Sunday, December 10, 2017

Next Hike: King's Canyon Loops at Saguaro National Park West - December 15, 2017

You are invited to join our hiking group at any time during the season. Our sixth hike this season is King's Canyon Loops in Saguaro National Park West. We are leaving the parking lot at 0800. Be there early in order to give you time to sign up figure out vehicles. Please take plenty of water, lunch and good footwear. You will need $10.00 for the ride if you are not driving yourself. for this hike. There is a $10.00 annual fee for the Spot GPS emergency locator device that requires an annual fee for emergency service. Add your name to the email list when you sign in. You will receive regular weekly emails sent from Skip to let you know what the next hike is and directions to the trailhead. 

Longer: King’s Canyon Loops. From trailhead go up the right fork to the Kings Canyon/Sweetwater saddle for lunch, then back on the Kings Canyon trail.
The more difficult hike will start and end using the wash both ways; 6.4 mi. B-
The medium hike will start and end using the old mining road both ways.  C+

Easiest: near Hugh Norris Trailhead will be 6.2 mi., fairly level, and include some petroglyphs. C

Saguaro N.P. West

   Take I-10 SE to exit 236. Turn right and then again right (past the frontage 

road), onto Marana Road. Drive one mile and turn left onto North Sanders Road 

drive four miles. At the stop sign turn left onto Avra Valley Road. Drive one mile 

and turn right onto Sandero Road. Proceed 9 miles and turn left at the 


Kinney Road. Drive 1.7  miles to the visitor’s center on left. Flush toilets. 32° 
15’14.72”N,   111° 11’50.26W. 65 miles.

See Map on Google maps link below.

Wild Mustang/Alamo Springs trails, Tortalita Mtns. Dec 8, 2017

A cool morning as we signed up for rides to the
Tortalita Mountains, Wild Burrow Trailhead.

The hikers broke up into three groups. One group went up the Wild Burro Canyon trail to the rock shelter and trough.

The second group hiked up the Upper Javelina Trail Loop.

The third group hiked the Wild Mustang Trail which meets up with the Alamo Trail and back via the Wild Burrow Trail.

Wild Burrow Canyon Trail

Upper Javelina Trail

Wild Mustang, Alamo Springs and Wild Burrow Trail.

Wild Mustang/Alamo Springs trails, Tortalita Mtns.
    Take I-10 S. to exit 240 which is Marana exit. Turn left under the overpass and across the tracks on W. Tangerine Rd. In 5 m. turn left at the light on N. Dove Mt. Blvd. In 4.6 Mi. turn right off the turn-about. Tell the guard at the guard station we’re hiking (if asked) and proceed to the dirt parking lot on the right. 32°28’33.74”N, 111°05’28.97W.  Nice restrooms here.

Google Map to Wild Mustang/Alamo Strings hike Trailhead

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pass Mountain Trail - Usery Mountain Regional Park - Dec 1, 2017

By the time 8:00 AM rolled around there was thirteen of us gathered in the North Parking Lot. We divided into three vehicles and headed out on I-10 northbound. After working our way through Phoenix we arrived at the Wind Cave Trailhead in Usery Park.
After the requisite group shot we broke into three groups; Skip, Connie and company heading out on the Wind Cave trail, Mike and Sharon hitting the Pass Mountain trail counter-clockwise, and the rest faithfully following me clockwise on the Pass Mountain trail.
Pass Mountain Trail Pictures

We arrived at the lookout on the northwest corner of Pass Mountain just in time to see the 10:00 fountain at Fountain Hills Shopping Center.
Continuing we eventually met Mike and Sharon on their circuit. After a brief rest and picture stop, we carried on our way, arriving at the saddle and lunch stop around 11:00.
Thirty minutes later found us working our way down from the saddle and on the homeward stretch. This section seems to be the longest of all, you're sure the parking lot is just over the next rise, NOT!. There was even some unrest brewing at the back of the line on whether I had missed the turn and was starting out on the second circuit!
We eventually arrived back at the vehicles about 5 minutes before the other two groups. Mike and Sharon had arrived earlier and had headed up the Wind Cave trail to meet Skip’s bunch.
The mandatory Dairy Queen stop on the way back to Palm Creek arriving well before Happy Hour!

Wind Cave Trail

Wind Cave Trail is a shorter hike at about 3.1 miles, and it starts winding upward just after going through a pretty wash area. The trail becomes steeper near the top. There are large boulders along the way; many of which are part of the trail. Great views amongst the rock and cactus. There is a flag at the top of the trail and even a little farther, a cave. 

Pass Mountain Trail is the Red. Wind Cave Trail is the black trail in the middle. 

Directions to Usery Mountain Regional Park
From I-10 and Florence Blvd. continue northwest on I-10. Exit right onto the Loop 202. Continue on 202 as it turns north. Go past the Hwy 60 exits, then take Exit 28, Broadway eastbound (right). Immediately move to the left lane and turn left on Ellsworth Rd. Ellsworth will become Usery Pass Rd. In about 6 miles turn right into Usery Mt. Rec. Area. $8? fee required. Stay left on Usery Park road, entering Wind Cave Drive. Go north, then past the restroom area and park in the south parking lot. Coordinates: 33º28’25.91”N W111º36’26.04”W. Home approx. 3:30 - 4:00pm