Caption: Piestewa Peak (formally Squaw Peak): much of the area’s rock is a metamorphic type of granite known as schist
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It is important to remember that the Phoenix mountain preserves are open, undeveloped desert areas. Please use care when heading out as hikers routinely encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. Check out safety tips for a full list of ways to enjoy your outing. The symbols to the left of each trail name represent difficulty ratings. Click on any icon to see full descriptions of the rating categories.
Trail #1A - Perl Charles Memorial Trail
Length: 4.8 miles Elevation: 2,200 ft. - 1,340 ft. Multi-use trail Difficulty: Moderate to difficult The Perl Charles trailhead is located on the east side of 16th Street at the Arizona Canal and is a spur off of the Maricopa County Sun Circle Trail (no parking available). The 16th Street trailhead parking area is open from 5 a.m. to sunset.
The trail follows 16th Street north of Myrtle Avenue, then east along Myrtle and through a tunnel at 19th Street. The trail then follows the wash east to 20th street and north along 20th Street to the Perl Charles Dedication Plaque. Alternate access to the trail at this point is through the horse tunnel at 19th Street and Pleasant Drive just south of Northern Avenue (limited parking available).
Follow the trail signs past the cookout area and east from that point. This loop trail begins to climb one of several saddles into a quiet valley. Then, the trail drops steeply into the largest valley in the preserve system, follows it and then loops back.
The trailhead is located at the Apache picnic area at the far end of the parking area in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area (open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.). Paved parking, restrooms and drinking water are available. There is no parking in residential areas along Squaw Peak Drive signed "No Parking." Dog owners and equestrian users please note that part of this route is on the Summit Trail, from which dogs and horses are prohibited -- you can not complete this loop if you are hiking with a dog or on horseback. Hikers with dogs and equestrian users should be prepared to turn around at the junction with the Summit Trail.
The Freedom and nature trails start and traverse together for about 1/2 mile. At the intersection of 302, 304 and 1A, the Freedom trail turns left and follows the same alignment as the Perl Charles #1A trail for slightly more than a mile. The Freedom trail then breaks away from the Perl Charles and follows a series of switchbacks up the northwest side of Piestewa Peak to meet the Summit Trail to Summit Trailhead, then follow the trail on the north side of the ravine back to the trailhead at Apache area parking lot.
The trailhead is located just north of the parking lot in Dreamy Draw Recreation Area near 19th Street and Northern Avenue. A large paved parking lot, unpaved staging area with hitching racks, horse trough, drinking water and restrooms are available.
Follow the trail east through the horse tunnel and then make an immediate sharp right. Follow the #220 sign posts to the junction with #100. Bear left, follow the nature trail up the hillside, south along the ridge, down the slope and rejoin #100 back to the trailhead.
To take 220A (children's loop) after leaving the trailhead and going through the tunnel, continue on #100 to sign posts marked 220A. Follow 220 back to the trailhead.
The trailhead is located at the upper parking lot of the Mohave picnic area at Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. Please note that there is no parking in residential areas along Squaw Peak Drive signed "No Parking."
The trail ascends a short distance to the junction of 200A and turns west along a level pathway to the base of the high peak. Follow the directional arrows up the hill to the hitching rack. Return by the same route or on 200A which will return to Ramada #5 of the Mohave picnic area.
Trail #300 - Summit Trail
Length: 1.2 miles
Elevation: 2,608 ft. - 1,400 ft. (hikers gain more than 1,200 feet in elevation on this trail)
Hiking trail only
Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous and Difficult. Long rocky segments with possible drops and exsposure.
The trailhead is located in the parking lot at the first driveway on the left in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. To reach the trail to the summit of Piestewa Peak, turn east on Squaw Peak Drive from Lincoln Drive between 22nd and 24th streets. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. Please note that there is no parking in residential areas along Squaw Peak Drive signed "No Parking."
The trail to the summit of Piestewa Peak was first constructed by a wrangler employed at the Biltmore Hotel sometime around 1930. Now, it is one of the most heavily used trails in the nation with 4,000 to 10,000 hikers per week. The trail ascends Piestewa Peak to the highest point in the park. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the Summit Trail.
The trailhead is located at the Apache picnic area at the end of the entrance road in Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area. Paved parking, drinking water and restrooms are available. Please note that there is no parking in residential areas along Squaw Peak Drive signed "No Parking."
The Nature and Freedom trails traverse together about 1/2 mile where the Nature Trail turns right with Trail #1A for a short distance and then turns sharply to the right just past the deep wash. The trail then ascends to a saddle where Trail #8 intersects the Nature Trail, goes down the hill and ends at the Apache picnic area just off from the trailhead.
The trailhead is located at the end of 40th Street south of Shea Boulevard at the mountain preserve. The trailhead parking area is open from 5 a.m. to sunset. Water and restrooms are available at this parking area.
The L.V. Yates Trail starts south along the old road and crosses the Christiansen Trail about 1/2 mile south of the trailhead. Make a short right turn at Trail #100 to follow the L.V. Yates Trail. At about one mile the trail makes a sharp right turn (west) and goes in a northwesterly direction to join the Nature Trail #304. An alternate return route can be taken or the L. V. Yates Trail can be taken back to the trailhead.
Trail #8A - Quartz Ridge Trail
Length: 1.7 miles
Elevation: 1,300 -1,800 ft.
The trailhead is located at 32nd Street and Lincoln Drive. There are no restrooms and no drinking water at this parking area.
The Quartz Ridge Trail climbs moderately to connect with the L.V. Yates Trail and Ruth Hamilton Trails, which in turn offer access to the Nature Trail and eventually Trail 100.