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Sonoran Preserve North - Western Loop, AZ
mini location map2022-02-04
30 by photographer avatartibber
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Sonoran Preserve North - Western Loop, AZ 
Sonoran Preserve North - Western Loop, AZ
Hiking8.70 Miles 730 AEG
Hiking8.70 Miles   2 Hrs   50 Mns   3.18 mph
730 ft AEG      6 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Working on finishing some of the trails of the Sonoran Preserve N. This time I went west. There is a small parking area at the far west end of the Sonoran Preserve, which interestingly, after the turnoff for Apache Wash TH, when traveling east on the Sonoran Parkway, turns into East and then West Dove Valley Road.

After a short walk on the Paseo West I got on the Ocotillo Trail. It's a pleasant trail as you meander your way west and north all the way to above Carefree Highway. The brittlebush all looks very healthy. I would encounter mostly bikers initially and very few hikers until I got over on the north side. It's always fun trying out new trail not knowing specifically what you might see along the way. Tramonto Peaks are across the highway. You can also see the beige colored water tank as it's rather large. The communications tower is to your north and east as you continue on the Ocotillo Trail.

As you come around the far north corner of the Ocotillo Trail you start to see the north country (New River Mesa and Mountains) and then heading east Cave Creek Recreational Area, Spur Cross, Black Mountain and Skull Mesa. You can hear the traffic noise but not bad. As you head east, of course, it was a clear day and I could see the Mazzies and Four Peaks. Eventually I could see the trailhead called Desert Hills (Carefree Highway west of 7th Ave) and as I arrived, I discovered it's a pretty nice place too. There are restrooms and ample parking. A far cry from when we started our hike back in 2014 with Karl and Kathy, this TH was just dirt

The trail names change here. You head east from this Trailhead on the Sidewinder Trail before heading SW toward a saddle. There is a paved road to the Communications tower that looks quite steep. I would later find where you can catch it from the other side just above the Sidewinder Trail. Anyway, I headed toward the saddle. It looks like some sort of trail spurs SW from here down the other side. And it looks like there might be the option to climb a peak to the NW. To the east it looks like there is an old trail that is blocked off and then the Sidewinder continues east. Maybe they changed the layout to accommodate the bikes or it was the old way to get to the tower.

The trail tread is still very nice as you skirt around the southside of the tower and get directly below it. As you come to the saddle on the east side you come to an off trail intersection so I went up and checked it out. That's when I saw the last of the paved road to the tower; maybe it's hiked like North Mountain where people come up for a workout, though this is not nearly as long. There is also an option to climb up a double peak which I checked out but the trail petered out too fast. I thot I would save that off trail for another time.

I had encountered more hikers and bikers here and would do so off and on for the rest of the hike but not too bad. The views have really been nice the whole way too as it wasn't very hazy at all. Once I got back to the ground floor, I hooked back up with the Ocotillo Trail (the second option heading east on the Sidewinder). I started noticing how green the ground was. I guess I should look closer to see if the groundcover is friend or foe but I suspect foe.

I've been on this section before but took a few pictures thinking of the song, "the green green grass of home"; perhaps because we had met these two young men from Wales at the Airport Mesa Scenic Viewpoint the day before. And when I think of Wales, I think TOM JONES😻. I continued going up and out of little washes east until it was time to get on the Paseo West.

Once on the Paseo West it was smooth sailing. This is quite the sidewalk... not a crack the whole way and I only saw two replacement panels. BUT what was absolutely incredible and had to cost a bundle were the TEN bridges going over the little washes. I'm glad I took a picture of each one or I would have lost count. I was only doing the last two miles of this stretch as it starts at the Apache Wash TH. And not only that, there at least a dozen fence like structures above drainages to control the water I assume. AND, there were two large fancy shade structures. As nice as that all is, it had to cost a fortune and for the amount of use that it gets, I really wonder why so much money was spent. I did finally find this link for some info: ... -boulevard

I was getting some backlighting so I tried to grab some pics of the cholla. This part of the Paseo Walkway isn't quite as noisy as it is away from the road. Of course, "walk and gawk" was very enjoyable when you don't have to worry at all about your footing. I eventually got back to below where I had hiked earlier with the Communications tower closer in view. It took a little longer to finish the section cuz I did have to take ten pictures of bridges and about the same of the other structures along the way.

I took Tonto 3 and went back to the Apache Wash TH to enjoy my Huckleberry Beer. There were still quite a few people here. And even though it was an easy 8 mile plus hike, I did have trouble getting up my stairs cuz of my right hip and leg. Frustrating, but the pain passes. I only have pain when going up.

WATCH: 8.56 mile (high point 2079, low point 1704) avg bpm 134, max 160 (4% Zone 4 anaerobic 57% Zone 3 aerobic, 43% Zone 2 weight control) burning 1153 calories. Starting temp 60.7 (JUST RIGHT!) and 9% humidity finishing at 4:59PM.
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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