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Hawes Trail System, AZ
mini location map2022-01-06
22 by photographer avataradilling
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Hawes Trail System, AZ 
Hawes Trail System, AZ
Hiking6.50 Miles 1,240 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   2.12 mph
1,240 ft AEG      37 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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I have been exploring the mountain bike trails up and around Usery Mountain. The Hawes Trail Alliance has done an outstanding job on these trails. Primarily for mountain bikers, they are well suited for hikers as well.

My goal was to get up near Sunset Ridge and possibly climb up to the the peaks of Usery Mountain for a sunset. I started out at the NRA Pit/Maricopa Trail Trailhead along Usery Pass Road. It's the next main parking area north of the Lone Mountian/Bulldog OHV gate.

A few cars present at the trailhead when I arrived and off I went. My plan was to start on the Wild Horse Trail, then take the High Noon Trail over to Red Mountain Rush. I bushwhacked a little from High Noon to make it over to Red Mountain Rush.

This trail takes you up to the ridge, just below the Usery Peaks. It was a very nicely maintained trail for sure. I came across 5-6 groups of bikers, but nobody else on the way up. I spotted a really cool crested saguaro along this trail as well.

I made it up to the ridge and the sunset was looking so-so. Lots of clouds, but between the layer of smog over Phoenix and the low clouds on the western horizon, I was not so sure it would play out. Lucky for me I decided to stay and was treated to a very nice sunset. The afterglow once the sun dropped below the horizon was really vivid.

To complete my loop, I started down via the Goat Trail. There's two branches, one for mostly hikers and the other for bikers. I took the hiker route and made it to the Iron Goat/High Ridge/L'Alpe d'Huez junction. I came across a biker who was very surprised to see me up there, in the dark. I almost decided to take my regular path down via the L'Alpe d'Huez to the wash, but that would have put me south of the trailhead. But, I have never been on the Iron Goat Trail, so I decided to take the more direct path down.

The Iron Goat Trail started off very nice. It follows the ridgeline going northeast. There was a little up and down and towards the end, it got extremely steep. I could not imagine riding a bike up a few sections. It was hard to hike down them.

I made it to the junction of the NRA trails and made my way back to the trailhead. This little loop offered a nice afternoon/early evening adventure. Beautiful scenery and views, cool cacti, a nice sunset, some elevation and miles.
"Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee." –Demetri Martin

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304 Photosets

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