Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hike #31: Jacob Crosscut Trail, Superstition Wilderness

Length: 2.5 miles

When I set out this morning, I intended to re-visit the Massacre Grounds Trail; however, on the way to the trailhead, I spotted the smooth parking area for the Crosscut Trail and quickly altered my plans to avoid the miles of rough dirt road!

The Crosscut Trail starts runs along the north-side of the Superstition Mountain, with the trail starting near the First Water Trailhead and ending in Apache Junction. If hiked in its entirety, the Crosscut Trail runs just over 6-miles (most of it passing through the Lost Dutchman State Park). I, however, followed the trail for approximately 1-mile until it intersects with a segment of the Treasure Loop Trail inside the Lost Dutchman State Park; this made for a relaxing, relatively flat balloon trail through beautiful spring wildflowers and scenic mountain views.

To view more pictures of the Crosscut Trail, click here.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hike #30: Go John Trail, Cave Creek Regional Park

Length: 5 miles

Listed in almost all the Arizona hiking guides, the Go John Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Phoenix area. Although the trail provides a rather stereotypical desert experience, it is the annual burst of spring flowers that truly draws the crowds!

The trail itself is a simple loop hike around the Go John Mountain. Whichever way you hike the trail, it will be a good mixture of gradual inclines and relaxing declines. I, personally, chose to complete the trail clockwise, since the trailhead was much more pronounced on the north end of the parking lot. Proceeding this way, the trail begins with a series of switchback up the side of the mountain; although the scenery is a little dull, a multitude of blue lupine along the trail adds a little spice to the the trail.

After reaching the trail's peak near the top of the mountain, the trail turns and slowly desends down the northern face of the mountain. Protected from the harsh desert sun, the north face of the moutain is completely carpeted with golden poppies. With panoramic views of the surrounding mountains in the background, this is where the true beauty of the Go John Trail comes to live! The trail continues around the mountain with a variety of wildflowers to view before eventually returning to the parking lot.

To view more pictures of the Go John Trail, click here.