Saturday brought about a nice day to get outdoors and I had the bonus of having the day off from work and the opportunity to go on a hike with lovely wife Carolyn. I’ve been working on knocking off Phoenix city trails in the park system. After a great home cooked breakfast Carolyn and ventured back out to the Desert Vista Trailhead in the Sonoran Reserve Park.
Last week we hiked approximately 10 miles on a variety of trails from the Desert Vista Trailhead focusing on the southern trails in the area. We were determined to finish the northern trails and chalk up another park off of the list. We started on the Hawk’s Nest Trail and to increase mileage we turned on the Desert Tortoise Trail and hiked it where it ends at the Valle Verde Trail. From there we headed north to the Dixie Mountain Loop.
We hiked counter clockwise on Dixie Mountain Loop over to the Dixie Summit Trail that is about a 1/4 mile out and back summit hike. On Dixie Summit, you get some great views in all directions and it is advertised as extremely difficult. Well it isn’t. The trail has some nice sloping switchbacks and it is a beautiful side trip.
After some time just soaking in the beauty of the day we returned to the Dixie Mountain Loop Trail and hiked over to the Bobcat Trail. This trail is a mile one-way and ends up by a street near a housing development. We did not see a single person on this portion and it was a quick trip to the end and then back to the Dixie Mountain Loop. Carolyn and I continued in our counter clockwise travel over to the Western Vista Trail that is listed as moderate/difficult. We stopped and I checked my running app at the trail head and I knew we were in for a devilish time per my app. We risked it anyhow and I am sure glad we did. Once again a beautiful summit hike on a nice switchback trail.
Carolyn and I thought this trail was more labor intensive then the Dixie Summit. Once again beautiful views in all directions and a significant incline/decline. On this portion we passed a father and his three young children hiking up. We thought that was pretty cool.
After a nice summit, we returned to the loop trail and hiked to Hawk’s Nest Trail and back to the parking lot. For a Saturday, we encountered few hikers and few bikers. We were pleasantly surprised that the trails had few users and of all the Desert Vista Trails these were our favorites. The desert scenery is filled with cholla cacti in stunning color. The rocks, the trail, the cacti, the birds, my hiking partner, made this hike fantastic. No trash, no music, no cyclists running us down and just a few dog turds on the trail.
Of the few hikers we did see, many had their very young children hiking with them. I found this refreshing and helped restore some faith in humanity as these caregivers chose to get the children outdoors and experiencing nature. We ended up doing nine miles with close to 1700 foot elevation gains on our hike.
This is a hidden gem in North Phoenix. For us city dwellers it is proof that you can take a trip and never leave the farm. After the hike we decided to celebrate like we normally celebrate and that is with a craft beer. This time we chose Huss Brewing in central Phoenix since it was their release party for their Cenpho IPA. This IPA is brewed with fruit harvested in Central Phoenix. How cool is that? The taproom was packed and we had a great time unwinding and discussing what’s next. Phoenix is a great city with many adventures to be had and I can hardly wait until what lies ahead.