The Shaw Butte Circumference Trail features spectacular views of Metropolitan Phoenix but we will stop to explore the ruins of the fabulous Cloud 9 Restaurant before reaching the top of the butte and on the way down we’ll stop to add an ornament to the "solstice tree" and then visit ruins of an ancient Hohokam astronomical observatory.
The Shaw Butte Circumference Trail is a simple trail about 4 miles - up, down, and around Shaw Butte. We will do the steepest part first. We should reach the remains of the legendary Cloud 9 restaurant in about 45 minutes. It burned down 47 years ago. I’ll point out some of the remaining artifacts mentioned in the article at this link:
After another 20 minutes or so, we will be at the summit of Shaw Butte with its communication towers and awesome 360-degree views.
Then it is all downhill, down and around the butte back to the cars. But about 20-30 minutes down from the top, we will encounter the remains of a prehistoric Hohokam observatory. There are petroglyphs and a mysterious secret “rockshelter” (extra credit). Here is a link to a report about that observatory:
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, and including the exploratory stops, expect this hike to last 3 hours or more.
For the asking, I have handouts discussing the stops, petroglyphs, geology of the area, and plants and animals we’ll likely encounter. Also I carry reference books for after the hike.
Here is another article, which describes the observatory, cloud 9 and some geology too:
Here are links including photos from previous hikes here:
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 3 hrs.
Difficulty: moderate but a good workout
Trail: gravel, pavement, packed dirt, rock. and some paved
Elevation: [masked] ft.
change: 790 ft.
Parking: lot ... facilities nearby
Tailhead GPS: 33° 35’ 08.35” N, 112° 04’ 56.01” W
Top of Butte GPS: 33° 35’ 38.32” N, 112° 05’ 12.71” W
Entry fees: no
Always carry and drink plenty of water!
Sunscreen and insect repellant is advised.
Supportive footwear is also advisable.
SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions
Hike at your own risk.
How to find us:
We will meet at the trailhead at the dead end of 7th avenue just north of its intersection with W. Peoria Ave … If lost or late, my cell is[masked]-5945.
To get there:
We will meet at the trailhead at the dead end of 7th avenue just north of its intersection with W. Peoria Ave. …. NOTE: You must approach from the South.
From the 17 you may take the Peoria exit and proceed east 2 miles to 7th Avenue and then go north (left) a block or two.
From the 51 you may take the Northern exit and proceed west about 3 miles to 7th Avenue and then about 2 miles north to end.
IMPORTANT NOTE... as you approach trail head from Peoria or 7th Av, those two streets meet at the entrance to the parking area.... and large arrows direct you away from the very entrance you want to use.... DO turn in and drive short distance to trail head at north end of street (still 7th AV.)
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR CARPOOLERS:
Carpooling can save gas but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must ontact 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, here's one:
Those traveling from the Tempe/Mesaarea 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 to the 17 north to the Peoria Av. exit. Allow about 45 minutes to get to the trailhead.
Following the hike, we’ll reconvene at SunUp Brewing Company, 322 E Camelback, for rehydration etc. It’s happy hour all day. Here is a link to the restaurant: