register help

Sunrise Peak from 128th Street, AZ

no permit
338 167 2
Guide 167 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.3 of 5 by 34
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,722 feet
Elevation Gain 1,282 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,342 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.21
Interest Peak
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
3  2017-01-30 syoung
12  2015-10-06 The_Dude
7  2014-12-26
136th Street Spur Trail - MSP
10  2014-12-05
Sunrise Adam Stewart
4  2013-11-29 Crzy4AZ
4  2013-11-11
Sunrise Trail - MSP
4  2011-11-14 leonesiegel
40  2011-10-27
Sunrise Peak from 136th Street Spur
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Pua
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 88
Trips 20 map ( 97 miles )
Age 39 Female Gender
Location Santa Barbara, CA
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:31pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Desert hike with views!
by Pua

Overview: From the 128th Street Trailhead take Ringtail Trail 0.6 miles up to a right on Sunrise Trail and follow another 2.15 miles to the peak. Summary below is to the popular turn around at the hitching post. Which saves you 220 feet of steep elevation gain and 0.5 miles off the roundtrip.

Summary: In the land of red tile roofs, and swimming pools, the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust(MSLT) folks have built a trail that takes you slowly away from civilization and up through Sonoran Desert to an overlook. This North Scottsdale trail can be accessed from 128th Street via the Ringtail Trail or from 124th Street Lost Dog trail. This description is for the 128th Street access. If it has been more than a year since you've ventured into this preserve, you'll know that this trail is relatively new. When I hiked this two years ago, it ended in a dead-end at the ridge in the east. You will appreciate the beefed up signage, trail maintenance, and the literature and doggie-poo bags available at the trailhead. You'll also notice that these folks have recycled the old 128th street rocky dirt road extension back to nature by tilling it up and planting cacti. You're now steered onto this (really nice) parallel track.

The trail begins on the left side of the road at 128th Street. The well-built trail parallels the street briefly, beginning the mild incline that heads north. Cholla abounds. At 0.6 miles, take a right at the intersection, turning off Ringtail and heading right (east) onto the Sunrise Ridge trail. The trail steepens a bit. At the knoll, take a rest and take in the pristine desert vegetation and the view back to the city.

Continuing on, and upward, the trail is carved into the side of a small valley that circles around back to the north. Rocky ridges hover above and, some days, you're alone with the wind and silence. I once happened to hear a barrel cactus meet its end and go end-over-end down the hillside.

A few switchbacks later (about 45 minutes from the start), you're at the top of the ridge. The climb from here is milder. Follow the trail around the amphitheater-like valley, gradually upward, and you will circle your way back east. The land drops away steeply on your right hand side, so be aware of your footing. About 20 minutes later you will find yourself at the hitching post. Here, a view awaits you, and the land drops away towards Fountain Hills. You can continue to Sunrise Peak if you like, it's just over a quarter-mile beyond this point. Turn around here at about mile 2.5. The MSLT web site lists the elevation gain to the hitching post at approximately 1000 feet. It seems like it might actually be a little lower.

This trail is easy to follow and, once away from 128th street, very quiet. The desert is especially beautiful in the spring wildflower season, but even year-round, saguaro, ocotillo and the usual suspects abound. A fun 2-3 hour hike with some challenge that will make you feel like you earned your lunch.

Shuttle: It should also be noted that this hike starting or ending from the 128th Street TH combined with any of the other Via Linda Street TH options (from the 124th St-Lost Dog Wash, 136th St., or 145th St.) would make for an excellent car shuttle hike opportunity with minimal driving time-distances to retrieve your other shuttle vehicle.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2005-10-16 Pua
    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 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My usual trip to Tucson was filled with nice periodic rain, so I kept heading north until I could get a break in the storm for a hike. I ended up doing Sunrise from 128th street, and the weather was great. Got to the trailhead a bit before 5 and started off. I saw 4 hikers early on, and then nobody after the first 15 minutes or so. I got on and off sprinkles for most of the hike, but never enough to need my rain jacket. Took a nice break on top to enjoy the views and then headed back down. I decided to check out the 136th street spur instead of heading back the way I came, this trail was probably my favorite on this mountain. Very faint trail with some nice bouldering spots, I will have to make this my next ascent. Light was failing and I scrambled up onto the neighborhood street and took Larkspur back to where the van was parked. Some mighty expensive houses up here...
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I feel like such the "merry housewife" right now as I type this triplog. Woke up this morning and cleaned up the Christmas mess of the house and organized the kids' Santa haul. Then took kids to winter break school so I could get a hike in before we leave for family trip tomorrow.

    I'm in the "check it off the list" mode for All trails challenge. There's a REASON I haven't done some of these last few trails on the list. I was determined to get 136th Street to Sunrise knocked off after going up to Sunrise Peak dozens of times by way of 124th, 128th, and 145th.

    Unfortunately the 136th Street spur Trailhead just recently :cry: CLOSED :cry: for the next 10-12 months for construction update. So I parked at Ringtail TH on 128th Street and took Ringtail :next: Sunrise Trail then went down 136th Street spur.

    I was all into the trail at first and then I entered a wash area with all kinds of warning signs about rocks/boulders. No more trail - just sandy wash alternating with climbing down easy rocky boulder areas - but with huge mansions on either side up above me - felt creepy for some reason.

    Went through two tunnels (bridges above part of fancy pants neighborhood) and then got to the blocked off construction site trailhead. I was dreading going back up those stupid rocks. They're not difficult - but it's just not what I had in mind today. I like steep trails but I like switchbacks and trails. I like the clicking and crunching under my feet in a rhythm. Plus I'm 41 years old - my knees don't love sliding and climbing rocks. And getting on an airplane tomorrow - I didn't want to twist my ankle the day before.

    So I did something kind of crazy for me - and popped out on 136th Street and just jogged back to my car on 128th St. I looked ridiculous jogging with a backpack on. But I was so glad when I got back to my car!!

    Then came home - took a long nap with my cat - got 3 loads of laundry done - dishes - packing suitcases for kids and me - and watching two chick flicks on TV (Little Women and Julie/Julia cooking movie).

    Now got to go pick up the kids - no way I could get all this done with them in the house. Have you ever heard the sentiment that trying to clean your house with kids in it is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos??? :sl:
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Ringtail to Sunrise saddle MSP
    Wanted a good exercise hike and didn't want to drive to Tom's Thumb north.
    Only takes 15 minutes to 128th St TH even in school traffic. Had a little bit of a sore throat but pressed on - - maybe wasn't so smart - - felt like crap later that night and the rest of the weekend. But at least I got a good workout in.

    I took Ringtail to Sunrise trail up to the intersection with new Andrews-Kinsey trail. Then back down.
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    yesterday mt98dew mentioned the mapped area feature
    looked at the 15 phoenix/valley peaks and saw that i was missing this one
    not much different than starting from 124th street
    felt like a slacker not doing the over and back ;)
    saw maybe a dozen people out
    very nice morning
    still quite a bit of dust in the air
    split the difference between tibber's official track and the description stats
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After spending the morning at the mall getting pics with Santa : rein : - this date hike was a welcome quiet solace. This particular route is really an excellent work out hike in the McDowells. Just the first 0.6 are flat - rest of the hike is a steady up, up, up. Only two other cars at the Ringtail TH. Saw just a handful of people overall.

    Hiked down watching the sun set in front of us the whole way. Had dinner outside at the Mesquite grill - casual restaurant of the McDowell Golf Club owned by Phil Mickelson. Cornbread skillet is really good.

    One question that I have for people who hike the McDowell county trails from Fountain Hills - there is a new zig-zag trail going up that you can see from Sunrise peak - I marked it on a photo. Hoping that someone will tell me the name of the trail. Maybe it's old and I never noticed it before.
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Decided to get my legs under me again after a grueling saturday ML. Nice 5 mile hike up and over the peak. We shuttled our cars to make it a one way over rather than just up and down the same way. 145th side is so much more entertaining. The lower part of 128th side is pretty boring. My first time up here in daylight! Passed another friend who was mad at me because she saw my truck in the parking lot and I hadn't invited her. Apparently I forgot she told me she was gonna hike it today too. ](*,)

    Nice day, warm for this time of year, but very strong winds made it pleasant. Gusting over 30mph was nice :)
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Let's see, Strength Class Friday... hike Thursday. Once again, easy choice. I left work a few minutes early as I thot this might take 2 1/2 hours (if I did the Peak) and I wanted to be down before the sun set. I started my hike at 3:15ish. It was actually a little warm. This trail is also one that has a slight incline for most of the way. The bottom part is pretty rocky too.

    My trainer told me last nite I am experiencing a soft stress fracture :stretch: on the top left-side of my left foot. She says they recommend you stay off of it for a couple days but she didn't think that made a difference. While it did give me some difficulty both during my work out session and this hike, I pushed through it.

    I saw the moon rising barely above the saddle to the east and I was thinking, "If Bob, Johnlp, JuanJamieiii were here I would say, go catch the moon before it rises out of reach :D ". Eventually the trail is a more comfortable pounded dirt and despite the ascent, you can make better progress. I passed by a couple sitting along the trail as I huffed and puffed my way up. I would see them later at the bottom of the trail when she asked me how far I had gone and seemed very impressed that I went all the way to the Peak :lol: .

    700 feet and 45 minutes from the TH I was at the first saddle, the moon was totally out of reach now :( . There was another hiker who had caught up with me but apparently she was heading back down from there as I didn't see her again. On the next stretch to the second saddle, I ran into one other couple heading down. I would actually pass them toward the bottom on my way back.

    I continued hiking to the part of the trail that splits up to the Peak (1075 gain and 2.71 miles from TH). I did get to see the fountain spurting for a couple minutes. I decided to pass on the Peak because of my injury figuring I would probably be doing some kind of climbing on Saturday so it was best not to push my luck. I took a moment to adjust my clothing and re-tie my shoes for the hike down. Before I started the hike back, I looked around and was quite surprised that there was no one else around :o . I smiled and thot, "Wow, in this big city, I am the only one out here right now; hard to believe."

    The hike down was pretty uneventful as I concentrated on trying to learn to hike down at a faster pace. It was funny as it seemed my shoes were possessed by the spirit of Merrell as I felt like my body had to run to keep up with them for a moment :lol: . Today there were only 6 people, 2 lizards and a dead saguaro on the trail.
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I got a PM to see if I could get time off to do a local hike. Fortunately, this was not a problem and I got the ok to leave at 1:30 :y: to meet Hank at the 136th St TH.

    The hike was a little toasty to start but as we began to switchback up the east side of what I think is Scottsdale Mountain, we were in the shade so the temps were much more comfortable from then on. It was fun to hike up the wash and over and around the boulders and flora as well as other obstacles. Of course, the main obstructions were several dry waterfalls. These were a fun and interesting challenge. (It would be so cool to watch the water run down this area.) Other than the houses you could see above you from time to time, this was really a cool area.

    After switchbacking up you soon hook up with the main trail to Sunrise Peak. On the way to the Hitching Post, we discussed Hank's cat-sitting situation and we think we finally figured out where the expression "catty" came from... ;) At the hitching post I gave my new camera's zoom a workout. I could even see the chutes of Four Peaks and could get pretty close to the towers on Mount Ord plus a good look at Sheep Mountain. While here we also noticed a squiggly trail that was going up the side of a mountain to the north of us (could be Eagle Ridge North?) so we're going to have to investigate that one of these times.

    We got up to the top in time to enjoy the fountain and the light across the golden bands of the Superstitions :DANCE: . It was a delightful day on Sunrise Peak and we only saw two other people as we were leaving the top.

    We headed back and of course, going down the wash was a lot easier because you have such a better vision of where to travel. It was even more fun sliding down the waterfalls :D. Toward the end it was getting a bit dark out so we missed our turn back to the TH out of the wash but realized it rather quickly when we had houses on both sides of us that weren't there on the way up :lol: .

    Movie 1 is our hike thru the wash and up the switchback toward the peak: Movie 2 is from our time at the top, including some zooming toward the fountain and such as well as our hike down:
    (FYI - I used the youtube stabilizer and I'm not sure that I like it as the scenery seems somewhat blurred and the stabilizer does quirky things with the stills. I guess the question is, do people prefer watching a clearer video that's not quite as stable or do they prefer a stable video?)
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Good, morning hike. Jai and I started at the TH just before 6am. Was on top by 7:30. This hike works well as an early hike on summer days cause it is shaded. We enjoyed shade most of the first half of the trip, up to the ridge. It's not a difficult hike, doesn't feel steep perhaps until the final ascent to the top, which is short. This hike is close to the city but not as crowded and many others. I enjoyed it and would do it again. ;)
    Sunrise Peak from 128th Street
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I could not let this cool afternoon go by without hiking after work. So I sent a message to Grasshopper and he agreed to meet me at 128th St after work. It was indeed a perfect weather day for this hike up Sunrise Peak. He hadn't done this hike since 2009 and and I hadn't done the hike since 2007.

    It really is a wonderful trail that slowly takes you up to a saddle and then winds it way on the side of a mountain high around a drainage toward the other saddle directly below Sunrise Peak. And then it's that 1/4 mile straight up climb Johnr1 likes. As we were just about at the top, we could see the fountain starting at 5PM. It was funny how with the clouds scattered around the sky, one big cloud cast a shadow just over the fountain area.

    The views are quite wonderful toward the Mazzies and Supes. We were lucky there wasn't much wind too. We hung out for 15 minutes and then went over to the higher side of the peak (west) before starting back down. The trip was quick and not too slippery on the steep stuff. We encountered a few hikers here and there; we were surprised that we didn't see more.

    It was a fun few hours. Thx Hank. We'll have to hike in this area when the temps are cool again. Here is a video that includes my movies and stills. The stills are not edited other than to add the auto shadow/highlight. I was glad the Fraleys put in an appearance.... just wish his camera would :D . The music is a little more old school as Hank says he likes that kind. Frankly, so do I. So you're gonna hear the theme from Pink Panther, a Paul McCartney song when he directs an orchestra, and Rat Pack. (so please ;) no musical comments from the TevaGallery :-({|= :lol:)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the 101 and Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale, head east on Shea to the stoplight at Via Linda. Take a left onto Via Linda, and follow it past the light at Frank Lloyd Wright. Continue past the light at 124th street to 128th street. Drive north on 128th street to the dead-end and park there. The trail begins on the west side of the street.
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
    help comment issue

    end of page marker