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Monday, October 25, 2010

MA-HA-TAUK TRAIL

Ma-Ha-Tauk Trail South Mountain Park, Phoenix All I really wanted to do today was have lunch at Poncho’s on Central Ave. However, the thought of stuffing my face with their most excellent enchiladas without first hiking a few miles, triggered my guilt synapses. Thus, I decided to check out one of the nearby “little” trails on the western end of South Mountain Park that had been off my radar. Having done all the exciting “big” routes in the park---you know, The National Trail, Alta, Holbert, etc.---I set my expectation meter on low as I headed out to hike the ugly step-trail known as Ma-Ha-Tauk. This easy route traverses the foothills of one of the three mountain ranges (Gila, Guadalupe and Ma Ha Tauk) that make up South Mountain Preserve. The trail has its good and bad points. On the plus side, it’s close to town, easy to follow, connects to many other routes in the park and has some sweet views of downtown Phoenix and the Sierra Estrella mountains to the west. On the down side, the area was burned several years ago, so vegetation is sparse and a nearby shooting range provides annoying background “music” that echoes off the cliff faces. Still, this trails makes for a quick out-and-back trek while on your way to Poncho’s. LENGTH: 3 miles round trip RATING: easy ELEVATION: 1,300 – 1,700 feet BEST SEASONS: October - April GETTING THERE: From central Phoenix, go south on Central Ave. to Dobbins Road. Turn right (west) and continue to 19th Ave. Go left (south) on 19th Ave and follow it 0.8 miles all the way to the end and park at the signed trailhead. PARK HOURS: 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. INFO: City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation: http://phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south/hiking/index.html