The Stats: Trail Name: 3 separate trails made up this hike: Alta trail, Bajada trail and National trail Distance: 7.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,601 feet Published Difficulty: Hard
Tips for this South Mountain Circuit:
Tip #1: Start early if you’re going to attempt the Alta trail in the spring any time after March. We started around 11am. It took about 3 hours round trip to hike this one, and by the end, it was hot.
Tip #2: Have more than one tip when you start a numbered list.
As far as the trail itself: I always love a loop versus an out and back hike as there’s less redundancy. More to discover. On this trail, you make your way to the back of the Superstition Mountain Range via the Central Ave entrance on the North end of the park. Just keep driving until the road ends and you’ll find a parking lot.
Alta trail was the first leg, and was definitely the highlight. The trail kicks off on a healthy incline then makes its way along the top side of the mountain. It offers beautiful views of the South Mountain park. We also came across some random seashells proving that Phoenix was very likely under water at one point in history. That or someone has way too much time on their hands planting seashells in the desert.
Alta trail then connects with Bajada trail, which levels out quite a bit. Bajada still offers decent desert views, however I’ll admit that the trail got a little “desert-redundant” (as in, not a whole lot of scenery change) by the time we were finishing this leg.
Once we hit the last leg (National Trail), the dogs were ready to be done with a little under 2 miles left to go. If we’re being honest, so was I. I would try the trail again, probably in reverse order so that the ending is what you leave with fresh in your mind. And probably when the dogs would be a little cooler.
I’m interested in hearing what you think if you’ve done this trail, or once you’ve completed it post-read. Let me know in the comments or via Instagram messenger: @oasistrekkers.