Sit atop the Valley on glistening pure white quartz looking down on tiny South Mountain not too far in the distance. This strenuous hike on a rocky trail up the western flank of the high Estrellas will take you there!
Difficulty: This challenging hike with 6 mile length and 2500 ft. evaluation gain is the equivalent of two Camelbacks. This is a moderately difficult hike up a rocky, steep trail that goes straight up the side of the mountain along a ridge. It involves some rock scrambling at the top, but with no scary exposure. Hikers can go at their own pace, but this won’t be a race to the top as there will be several short breaks to re-group. If you are unsure whether you are able to complete this hike, I suggest you climb Camelback Mountain twice consecutively to find out.
Hike Rating: They didn’t have this hike in mind when they came up with the ratings. “B+” is what it most closely resembles, though upon the attempt to climb out of the car back in town some people might conclude it was actually an “A.”
Dogs and Kids: Sorry, not allowed on this hike.
Suggested Gear: At least 3 liters of water (required), high energy snacks, lunch, first aid kit, hat, sunscreen, windbreaker jacket, leather gloves, headlamp (just in case), and a plastic bag with a fresh change of clothes.
Meetup: We’ll meet in the Fry’s Electronics parking lot on Baseline Rd. near the intersection of Hwy 60 and Hwy 10. We’ll car pool from there. We’ll meet at 7:00 and leave at 7:15. I’ll be in a khaki colored Jeep Liberty. Please be on time but if running a tad bit late please call and if you aren’t too late we can wait:[masked] 2138.
small print: It’s a dirt road to the trailhead. If you have a high clearance vehicle please volunteer to drive. Please reimburse your driver for gas and wear – tear on the vehicle. I suggest at least $5. Dinner at Aunt Chilada’s on Baseline near Fry’s Electronics, $12 approx. Requested non-mandatory Sierra Club donation: $3 non-members; $1 members. If you have any medical concerns I should be made aware of please email me.
Environmental: From the mountaintop we’ll observe the formerly magnificent Salt and Gila rivers along with a panorama of the city and agricultural area that drained them dry. As my grandfather was a farmer in the Buckeye area I understand the need to balance our use of water along with the preservation of the natural beauty of our riparian areas. Hopefully over the course of the past 100 years we have gained greater wisdom. Please join Gary Beverly on a hike in the Prescott area to learn how the Verde River is similarly threatened, and what we can do to help preserve this wild and scenic river.