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4 triplogs

Feb 21 2004
boxerjoey
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 Guides 2
 Photos 440
 Triplogs 4

44 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Quartz Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2004
boxerjoey
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   2 Hrs   50 Mns   3.18 mph
1,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was my first trip into the McDowells as I've always been apprehensive of access issues in this intriguing backyard mountain range. I used this initial voyage as a reconnaissance for the area to see how easy it would be to access the ridge and higher peaks from the suburban trailheads.

I rated this hike a "2" overall. I was disappointed that the walk in from 104th was developed for such a long way. It felt like two miles of wash lined with half million dollar (and more) homes. This section is not without rewards; there's a lot of lush sonoran desert vegetation, a remarkable desert smell, and inviting views of the ridgeline beyond. However, the endless clamor of barking dogs and kids playing in their suburban backyards grew tiresome after four miles of it round trip. I yearned for a day not that long ago when you could walk this approach without seeing such sprawl. So, that part of the hike is a "1."

Once you get beyond the development, the trail is rather pleasant. The sounds of suburbia leave behind quickly enough and the mystique of the sonoran desert can finally envelop you. I think this route would be more interesting if you could turn it into an off-trail adventure to the ridge above, or an isolated peak off on the side. However, I gather this is against the preserve rules and so I won't be too conspicuous when I do this in the future.

I walked to the rock waterfall and scrambled up this easy wall for the view. You can easily continue in a number of -directions and if I had more time, I probably would have.

I think there must be a better way to access the McDowell ridgeline than this hike. But, if you are in the neighborhood and want a quick walk, this is not bad. It's just a shame you have to walk for so long through annoying development. I guess the rich people at the base of the mountain don't want the official trailhead near their house...
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Jan 26 2004
boxerjoey
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 Guides 2
 Photos 440
 Triplogs 4

44 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Governors PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 26 2004
boxerjoey
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   10 Mns   2.31 mph
1,700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I fell in love with this area after my first trip to point 2992 (basically, a subpeak of Governors Peak). This trip is definitely not for novices in my opinion. The Bell trail is a mess of brush and cairns that are not worth your time to even find given that they all seem to dead end in brush (or rock piles guaranteed to be concealing rattlesnakes).

The isolation and views are certainly worth the effort. Just make sure that you do not venture off to any private property. The locals seem adament about protecting their land.

The topo maps show the Bell trail continuing down to Crater Canyon past Governors Peak. Good luck finding that!

On the directions to the trailhead, I would think this would be a bad road to be on with a passenger car after some rain. My memory is that it is probably fine for a normal car under most conditions, but probably not appropriate when wet.
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Dec 19 2003
boxerjoey
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 Guides 2
 Photos 440
 Triplogs 4

44 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Hidden Valley via Guadalupe RidgePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 19 2003
boxerjoey
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,320 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   1 Hour   20 Mns   4.13 mph
1,320 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was one of the better hiking surprises thus far in Arizona. I set off for the ridgeline just seeing where it would lead, hoping I would eventually get a 360 degree view of the valley and environs. Each step seems to bring in a better view and increasing solitude as you inch up the "rollercoaster" ridge. The feeling of isolation was rather unexpected-- it's hard to come by in this area on a 75 degree day. Nonetheless, I passed only one person near Beverly Canyon and that was it until a mile below Hidden Valley.

Speaking of Hidden Valley, this is where I inadvertently hiked to by seeking a great view from the Guadalupe Ridgeline. After satisfying my desire for an encompassing view, I followed the obvious trail down to Hidden Valley (what are all these posts about route-finding issues?!@%) and was amazed at the beauty of this location. I hiked here from my front door!? This is definitely the best "out my door" hike I've done at South Mountain.

You could spend a fair amount of time exploring Hidden Valley for some cool bouldering spots. Or, you could just pass away some quiet moments in this seculed spot. Even though it is very close to busy trails and a bustling city, it feels a world apart down in there. Bravo-nice job South Mountain!

Regarding the view from the ridgeline, I think it is almost as good as the one from the National Trail west of Telegraph Pass. That trail has a better view of the Sierra Estrellas, but this hike has less people. And, if you continue on the Guadalupe ridge past the Hidden Valley turn off, the panorama of the Estrellas would undoubedtly improve.

Shhhhhh--keep this one a secret. It's a keeper.
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Nov 02 2003
boxerjoey
avatar

 Guides 2
 Photos 440
 Triplogs 4

44 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Bob Bear Trail #18 - Fossil CreekCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 02 2003
boxerjoey
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,391 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   3 Hrs      2.67 mph
1,391 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I did this hike hoping that the fall color table on this site and the suggestion by "Arizona's fifty best autumn hikes" guide book would be close with the peak color timing. However, the color down in Fossil Creek is at least a week to ten days away from "peak." For reference, the guide book mentioned above says that late October is best for peak color; this site says October 20-31 for autumn color. I think Oct 20 might be just a tad early even in a normal year given the relatively low elevation of the creek area. The higher elevations along the trail have some color, but it is mostly past peak right now.

While down in the creek area, there is a fair amount of color starting, but going even 100 feet above the creek for an overlook of the canopy illuminates that the best color is still a bit off; I'd estimate that less than a quarter of the trees were turning to vibrant colors. Alas, the warmest October on record in Phoenix (and certainly one of the warmest in state record) translates into late timing of fall color.

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful place to spend time, any time of year. On the down side, there is plenty garbage left from inconsiderate hikers and campers in this heavily used area. I am not sure why someone would throw their garbage about this magical spot in Arizona... :cry:

I might try to make it back here in ten days or so. I bet it would be glorious. The temperature certainly was today...
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average hiking speed 2.49 mph

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.

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