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Outer Loop - Skyline Regional Park, AZ
mini location map2019-03-21
10 by photographer avatarLindaAnn
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Outer Loop - Skyline Regional Park, AZ 
Outer Loop - Skyline Regional Park, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2019
Hiking14.69 Miles 3,491 AEG
Hiking14.69 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   2.88 mph
3,491 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Headed to Buckeye - the west side's version of Apache Junction. Today was my first time to Skyline Regional Park. I'd hiked in the area as a teenager, but that was 20+ years ago, so basically all new to me.

We met at the trailhead at 6:00 and got started on Quartz Mine trail. Took Quartz Mine for about 1.5 miles. Smooth trail, with some ups and downs, but pretty easy.

Got on Tortuga Trail for about half a mile. A little more uphill on Tortuga, but still nice.

Turned on the trail up to Javelina Summit. Great little uphill hike, gaining more than 700' in just under a mile. The sun had just risen by the time we reached the top. Good views of the West Valley. Joe gazed longingly at Squaw Peak.

Headed back down and retraced our steps along Tortuga and a little bit of Quartz Mine over to Skyline Crest Trail. Headed north-northwest up some switchbacks, regaining most of the elevation we had just lost.

Took a short side trip over to Crest Summit, could see that the parking lot below had started to fill up, then continued north on Skyline Crest. This trail has some nice views to both the east and west.

Turned west on Lost Creek, then Mountain Wash, then Turnbuckle. These all kind of blended together, gaining and losing short bits of elevation as we headed west, following old Jeep roads in places.

Up at the turn onto Valley Vista, we took that to our third (and highest) summit of the day. This one may have been my favorite. Headed back to Turnbuckle, then continued west and downhill. At the bottom of this downhill, you could head straight south back to the parking lot and get a nice 9-10 mile loop with 3 summits--might be an option for future weekday hikes once the Loop-202 is completed.

Continued west on Granite Falls and Chuckwalla, again crossing Jeep roads at times. Finally, at about 9.50 miles into the hike, we saw some poppies.

From Chuckwalla, we turned onto Pyrite and started going uphill again. I may have held back tears. Yes, I planned this route, but the last uphill was tiring for me. Turned onto Pyrite Summit and headed to the final summit of the day. Returned back to Pyrite then headed down. I really liked this section of Pyrite, it followed a ridge downhill, with lots of cholla, and dodder in several places. Denny was seeing rocks that looked like javelinas. I saw the rock, but wasn't seeing what he was seeing from his angle--Joe asked him if he'd been drinking enough water.

Once back down, we headed east on Granite Falls, then Turnbuckle, then Mountain Wash back to the trailhead. These three kind of blended together too. Some ups and downs across some washes, and it seemed to take forever for the parking lot to get closer. Saw several people through this section, but had only seen a few people up until this point. We finished up just before 11:30 to a nearly full parking lot.

Overall, a nice hike, and it was better than I had expected a city park would be. Buckeye did a nice job with these trails, and it was pleasant hiking with the perfect temperatures and abundance of spring flowers. There are a lot of trail options to make a hike as long or short, or easy or difficult, as you would like. Good day, and great company
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