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Holbert Trail - South Mountain, AZ

no permit
875 364 1
Guide 364 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > South Mtn
3.2 of 5 by 55
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,300 feet
Elevation Gain 1,075 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,100 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.07
Backpack No
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6  2019-07-06
Lost Ranch Mine - Holbert Loop
7  2019-04-27 david_allen_3
7  2019-04-20
Dobbins Buena Vista & Old Holbert Lookouts
8  2019-03-09
Piestewa & SoMo Loop
11  2018-11-03
Holbert-Kiwanis-Loop with Towers Traverse
2  2018-07-21
Pie & Kiwanis - Holbert Loop
1  2018-04-28
Dobbins and Buena Vista Lookouts via Holbert
5  2018-04-01 caragruey
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 13
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
24 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Glyphs, Canyon & Ridge
by joebartels

Charles M. Holbert was referred to as the "Old Man of the Mountain". He was SoMo's first park custodian starting in Feb of 1929, lasting ten years. He said he explored every inch of the park be it on foot or on horse, and felt responsible of all who wandered in the South Mountains. In 1958 a lookout point was named in his honor.

Spring of '88 brought a proposal for an aerial tramway near the Holbert area as reported by Phoenix New Times. Phoenix Gazette reported it as a gondola. While not much of an ascent a restaurant up top was sure to lure. The TV towers would have been removed and Summit Road closed. Just a proposal. An amphitheatre proposed near the entrance caused the most ruckus.

This trail has a great mixture of scenery and a moderate grade. Keep an eye out for rock art, especially the rare waterbirds. This description is from the trailhead at the lower end to the upper southern end.

Parking is never a problem. On occasion, Horseback riders from the local outfitter are seen within the first five minutes. From the trailhead be on the lookout for petroglyphs on the dark boulders in the first quarter mile. Soon you cross an area used for cookouts. The trail is pretty flat for almost a half mile.

0.50 mile Follow briefly alongside a paved road to a tank 0.6 mi. The grade increases for about 1/4 mile, leaving evidence of civilization. After a few long and lazy switchbacks city views open up. Then you reach a saddle and follow along the upper part of a wash with a small box canyon at the end. The trail zig zags out of the canyon near Duckbill Rock.

1.80 mile The intersection with the short, steep spur trail up to Dobbins Lookout is near the top of the small canyon. Dobbins is a popular out-n-back turnaround. If you go up, check out the cool doohickey at the lookout. Out-n-back is 4.1mi / 1k

The pain of ascending feels like it's over as the trail dips through a wash and the grade eases until you cross summit road at 2.05 mi. The final stretch offers great views of the Valley. With exception of busy weekends in season it is quiet and surreal. The trail ends at 2.4 mi where it intersects Summit Road the second time as a "T" junction with the National Trail.

The three personalities of this trail get better with each step. The flat stroll through petroglyph alley does show signs of overuse. Bring a pair of binoculars to check the higher rocks for petroglyphs. The canyon midway is probably the most loved. Past Dobbins is my favorite. Views from the Four Peaks to the Estrella Range along with downtown Phoenix get me everytime. Most notably the silence of the surrounding city. Birds chirping, squirrel calls and even coasting bicycles all captivate with their crisp distinctive sounds.

7.10 mi / 1230 aeg Holbert Kiwanis Loop

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2015-06-04 joebartels

    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 70 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    With perfect temperatures and a slight breeze beckoning, I decided to hike the Holbert trail for the first time since I hiked it during the PSC a couple of years ago. I had a friend with me and we chatted the entire way up, up, up to Dobbins lookout where we had a nice break to chat even more and take in the views of the city. It's an interesting view of Phoenix that I don't see very often - and the air was very clear this day. There were several people at the lookout and we met a couple of women from Toronto, in town for a conference who were surprised to hear that our weather isn't always this nice :lol: . They also gave us some good information about the best time of year to hike Toronto (fall - after bug season, in case you're wondering).
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Somehow, in all the years I've been hiking South Mtn., I've never even heard of this trail. There's a HAZ perk for you!
    Nice trail and definitely a good one to add to the rotation. It's a good climb with a fairly steady grade and nice views (water tank excepted). Went up to the Lookout, spent a few minutes gazing at the Sierra Estrellas, picked up and recycled a few Bud Light cans scattered around the picnic area, then headed back down. Still too early for flowers, but the birds were fun and the January light was beautiful.

    Saw the usual rock wrens, Abert's towhees, curve billed thrashers, blue-grey gnatcatchers and cactus wrens, but also a few migrants like yellow rumped warblers and white-crowned sparrows in for the winter.

    Also, the dog liked this trail, especially the downhill part. So it's a winner!
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Not the full enchilada or even the whole bert, just to the lookout-n-back.

    All was fab until five minutes down my sandal fell apart. Just tender footed the two miles back. Test results just in, I will not be joining the barefoot hikers club. Jogging a few areas was easier. Had to keep that to minimum when the coast was clear. I'm not as pleasant to watch running as Sir Denny!
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
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    Kiwanis and anything near Kiwanis was packed at 2pm. Fear not, Holbert has parking for a small city. While I'm not yippee skippy excited on the lower flats the hike never disappoints. The lookout was bumping. Usually I avoid it but relaxed for a few minutes in the shade of the hut for a change of pace. 10 months is too long to let this one slip out of rotation.
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
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    Holbert Lookout
    john got the band back together for a south mountain rehab hike
    plan a was maricopa peak, but there was a memorial bike ride that blocked off everything but holbert
    no matter, holbert it was
    once we got to the intersection with national, we decided to check out the old holbert lookout
    followed the summit road for a bit, then on an old roadbed
    interesting place with some nice views of the valley
    took an off-trail route back, eventually dropping down a drainage to holbert
    very crowded on the way back, but to be expected
    nice to hike with the boys again :)

    found a link for the memorial bike event: ... tain
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    dobbins lookout after work
    apparently today is the first day of hiking for most of the valley population
    knew mormon trailhead would be full, but there even were five vehicles at geronimo
    holbert was way too crowded on this nice morning with people, dogs and audible music
    a few clueless/oblivious : rambo :
    geronimo would have been the best choice, or mid-afternoon, but that depends on game time :)
    still a good hike, but this isn't long enough outside of summer temps so i'll have to figure something else out
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    dobbins lookout after work
    might have to keep this for my college gameday hike
    slurpee on the way home - a little too often this week, but they sure are refreshing
    now for some world championship track and field :)
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    hit dobbins lookout after work
    busy trail
    felt slow today and it was indeed my slowest ascent all summer
    decided to walk over to the judith tunell interpretive trail and check it out
    flat and paved, curiosity satisfied
    checked off the south mountain list and a unique, but nothing exciting
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    just went to dobbins lookout this morning
    quite a few people, but within reason
    some basketball fans out hiking
    this is one of my favorite south mountain trails
    best enjoyed on a weekday
    route scout had this way over what i usually get - 4.3 vs. 4.0
    Holbert Trail - South Mountain
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Silent Sunday so Holbert was obviously a zoo being nice temps in February. A father was teaching his five year old how to make petroglyphs past the turtle boulders. He struggled pecking at a large boulder with a smaller rock. The entire area resembles a century of such etiquette. Add in enough broken glass to build Crystal Cathedral ten times over and you get the idea how well the park has managed this area. It's cool. The rangers are assigned to Camelback so the surrounding neighborhoods don't whine to the media. As a bonus the recent Sonoran Preserves and new trails popping up annually deplete resources too.

    Wildflowers aren't hitting in this area. Too tired for a loop I headed back to check out some other areas. A group of kids passed smoking cigars. Friendly too. Been awhile since I've had a good smoke on a city hike so I'm probably missing out.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Enter South Mountain Park from Central Avenue. Just past the first guard gate, turn left toward the South Mountain Educational Center, and proceed East about 1/4 mile to the marked trailhead.
    page created by joebartels on Jun 04 2015 11:28 pm
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