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Great Horned Tortoise - Union Peak Lasso Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-11-12
19 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Great Horned Tortoise - Union Peak Lasso Loop, AZ 
Great Horned Tortoise - Union Peak Lasso Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2021
joebartels
Hiking8.41 Miles 1,133 AEG
Hiking8.41 Miles   3 Hrs   54 Mns   2.36 mph
1,133 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Concerned I wouldn't get a parking space at 6:40 am on a nice Friday morning, there were eight cars. The word is out on Piestewa.

Desert Tortoise looks like the Autobahn for mountain bikers but it had a few positives.

Coming around the south side of Great Horned Owl I'd seen four people since the beginning. This may be the best hike in the valley if you hate people. The south side is interesting but I was concerned about getting hit by a bike without someone watching my back. The northeast side has abundant Cholla that keeps singing hours after sunrise!

Halfway up Union Peek, I saw a large group of maybe 12 below but never crossed paths. The tiny ridgeline at the top is cool. Might be one of the better 360° views in the valley.

The rolling hills of Valle Vista Trail might be the best preserved Sonoran Desert in the valley.

Desert Tortoise looks like it'd be a lot of fun on a mountain bike, but the view is primarily a sea of rooftops. You do get a nearly full view of South Mountain with Goat Hill and the center-ridge power chord of peaks over in the Estrellas.

It's a nice loop, but I hate flat trails. That said, I'll be back for the balance of Valle Vista Trail and Cactus Wren to snag a gold star. Seeing how antsy I was to leave, tackling Estrella Regional and North McDowells might be a really bad idea.
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- joe
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