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Saturday, November 30, 2013


McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Balanced Rock

Even in a terrain replete with natural sandblasted granite sculptures, Balanced Rock stands out.  Located in the heart of the newly opened Brown’s Ranch cluster of trails, this massive mushroom-shaped behemoth stands tall and precariously exposed atop a weathered slab of igneous stone. Flanked by a complement of lesser boulders and a wind-tortured juniper, the hows and whys of the monolith’s predicament are fodder for inquisitive minds.  The path to the rock is a short detour easily accessible via connecting trails. Although it is popular as a side trip off longer loop treks, the rock can be reached most directly by hiking 1.2 miles on Powerline Road to the Balance Rock Trail junction.  From here, it’s 0.9-mile to the rock and 1.6 miles to trail’s end. A map at the trailhead shows other hike combinations. 

Balanced Rock Trail

LENGTH: 5.6 miles roundtrip (or 4.2 to the rock and back)
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 2570’ – 2646’
GETTING THERE: Granite Mountain Trailhead, 31402 N. 136th St. Scottsdale.
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Princess/Pima exit #36 and go 6.5 miles north on Pima to Dynamite Blvd./Rio Verde Dr.  Turn right and continue 5.9 miles to 136th St., turn left and go 1.8 miles to the trailhead on the left. Trailhead is open sunrise to sunset.  No facilities.
INFO & MAPS: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

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