HIKE - HIDDEN VALLEY / FAT MAN’S PASS (South Mountain) .. .. via Mormon Trail


Sunday, January 8, 9:45 am

This is probably the most popular hike destination in Phoenix. We will take the Mormon Trail gradually uphill (about 700 ft.) about 1.1 miles to the National Trail, then walk about a half-mile to Hidden Valley. This is where the excitement begins! Almost immediately one encounters the highly popular Fat Man's Pass. This 25-foot long crevice between two massive boulders narrows to only 9-inches at one point, so slide through sideways! (If your width happens to exceed 9-inches, you can merely climb over the boulders - which can be done quite easily.) The trail continues through Hidden Valley for about a half-mile before entering an area of large boulders.  Finally, the Hidden Valley Trail finishes with an impressive natural tunnel created by several fallen boulders, and it’s back to the Mormon trail. The return to the trail head offers many fine views of the Phoenix metropolitan valley.

This is a loop hike, and will be around 4 miles long.  The hike is rated moderate or intermediate due to length and elevation gain. The trail is kid-friendly and dog-friendly. Our hikes are generally at a pace conducive to social banter of interest to heathens, and allowing for time for photography of the local geology and wildlife…. Expect this hike to last 3-4 hours.

Following is a link to photos from our hike to Hidden Valley last January. 


Here is a site with some nice photos of/from the trail:


Here are links discussing the park, its geology and wildlife:

South Mountain Park visitor’s guide…


how the mountains formed….


For the asking, I have handouts discussing petroglyphs, geology of the area, and plant and animals we’ll possibly encounter. Also I carry reference books for after the hike.


Distance:     3.9 miles

Time:            3- 4 hrs.

Difficulty:    moderate

Trail:             packed gravel and dirt

Elevation:[masked] ft.

change: 775 ft..

Parking:       Lot

Tailhead GPS:  33° 21’ 58.76” N, 112° 01’ 51.10” W

Destination GPS:  33° 21’ 02.89” N, 112° 01’ 20.91” W

Entry fees: no

Dogs:            OK


Always carry and drink plenty of water! 

Sunscreen and insect repellant is advised.

Supportive footwear is also advisable.

Water shoes can be helpful around rocks and water.

Have light rain gear available (we may hike in light drizzle).

SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions

HOW TO FIND US: Meet at the parking lot at the Mormon Trail trailhead on 24th street south of Baseline Rd.…. If lost or late, my cell is[masked]-5945.

TO GET THERE:  Drive South on 24th Street from Baseline Rd. to the parking lot at the end of the road.  … 24th St and Valley View Rd. (Phoenix, AZ 85001).


Carpooling can save gas but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements.  You could email members or post on this announcement page comments.

Although you may know of better choices, and I want to hear of them, I can suggest these carpool locations around the valley:

Those traveling from north or northwest of Phoenix could meet at the park-n-ride just west of I-17 on the south side of Bell Rd OR just west of I-17 just south of Happy Valley Rd. From these two you can take the 17 to the 16th St. exit and south about 3 ½ miles to Baseline. Allow about 40 minutes to get to the trailhead.

Those traveling from the Tempe/Mesa area could meet at the parking lot just north of the 60 on Alma School Rd.  . . enter Fiesta Mall toward the west from Alma School Rd. and park straight ahead at the perimeter of the parking lot across from Best Buy. From there you can follow the 60 to the 10 and then south to Baseline and west to 24th St. Allow about 25 minutes to get to the trailhead.

Following the hike:!  If we finish early enough we may reconvene “The Farm”. There beneath the pecan trees at Morning Glory Café, we’ll enjoy brunch… but it closes at 3pm.


OR, we can go to Pan Asia where we have been satisfied before.


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  • Mark L.

    Good company, great trail, and beautiful day.

    January 9, 2012

  • Al T.

    always a great hike and location .... made better this time by a huge turnout and 3 first-timers

    January 9, 2012

  • Larry H.

    Would like to carpool if anyone is interested.

    January 2, 2012

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