What we're about

All hikers should ask themselves the following three questions the day before hiking:
1. Have you been exposed to a person with COVID in the last 5 days?
2. Have you been exposed to a person with the flu in the last 4 days?
3. Have you experienced any of the following 8 virus symptoms in the last 24-hours? (Muscle and body aches; Cough; Diarrhea; Fatigue; Fever; Loss of taste or smell; Short of breath or difficulty breathing; Runny or stuffy nose, or allergy like symptoms) If you answered YES to any of these questions, the hiker should plan on not attending the hike.
Carpool drivers are asked to specify "masks optional" or Masks required" for passengers riding in their vehicle.
The Sun Lakes Hiking Club is open to individuals who either 1) reside, rent or lease in Sun Lakes or Sunbird or 2) are former residents who maintain their annual membership in The Club. 
The Sun Lakes Hiking Club began in 1985. By 1987 the group was official with by-laws, prescheduled weekly hikes, designated hike leaders, and rules designed to make group hiking fun, challenging, and safe.
Group hikes are scheduled from November through April. Hikers meetup at Cottonwood Country Club parking lot at 7:45 am from November through February. In March and April, hikers assemble at 6:45 am. Members may or may not carpool to the hikes and share expenses based on distance to the trailhead. Detailed descriptions of hikes are on this website.
Motivated hikes are more rigorous, faster paced and stop less frequently; Moderate Monday and Wednesday hikes are less strenuous and more "social"; Mellow Monday hikes are the easiest basic hikes or walks. REMEMBER TO KEEP 6' APART ON THE TRAILS.
*1st TIME HIKERS TO THE CLUB MUST CALL THE HIKE LEADER BY SATURDAY BEFORE THE HIKE. New hikers must sign a "Release from Liability" Form at your first hike. You must successfully complete two hikes and have the hike leader sign-off. You are then eligible to complete a Membership Application, and pay a one-time $6 initiation and the $5 annual club dues. Signing in on the Club website does not make you a Sun Lakes Hiking Club member.
Equipment recommended for hiking includes 1) good hiking boots and socks, 2) a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses, 3) a backpack or fanny pack capable of carrying adequate water for the hike, 4) a snack or lunch, and 5) basic first aid supplies. Other useful items include one or two hiking sticks, a comb or tweezers for removing cacti stickers, and a jacket. 
HIKE RATING CODES used by the Sun Lakes Hiking Club are:
Motivated Hikes = Intermediate - Moderately Difficult: 7 - 10 miles and/or 1000 to 2000+ feet elevation gain
Moderate Hikes = Somewhat Easy: Less than 7 miles and less than 1000 feet elevation gain
• Mellow Hikes = Leisurely pace: Less than 5 miles and less than 500 feet elevation change

• Hike leaders determine variables affecting the hike and may add (+) or (-) to the rating.
President: Stu Frost (lgfrosty1@gmail.com)
Vice President: Ted Maresh
Secretary: Ron Deraas
Treasurers: Dick Metz
Communications Director: Warren Wasescha
Web Coordinator: Barb Smith, Organizer
Hike Coordinators: Tracy Nilsen
- Mellow Hikes: Ginny & Al Metz
- Moderate Hikes: David Coffman - Mondays
- Scott Downey - Wednesdays
- Motivated Hikes: Marilyn Harkins
If you have questions or need information about the club please email the president. If you have comments about or corrections to the information about current hikes on this site please email the hike coordinators. If you have questions or comments about this website please email the web coordinator.

Upcoming events (4+)

MODERATE PLUS! Tom's Thumb & The Lookout from Tom's Thumb Trailhead

Cottonwood - East of Tennis Courts

Don't be fooled by the distance and elevation gain of this hike! It is Moderate Plus! because it is more strenuous than our usual Moderate hikes. Our pace will be a 4 on the Desert Tortoise (1) to Jackrabbit (10) Speed Scale. CHECK YOUR BOOT BOTTOMS! Good tread is a requirement to negotiate the steep switchbacks - both ascending and descending. Please read the whole description below.

Distance: 5.6 miles TH elevation - 2813' AEG - 1700'

110 miles R/T = $9

Leader: Warren Wasescha[masked]

Tom's Thumb is the landmark rocky monolith at the north end of McDowell Sonoran Preserve South. Starting at the Tom's Thumb Trailhead we will make a steep ascent toward Tom's Thumb. Once on top we will take the short side trip to the base of the monolith for a close-up view and to ponder how? and why? people climb to the top! Then we will traverse to The Lookout for a rest/lunch stop and to take in great views of the surrounding area. We will return the same way we came . . . therefore, a steep descent!

MOTIVATED: La Barge Canyon Out 'n Back

Cottonwood - East of Tennis Courts

MOTIVATED: La Barge Canyon Out 'n Back Hike – Superstition Mountains
Trailhead: First Water Trailhead
Hike Distance: 11 miles
AEG: 1650 ft
Hike Leader: Robert Faulkner[masked]
Early start time 7:00 AM.

Description: This hike takes us to an incredibly beautiful box canyon located in the Superstition Mountains just beyond Battleship Mountain. We will journey to it via First Water Trailhead. From First Water Trailhead we will take Dutchman Trail #104 for a short distance, then take Second Water Trail to Boulder Canyon Trail. At Boulder Canyon Trail we head east along the south side of Battleship Mountain, making 9 - 10 water crossings over Boulder Creek (stepping stones available) until we reach a distinct rock protrusion along the south side of the creek. There we will locate and take a trail up the east side of Battleship Mountain, then at the crest head down to LaBarge Creek and onto LaBarge Canyon. LaBarge is a delightful box canyon with flowing water and water pools that reflect the canyon walls and sky above. It’s a striking place not often reached by most visitors to the Superstition Mountains. Once there we will stop for a lunch break then journey back the way we came.

Driving Distance: 80 miles R/T
Driver's Fee: $7 plus $2 dirt road fee

Driving Directions:
• Right on Riggs Road to McQueen
• Left on McQueen to 202 East
• Right on 202 East to Hwy 60 East
• East on Hwy 60 to Idaho Avenue
• Left on Idaho to 88 towards Lost Dutchman State Park
• Right onto First Water Road to First Water Trailhead
• Bathrooms at the Trailhead

MODERATE: Telegraph Pass and Desert Classic

Cottonwood - East of Tennis Courts

MODERATE HIKE: Telegraph Pass, Desert Classic Loop
DATE:​​ February 6, 2022
TRAIL DISTANCE: 5.7 miles - AEG 711 feet
HIKE LEADERS: Steve & Mary Martz[masked]

Starting at the Desert Foothills (Telegraph Pass) Trailhead, we follow the paved trail for 1/2 mile to the Desert Classic Trail. Take a right on Desert Classic and go for a mile or so to a “new” unmarked trail to the right. This trail is very smooth with a gradual climb to a ridge. Once on the ridge portion, the trail is a little rockier with a few ups and downs. We will reach the end at 3 miles and descend on a trail that leads back to the Desert Classic Trail and back to the trailhead.

The Desert Classic Trail is popular with bikers. Therefore, we most likely will see a couple. The Ridge portion of the hike has great views of the surrounding area. The descending portion of the trail has some loose gravel and poles are a good idea. We will stop for a snack shortly after we have hiked for 3 miles.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From Riggs Road, go west to I-10 and take a right onto the ramp to Phoenix. Continue on I-10. Use the right 2 lanes to Exit 161 toward Pecos Road/AZ-202W. Once on the 202, go west approximately 4 miles to Exit 60-Desert Foothills Pkwy. Stay on Desert Foothills Pkwy. to the Desert Foothills Trailhead. Watch for the trailhead on the right. (It is right after you pass the sign for the Hidden Canyon Neighborhood) There are restrooms at the trailhead. The trailhead address is: 14251 S. Desert Foothills Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ

Driver’s fee: $3
Leaders: Steve and Mary Martz [masked]


Cottonwood Country Club off Riggs Road

HIKE DESCRIPTION - This hike is part of the Hawes/Sonoran Desert Trail System. The area has some of the best trails in the valley. It is a beautiful hike with great view of the Salt River and Red Mountain. As far as accumulated elevation, there are no big climbs, but plenty of ups and downs on the trails. The hike starts and finishes on the Wild Horse Trail. In between we will hike portions of the Scorpion, Scorpion Alley, Stinger Loop and Jumping Jacks Cut.

Distance: 5.9 miles AEG: 456’ Driving distance: 68 miles round trip

Driver’s fee $6

Hike leader: Tim Donovan [masked])

Past events (1,218)

MODERATE: Pass Mountain Loop

Cottonwood Country Club off Riggs Road

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