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Sunday, November 24, 2013


Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Descending along the south ridge

Known locally as one of the "Seven Summits of Phoenix", North Mountain National Trail #44 is an urban hiking treasure that's also part of the annual Phoenix Summit Challenge competition held each November.  Its central location, trailhead amenities and easy access from major travel routes contribute to this trail's popularity.  The ascent begins on a set of rough-hewn stone stairs worn ragged by the constant pounding of hiking boots and running shoes. This vertical segment deposits hikers on a cracked asphalt road hacked out of the mountain’s slope that climbs 600 feet in just under a mile.  Although the tower-cluttered summit is where many trekkers turn and head back the way they came, it's not the end of the trail. Beyond the hardware jungle, trail #44 continues down the south ridge through creosote, cactus and crumbling schist, descending steeply on a less crowded, unpaved path.

Looking north from the paved road

LENGTH: 1.6 miles 
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1490' - 2104'
HOURS: 5:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. (trails open until 11:00 p.m.)
FACILITIES: restrooms, water, picnic tables
GETTING THERE: North Mountain Park, 10600 N. 7th Street, Phoenix (7th Street & Peoria).
Trail begins at the Maricopa picnic area.

INFO & MAPS: City of Phoenix, (602) 262-7901

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