtown Phoenix and Tempe as it went downhill to the East. At the next fork I went right to stay on Mormon Loop back to the dirt road. The trail drops off the ridge and follows a canyon wash. When I got to the junction I decided to take the Pima Wash back to the trailhead instead of the dirt road. I don't think I'll do that again. The wash is very sandy and slow going.

    The entire hike took just over 3 hours and was very pleasant, especially once I got past the end of the dirt road and out of the crowds. I drank four of the seven 0.5l bottles of water on the trail, and was glad I was carrying as much as a had. I had hoped to see some wildflowers, but there weren't many.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Pima Canyon Trailhead
    This one is a little tough to locate if you're not from the area. It's near Guadalupe Rd. The issue at hand is there are no on-off ramps for Guadalupe Rd. Instead get off south a mile on Elliot and follow 48th Street north.

    Pima Canyon Trailhead is located west off of 48th Street just south of Guadalupe Road. It's all rather confusing. Your first time just go to the intersection of Guadalupe & 48th then head south. Take the first right and an immediate left into South Mountain/Phx Preserves Park. Follow the access road passing the golf course all the way to the trailhead.

    Pima Canyon Trailhead and Marco de Niza Trailhead are one and the same now. Long ago the road continued to Pima Canyon Trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 10.9 mi - about 18 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 101 mi - about 1 hour 32 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 155 mi - about 2 hours 25 mins
    page created by slegal on Mar 20 2011 10:53 pm
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