Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hiking while on Spring Break

Posted By on Sat, Mar 4, 2017 at 7:54 AM

March is a month when people start to get weary of winter. Although our winter here on the Front Range has been fairly mild (so far, anyways), it's still winter. March is "spring break" month with schools taking time off and families traveling. If you're a baseball fan, it's Spring Training time, with the promise of America's Pastimes' regular season starting in April.  Many people from the northern climes travel south in March and Arizona is a popular destination for those of us in the western U.S.— me included.

Last year I wrote about some of the many places to hike in the Phoenix area — here, and here. Since I try to find and hike more trails while on vacation, I thought this would be a good time to share a few more places for hiking while on spring break.

Deem Hills Recreation Area, located in a far northwest corner of Phoenix, is made up of almost 1,000 acres of hilly land. There are a number of trails in the park, the longest being the appropriately named, 5.73-mile "Circumference Trail" which encircles the park. There are four other trails in the park that eventually intersect or cross the Circumference Trail at some point.

On my visit to Deem Hills last year, I started at the main trailhead off of W. Deem Hills Parkway, and went clockwise on the Circumference Trail. Wanting to see the view from the highest point in the park, I then turned onto the Ridgeline Trail and followed it until reconnecting with the Circumference Trail and then returning to the parking lot. Total distance was just under 4 miles of moderate to moderately difficult hiking.

Far to the east of Deem Hills, in the McDowell-Sonoran Preserve, the trails available from the Tom's Thumb Trailhead vary in difficulty and length from an easy 3-mile to a more difficult 11-mile loop. On my visit, I hiked the Lookout Viewpoint trail, a rather difficult 5-mile out-and-back hike with spectacular views of the surrounding area.
click to enlarge View from the Lookout Viewpoint - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • View from the Lookout Viewpoint

Another perennial spring break destination are the National Parks in Utah, with Arches National Park and Moab being the most popular. If you're planning on going to Arches National Park this year, take note that a major road construction project in the park will complicate matters quite a bit.

Crags Update: The ever popular Crags Campground and trails, along with Forest Service Road 383 past the Mennonite Camp has been closed for some time as contractors removed approximately 12 acres of trees infested with bark beetle. In a Facebook post, the Pikes Peak Ranger District says additional projects have been identified that are not part of the initial contract. The Forest Service says that it will be completing all related projects prior to reopening the area.

While no date for reopening has been set, the post does say they expect "... to re-open the area this summer."

Happy (spring break) Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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