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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shadow Mountain


SHADOW MOUNTAIN
Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Summit of Shadow Mountain

This under-appreciated gem of a mountain in the least traveled corner of Phoenix Mountains Preserve  offers hikers a straight-off-the-suburban-sidewalk entre into a pristine pocket of Sonoran desert. The summit trail is unmitigated by switchbacks, ascending the peak on upright rock faces and loose gravel with dizzying exposure---it's not a trek for acrophobics. 
Those who brave the climb will find views of ball-field-checkered neigborhoods creeping up against an undeveloped swath of cactus and brittlebush.  An unusual-looking reservoir and high-rent properties fill the foreground of a 360-degree  cityscape panorama ringed by mountains, cotton fields and hazy spaces.  Even without making the woozy climb, hikers can enjoy this desert haven by following the lazy loop trails circling the base of the peak.
Lookout Mountain in the distance

LENGTH:
Big Loop: 1.6 miles
Small Loop: 0.8 mile
RATING: moderate/difficult
ELEVATION: 1550' - 1645' or 1810' (with summit spur)
HOURS: sunrise to sunset or 7 p.m. whichever comes first
FACILITES: water fountain and horse water tank
GETTING THERE:
Exit SR51 at Greenway and go west to Cave Creek Road.  Turn south and continue to Claire Dr.
Follow Claire past 25th St. and take the next right onto 25th Place (unmarked road). The trailhead is at the corner of 25th Place and Acoma. Park along the retaining wall. 
INFO: City of Phoenix, 602-262-7901

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