Alta Trail and Bajada Trail

Superior, Arizona

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2 Reviews
5 out of 5
Fewer fellow hikers and a complete lack of mountain bikers make the Alta Trail inviting to those who prefer to hike undisturbed in South Mountain Park. Alta Trail is the most challenging trail in the park. The Bajada Trail and the tail end of the National Trail complete an enjoyable loop. San Juan Road is currently accessible by car only one weekend per month due to recent fire damage. Check the City of Phoenix Parks website for latest information.

Alta Trail and Bajada Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Fewer fellow hikers and a complete lack of mountain bikers make the Alta Trail inviting to those who prefer to hike undisturbed in South Mountain Park.

Alta Trail is the most challenging trail in the park. The Bajada Trail and the tail end of the National Trail complete an enjoyable loop.

San Juan Road is currently accessible by car only one weekend per month due to recent fire damage. Check the City of Phoenix Parks website for latest information."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Superior
Distance: 8.5
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Duration: 4 hours
Season: Year-round; hot in summer
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Tonto National Forest
Local Maps: USGS: Lone Butte and Laveen
Driving Directions: Directions to Alta Trail and Bajada Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

2/2/2008
0

PLEASE NOTE....the San Juan Road, leading to the Alta Trail trailhead at the San Juan Lookout, is open to motorized vehicles the first WEEKEND of each month...if it is closed, you will have to hike in from the intersection of the Summit Road with San Juan Road. But today, I was able to drive on the San Juan Road and begin this hike. This is a fantastic loop of three trails...the Alta, the Bajada, and the end of the National Trail. I actually started at the intersection of the National Trail with San Juan Road and hiked over to the San Juan Lookout, then took the Alta Trail east (clockwise loop). This is a beautiful and scenic hike, but not an easy one! The trail is rocky in spots, as well as quite narrow, and there are a few tricky places where the narrow trail was just a bit exposed (think: next to steep drop off) for my liking. I do suggest a hiking pole, it would help in a few places where you might be uncomfortable. There is very, very little shade but as it was only around 60 today the sun was quite welcome. The Bajada Trail isn't so flat and easy as one would think....it wanders in and around many small drainages which can be a bit annoying after you've worn out your legs on the Alta Trail. Still, it is also beautiful, and you can see where you've just hiked the Alta Trail as you walk back on the Bajada. Rangers were only present in vehicles patrolling the trailheads, not on the trails, but that is nice as the car parking areas are a bit desolate.


12/24/2007
1

The South Mountain park has very inconsistent maps posted in the kiosks in the park. It is best to bring your own. This trail was a little difficult to find because the road to the trail was closed .50 miles from the trailhead. After speaking with the park ranger, we were able to locate the trailhead. It ended up being a hike of 9.5 miles due to the road closure. The only marker for the trail is a post in the ground, so you have to be alert. We almost passed it just walking the main road! The best way to start this trail is to begin at the Alta trail. It has a nice steady incline, a very nice desert climb to the top of the ridge. Lots of switchbacks, seems like new scenery is around every corner. Only a few small sections are technical. This is a great day hike. Throughout this trail you can see much of the South Mountain Park. Not many people do this trail, so it has a great feeling of solitude. Enjoy!



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May 2018