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Pyramid Loop Day Hike
South Mountain Park
February 20, 2021
by Tom Simonick
  GPS Map 
Five members and two guests. [photo by Li]
Cindy, Randall, Ioana, Terry, Li, Debbie, Tom

Five members and two guests met at the Pyramid/Bursera Trailhead on a cool but sunny morning and began hiking east across the desert. The first mile was a good warmup, before we began the steep climb to the top of the Pyramid Trail. In fact, we warmed up enough that we started removing layers before beginning the 1.5 mile, 850 feet climb.

I’ll take you up, up, up to the top. [photo by Tom]

As we climbed the views west towards the Estrella Mountains got better, but looking south or east, the sky was very hazy and we could barely see the San Tan Mountains.

Montezuma Peak, Butterfly Mountain, Montezuma Sleeping, and Peak 4512. [photo by Li]

At the top we took a quick break to catch our breath

The view from the top. [photo by Ioana]

and then followed the ridgeline east towards Telegraph Pass.

The antenna forest. [photo by Li]

After a snack break we continued east until we were above the pass.

Let’s take a break. [photo by Tom]

Changing to the National Trail, we headed briefly north, before the trail turns and follows the ridgeline west. We had a nice view of Phoenix until the trail turns to the inside of the Gila range, passing below Goat Hill and the first abandoned mine shaft. Continuing west, we came across more mine shafts and stopped for pictures.

Mine your own mine. [photo by Li]
Ioana, Li, Debbie, Cindy. [photo by Tom]
Tom, Terry, Randall. [photo by Li]

Despite the parking lot being full, we mostly had the trail to ourselves.

We left the National Trail as it began to descend into a valley, and switched to the Bursera Trail. Descending on that trail, we passed several mountain bicyclists pushing their bikes up the steep and narrow trail. After crossing the Gila Wash, Li found the first wildflower that we have seen this year.

We’ve crossed the Gila Wash. [photo by Li]
There are a few wildflowers, [photo by Li]

From the wash, we began a steady climb of 550 vertical feet to the summit of the trail. After the summit, it is an easy two miles downhill to the trailhead.

Everyone enjoyed the hike and we had the additional pleasure of sharing this hike with our guests.

Statistics: 11.2 miles in 5 hours 11 minutes, with 2200 feet accumulated elevation gain.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated February 23, 2021