the objective today was to cover pyramid and bursera trails on south mountain
i've done both before, but at the time they were known as gila view and gila view west
up kiwanis, a short bit of national to pyramid, bursera, back east on national, down ranger and east on los lomitas
enjoyable loop with three good uphills
While I noticed the apparent destruction of the cairn at the summit of Pyramid Trail in South Mountain Park yesterday, I also found a new adornment on the summit of Bursera Trail.Please see the attached picture of the AZ Cardinals flag.
This trail is accessed from the Pyramid Trail.Take the Pyramid .44 miles and there will be a sign to turn left and start the Bursera Trail.It says it is 2.85 miles one way.Unlike the Pyramid trail that seems to go up the whole way to the National Trail and down all the way back.The Bursera Trail is one of those trails that seems to go uphill both ways .It is well groomed and signed.I only saw one jogger and one hiker.I can see why Chris and John like this area of South mountain.Nice hike and workout! The aeg is a guess.If someone wants to do and out and back on there gps,I will adjust mine.
Great half day hike! Perfect weather in the 70's and nice cool breeze. Walked from home in neighborhood to trailhead at end of Chandler Blvd. Began on Pyramid (3.0 miles)...to National...west for approximately 6 miles to Bursera (2.85 miles)which brought me back to my starting point. About 1 hour from front door to peak on Pyramid (see cairn at peak). Continued west on National from which you now see downtown Phoenix/West Valley/Tempe/Scottsdale etc. Two caves along the way, and an open mine shaft. Descent down National before intersecting with Bursera was rather steep, and I was glad that I wasn't going the other way as the two bicyclists were while walking their bikes up the climb. Two bottles of water were sufficient for me in this weather. I only encountered a few people which was surprising, for being a weekend and such beautiful weather but there isn't much in the way of connectors with other paths in between except for Lost Ranch Mine Trail and Lost Ranch Ruins Trail which aren't marked from National so unless you are in this loop for it entirety, there's not much to shorten it. The end of the loop takes you back up an AEG of about 600 feet which was enough to slow me down considerably. I will definitely do this one again! (See photoset if interested).
Up Pyramid to National, west on National to Goat Hill, further west and down Lost Ranch Mine (Mine Drop), up Lost Ranch Ruins, west on National to Bursera and back on Bursera to trailhead. Saw some poppies, fiddlenecks, a lupine, and a couple other kinds of flowers I don't know the names of. Getting very dry on South Mountain.
See that the matrix of trails in this section of South Mountain are starting to get some official name markers.
Lynn, Skippy and I parked at the end of Chandler Blvd. Headed west towards the wash per the City of Phoenix "TRAILS" sign. Bursera Trail follows the ridge line west on a recently carved out trail. I can recall in past years, off-trail hiking along this ridge line, scaling some boulders along the route. The newly carved out trail is even possible for mountain bikes (and saw about a dozen bikes doing just that today!). After the ridge line peters out, it drops down into a wash. Bursera Trail continues up some switchbacks joining the National Trail. We took the un-named trail up the north side of the wash climbing up to a saddle before dropping down to the Lost Camp Ruins (or is it Lost Ranch Ruins?). I presume this un-named trail is the Ruins Trail, but then again there is a side trail that heads up to Lost Camp Ruins and over to the mines.
Eventually we join the Pyramid Trail and loop back to our truck parked at the end of Chandler Blvd. Desert floor is looking quite green. Looks like we are setting up for a great spring wild flower show!
Time for the dogs to kick it up a notch. Threw in an extra 5 miles and 1000 ft. Zoey has a bad rear wheel and struggled a bit towards the end of the hike. Met Marlin (Chris) going up the National from the Pyramid intersection. Hiked up the Pyramid trail to the National, west on National to Goat Hill, further west and down Mine Drop (Lost Ranch Mine), up Ruins (Lost Ranch Ruins), west on National to Kebo/Bees Knees (Bursera) and back to 19th Ave & Chandler trailhead.
Along with Mike, my friends Ed and Ted showed up for this hike. This was Ed's first hike ever, and he did pretty well for a newbie. We started from the end of Chandler Road and made our way to the Gila View West Trail and then hiked back on teh Valley Trail. Ed was pretty spent by the time we got off the ridge from the Gila View West Trail and was ready to go back. His total mileage was 6 for this trip, which was pretty respectable.
Mike, Ted and I then made our way up the Lost Mine Trail to the National Trail and took it west. Ted took the Kebo Trail back to the Valley trail back to his car while Mike and I added an extra 1.3 miles to the end of the National Trail and took an unnamed trail back to the Valley Trail and back to the TH. Our total mileage was 12.3 miles by my track and Ted's was probably around 11 miles. Ted will be hiking down S. Kaibab to Phantom Ranch and up Bright Angel in 2 weeks, so he got a good training hike in for that.
The weather was cool and windy in the morning and got a little warm in the early afternoon, but not too bad. We ran into some mountain bikers from Pittsburgh at the saddle of the Valley Trail on our 2nd go round and I talked some football ( )while Mike waited very patiently.
Very nice area and I look forward to going back throughout the winter and early spring to do more of these trails. the views of the Estrellas were really nice throughout this one, also.
It was a great day for a hike, though that probably doesn't mean much as almost any day is a great hiking day to me. The Stillernator, two of his friends, Ted and Ed and I spent the better part of the day wondering around the South West area of South Mountain Park. We parked at the end of Chandler Blvd at 19th Ave. We stared out on the trail mikes hikes.net calls the Gila View West Trail until reaching where the Valley Trail looped back.
By the time we were half way back Ed was feeling pretty tired, it was his first venture at hiking. When we got to the Lost Mine trail Ed continued back towards the car, the rest of us headed up the Lost Mine trail. This trail turned out to be steeper than we had figured. But that resulted in some nice views.
At the National trail we noticed that the entrance to the Lost Mine trail was camouflaged. We headed west trying to keep an eye open for the other trails heading south. They must have also been camouflaged as we missed the Ruins trail and an unnamed trail. We did find the Kebo trail which Ted decided to use. The Stillernator and I kept on the National until the Valley West trail turned off at the saddle where the National descends into the San Juan valley. We followed the Valley West which turned into the Valley trail back to the TH.
I had been concerned about the trails being busy on a Sunday. But it turned out not being bad at all. We saw about 4 groups of bike riders and about 4 groups of hikers in 6 hours.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.