Started at the hike at the Desert Vista Trailhead this morning. Still pretty cloudy and wet. From the trailhead, I took the Hawks Nest trail and turned off onto the Desert Tortoise trail, followed by Valle Vista trail, Great Horned Owl trail and finally the Union Peak trail that summits the peak. Even though this was a holiday and I got a later start (9:00am) I only saw two people on the trail heading up.SO I pretty much had the entire trail to myself. Took about an hour to reach the summit from the trailhead and My Tracks logged the distance as 2.8 miles. Enjoyed the nice views, signed the summit log (in a small plastic bottle at the end of the trail.) and then headed back. Nice hike.
Route up/down: Union Peak Trail
Started at Saguaro Ranch park and walked up a street for about 100 yards to the trailhead, on the left. The trail meandered through a wash that ran between some houses before it started switchbacking up the hill. The trail was in pretty good shape and well marked. About half way up, I reached the beginning of the loop portion of the trail. Taking a right takes you straight up the steep part of the hill to the summit with a lot of tight switchbacks and large steps. Taking a left takes you to the summit but not as steep. I took the right path. Got to the top just after the sun went down and the moon was rising over Pyramid peak. Nice short hike.
Route up/down: Eastwing Mountain Loop
This was a nice trail - nicer than I expected it to be. You needed at least a high clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead because of some of the washes the road crosses. There was a dirt parking lot at the trailhead with a single pit toilet (no TP, though). The trail started off flat as it approached the closest ridge and then it started up. and up. and up. Compared to some other steep trails (Piestewa Peak), i thought it was actually easier - there were sections of the trail where you had a level area before ascending again. Overall the trail was in pretty good shape and followed a ridge that leads right to the peak. You get great views on either side. the last 1/2 mile or so, the trail sort of fades out a bit and you have to follow the rock cairns that mark the route. The last 20 feet of elevation gain could be considered class IV-ish, but only one section where some of our group needed some spotting going up or coming down. At the top you have a pile of white quartz blocks and boulders and an unparalleled view of the phoenix area. It's really weird to see Camelback, Piestewa and South Mountain so far below you. I'll be heading back up this trail to see about some of the other peaks on the ridge. I would avoid this trail in the summer months - as you can see there is no shade the entire way up!
Route up/down: Quartz Peak trail
A nice quick "after work" hike to the top of this minor butte in the Lake Pleasant part of Peoria. Trail was fairly well maintained, no facilities at the parking lot. Took about an hour to complete the loop hike. The cliff face on the north-east side looks like it has some potential for rock climbing or rappelling...
Route up/down: Standard
Access to the trail system on this peak is not immediately obvious. I parked at the playground on Westwing Parkway, next to the church. Walked to the intersection of of Westwing and High Desert Dr, crossed the street and picked up the trail at Higuera Dr. There's a trail sign there. From there the trail runs through the neighborhood, between houses, until it gets to the edge of the of the neighborhood and starts heading up. The trail was pretty easy to follow and fairly well maintained, although steep and rocky in places. The trail leads up to the saddle between the two main prominences. At this point I took the steeper route to the right (east) and went to the top. On this eastern prominence, there are two sub-prominences (is that even a word?). Both look very close to being the same elevation. So I hit both, just to be sure. I then continued to follow the trail down the eastern side of the hill, up another smaller hill, down the east side of that and then made a right on an unmarked trail that headed south and then curved around to the west, contouring just below the cliff face. This part of the trail connected back at the saddle. The retraced my steps back to the car. Nice trail with nice views.
Route up/down: Westwing Trail Loop
This was more of a high "mound" in the middle of a suburban neighborhood than than a bona fide peak, but it's on the list here and I gotta make those blue peaks green. I parked along 61st ave, (east of the hill) and hiked about 100 yards along the transmission line tower right of way. There really wasn't a trail so I hiked up towards a small saddle to the left of the top and veered right, boulder hopping the rest of the way up. Others (local kids, probably) have piled up rocks to form what looked like a wind break of sorts. After a couple photos, I headed back down the way I came. The entire hike maybe took me 30-4- minutes.
Route up: east approach & then up along the south slope
Route down: down the southern slope and then east
Parked and started up. We went up the road first and then took the trail/steps the rest of the way. Trail was a bit rocky in parts. Lots of Christmas decorations. Nice view from the top! Since I live on the west side, this will probably be a "one-n-done" for me.
Route up/down: main trail?
I took a little off trail detour on my way up the Mormon trail from the 24th street trailhead to hit the national trail. The tallest peak is the one to the west, but I climbed the east one and then over to the west one, just to be sure. It wasn't too bad, as far as off-trail hiking goes. I came down from the West peak to the saddle and then made my way back down the southern slope to the Mormon trail and then continued my hike on to Mt. Suappoa.
Route up/down: Mormon Trail
I came up the Mormon trail from 24th street, and after a brief side trip to the top of Two Peaks, followed the National Trail to the road to "TV Rd." and hiked to what looks like a helicopter landing pad - that's about as close to the top as you can get. After nosing around the area, I headed back down the National Trail to the Mormon Trail and back to the car
Route up/down: Mormon Trail to the National Trail
Started at the Dreamy Draw parking lot and headed west on Trail 100 and through the tunnel under the 51. about 50 yards after the tunnel, Trail 100 takes a left and an unmarked trail goes to the right. I took the right since that would put me on the north side of the peak. About a 1/4 mile later, at the top of a ridge, there is a faint social trail that goes to the left and up. I followed this trail until it faded out and from there picked my way up to the top of the main ridge that Veterans peak is a part of. This included a little bit of a traverse to the left across a slope of some loose rock to get to the top of the main ridge. From there I followed the ridge up to the highest point. Coming down I retraced my steps, but found that there was an easier route if you headed off trail sooner. (See MyTracks photo)
The off trail part of this trip wasn't as bad as it looked at first. Even though there were places with a lot of loose rock, you could usually find some solid rock slabs that provided good footing.
Route up/down: North Ridge