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Mountain Wash Trail - Skyline RP
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mini location map2019-03-22
15 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Mountain Wash Trail - Skyline RPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2019
kingsnake
Hiking8.47 Miles 1,815 AEG
Hiking8.47 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.42 mph
1,815 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Not sure where to look for flowers this week, and not having been to Skyline Regional Park in over a year, I decided schlep back out to Buckeye. In case flowers were thin in the White Tank foothills, I added the Verrado Petroglyphs to my route, so I could guarantee some interesting photos. I also added the Crest Summit Trail, hoping for extra elevation gain and some nice views. 📷

There were a ton of fluffy, yellow, desert marigold at the trailhead.

While getting ready at the Skyline Regional Park trailhead, I saw what I thought was a poo pumper truck. Not quite. As I passed by the restrooms — actual running water & flush toilets! — I saw the truck, next to which was a guy in a wetsuit & silver dive helmet, with hoses coming out of it. I thought maybe they were filming a commercial, but instead the diver climbed into a tiny pipe & disappeared! (I found out later that the diver was clearing blockages in the water / sewer line.)

Skyline Regional Park was not in “super bloom”, but on Mountain Wash Trail I did spot what looked like a pink lupine, globe chamomile, brittlebush (of course), and Fremont’s pincushion (?) — a white, difficult to photograph, flower that looked like a small carnation.

Flowers on Lost Creek Trail included California sun cup, scorpionweed, Mexican gold poppy, Fremont’s pincushion (?) and scads of lupine. I even saw one lupine patch growing in the middle of the old jeep trail! 🤗

SOB Trail is a marked, but apparently unofficial, MTB trail along the eastern boundary of Skyline Regional Park. It switchbacks 225 ft. in a mile to a saddle on the west slope of Hill 1976. SOB Trail then follows the contour for a ½ mile to Hill 1976’s east slope, where there is a rocky foot trail that connects the Verrado Petroglyphs back to the old jeep trail. SOB Trail was a pleasant stroll.

A razor wire-topped fence makes it difficult to photograph the Verrado Petroglyphs. Not only due to distance, with my crappy pocket camera, but also angle, as many of the etchings are high on the varnished rock formation.

I really don’t like rocky trails — they are hard on the feet, and there’s always the threat of breaking an ankle — but I followed it from the Verrado Petroglyphs 200 ft. down to the old jeep trail. In a ¼ mile, I was at the SOB Trail sign, back in Skyline Regional Park.

On the 400 ft. climb back up Lost Creek Trail, I was passed by a sheriff’s deputy in a weight vest. 😅

The handful of steep little 50 ft. climbs on Skyline Crest do not come close to justifying its “difficult” rating. It’s mostly level, then downhill to Quartz Mine Trail. (Done the opposite direction, south to north, the climb is 250 ft. in a ⅓ of a mile, or the same as moderate rated Lost Creek Trail.)

I loved Skyline Crest Trail! It winds along the spine of the ridge, each twist revealing a new, awesome view: southwest towards the Eagletail Mountains, south to the Gila Bend Mountains, southeast to South Mountain, and east into Phoenix. ⛰

Though not reaching “super bloom” levels, there were scads of flowers on Skyline Crest Trail: desert tobacco, desert globemallow, scorpionweed, desert chicory, and the only decent ocotillo I spotted all day. (Most ocotillo blooms I saw were fading to brown.)

At the top of Crest Summit Trail, I found a fairly smooth back supporting rock to recline against, and sat down for lunch and a hiking beer, while enjoying the spacious view.

I blasted through Quartz Mine Trail, 1.4 miles to the trailhead, in only 30 minutes. There may have been a few flowers on Quartz Mine Trail, but I had already got what I came for, and so wasn’t much interested in spending time looking. 😉

Hike & 💐 Video: [ youtube video ]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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