Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Marcus Landslide Hike
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
North Scottsdale, Arizona
Mileage - 4.2
Time - 1:28
AEG - 617ft

The city of Scottsdale recently acquired several thousand acres to expand the preserve to the North, and soon to be the largest public land space in the United States.  Along with this acquisition came new trails and trailheads, offering multi-use access to hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and even horseback riders.  I organized a group of people from the fitness center including some of my co-workers and gym members to explore the newly constructed Marcus Landslide trail (pictured below).  The 4.2-mile out and back path begins at the Tom's Thumb trailhead and ventures East through a boulder field, which includes a small loop on the actual landslide.  There are approximately 15 interpretive signs with information about the geologic event, formations, and surrounding landscape.  This trailhead now provides access to the Tom's Thumb trail and the regional park creating an enormous network of trails in the McDowells.  If you haven't been, it's time to go check this area out!

The group parted ways by 10:00am, leaving my day open to look for more of the new construction in the preserve.  After a few minutes of driving I found an access area near Little Granite Mountain (left) and parked on 136th St and E Lone Mountain Road.  I followed a set of power lines to reach a trail to what I thought was a route to the summit.  I believe any existing trails have been mitigated to reduce erosion. So instead, I continued along the new trail which created a loop around the mountain in a counter-clockwise direction.  There were a few intersections at mile 2.4, 3.9, and 4.4 that leads me to believe there will be several options to hike in the future.  By the time I reached my vehicle I had logged 6.35 miles with a little over 600 feet of elevation gain. These stats will most likely change once a trailhead is established. 

I absolutely love the scenery in the Northern sections of the McDowells.  The pictures below should give you some indication of what I'm talking about! 

Giant Saguaro Cacti

 I will name this one Camel Rock

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