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Monday, November 28, 2016


Phoenix Sonoran Preserve
Ridgeback Trail
Hikers approach the Ridgeback Overlook 
There's no better time than around the holidays to take advantage of the head-clearing benefits of hiking. When overwhelmed by travel plans, entertaining guests, shopping, decorating and hyper-excited kids, sometimes you just need to break away and breath on a peaceful mountain top. You don't have to drive far, load down on heavy duty gear or spend an entire day in the wilderness to get to such a place. In fact, if all you have is a few hours to spare, you can still knock off a double header high point trek in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. Beginning at the Apache Wash Trailhead, follow Sidewinder Trail 0.86 mile to the Apache Vista turnoff. This 0.51 mile spur trail circles over two minor peaks above sprawling desert arroyos where on most mornings, commercial hot air balloons float overhead.
Apache Vista Trail
Enjoy the show then descend and continue 0.3 mile on Sidewinder then turn left onto Apache Wash Trail, hike 0.4 mile an turn right on Ocotillo. From here, follow the signs to Ridgeback Overlook for a second short loop on a desert mountain peak. If you're satisfied with just this double peak circuit, hike back down to Ocotillo Trail and hoof it back to the trailhead. Otherwise, download the preserve map and make a day of it on the more than 35 miles of trails that criss-cross the preserve's northern sector.
Ridgeback Overlook Trail
LENGTH: 5.1 miles round trip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 1720' - 2002'
Apache Wash Trailhead, 1600 E. Sonoran Desert Dr., Phoenix.
From Loop 101 in north Phoenix, take Cave Creek Road exit 28 and go 4.5 miles north to Sonoran Desert Drive. Turn left (west) and continue 3.5 miles to the trailhead on the right. The preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset. There are restrooms but no water at the trailhead.

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