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Monday, November 9, 2015

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN TRAIL

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN TRAIL
City of Peoria
Looking east from Sunrise Mountain

Who knew that a suburban trail toggled to a kiddie playground could offer a respectable hike?
Sunrise Mountain Trail does just that with a three-tiered system of loops wrapping around a chain of peaks jutting above a sea of residential communities in Peoria. The trail begins at WestWing Park where colorful swings and slides are complemented with restrooms, drinking water and plenty of parking. One of the beautiful things about this system is that it's set up with both easy and difficult options
designed in a way that makes short work of customizing treks to suit individual preferences.
Although the first tier is rated easy, some climbing is required to reach the half-mile point where the first of several junction posts points the way for a moderately-challenging summit route or an easier slope-clinging circuit. The route graduates to moderate-rated tier two with a series of ups-and-downs among granite outcroppings and breezy stands of palo verde trees. The roller coaster style trail never stays flat for long, wobbling between highpoint vistas and low slung saddles. After a steep descent off a cactus speckled ridge, tier three takes off on a difficult -rated swing around the flanks of the mountain's eastern most knob. An optional side trail makes the hike's final ascent to a 1,840-foot stub hovering over a landscape of freeways, subdivisions and distant mountain views.
LENGTH: 4.6-miles out-and-back including access trail
RATING: easy-difficult
ELEVATION: 1,270' -1,840'
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, go north on Interstate 17 to Loop 303 exit 221. Turn left (west) and continue 7 miles to Lake Pleasant Parkway exit 131, turn left (south) and go 2.3 miles to WestWing Parkway, turn left and go 1 mile to WestWing Park on the right. Trailhead is accessed via a 0.1-mile dirt road that leaves from the far east end of the parking lot. A large boulder plaque on a crest near WestWing School marks the start point.
INFO & MAPS:
City of Peoria
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