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Monday, January 20, 2014

THUNDERBIRD CONSERVATION PARK


THUNDERBIRD CONSERVATION PARK
City of Glendale
Highpoint on Arrowhead Point (H2) Trail

With over 14 miles of trails spread over a 1,185-acre preserve, Thunderbird Conservation Park offers easy access to desert hiking. The park’s eight trails weave around Hedgpeth Hills---a chain of peaks capped with black basalt boulders tucked among subdivisions and bustling roadways. Bisected by 55th Avenue, the park's east and west sections are connected by a pedestrian bridge. Three of the trails ascend to summits with cityscape views while others wend around ridgelines and a wetland area with wildlife viewing blinds. Although the trails are currently identified by a nondescript number system (H1, H2, etc.), proposed new names are much more colorful and speak to each route’s distinct character. For instance, Flatlander (a.k.a. H1A), is---well, flat and sweat-free, while Chuckwalla Trail (H5A) meanders through the park’s prime “fat lizard” territory.  A good way to sample the trails and get an overview of the area is to hike  up to the flagpole on Arrowhead Point Trail (H2) and loop back on Coach Whip Trail (H1) with a side trip to the wetlands. This trek begins at the Pinnacle Peak Road trailhead and climbs swiftly to the 0.75-mile point where an American flag anchored in a pile of volcanic rubble denotes the park's highest point. While on the summit, see if you can spot the  dome of  University of Phoenix Stadium, which will be the venue for Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. From here, the trail descends down to a junction near some ramadas.  Go left to visit the lake, then backtrack for a 4-mile out-and-back trek.


LENGTH:
8 trails ranging from 0.25 to 5 miles.
RATING: easy to moderately difficult
ELEVATION: 1400'- 1862'
HOURS: sunrise to sunset daily
FACILITIES: restrooms, horse staging, shade ramadas
GETTING THERE:
North Entrance (as described here): Pinnacle Peak Road between 53rd and 55th Ave. Go north on I17 to the Pinnacle Peak Road exit 217 and drive 3.5 miles west to 55th Ave. 
Main Entrance: 22600 N. 59th Ave., Glendale

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