It’s a sure sign Spring is on its way – flowers blooming in the Arizona desert. Ironically, I still think it’s puffy jacket & hat weather, but apparently mother nature seems ready to shed her winter coat and try on something a bit more colorful.
In the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve just north of Phoenix, you’ll find over 30 miles of trails. In my experience, it’s one of the less busy Phoenix Preserves – certainly easier to park at than fan-favorites like Camelback Mountain or Piestawa Peak. Parking is easy with big lots at each of the 3 trailhead areas. The only downside (in my opinion of course) is just how much it feels like you’re still in the city – at least on the trails I’ve hiked.
But, if you’re looking for early spring blooms, this is your place. Check out the Sidewinder and Ocotillo trail loop with orange and yellow wildflowers dotting the trail edges.
It’s a non-strenuous very pleasant stroll through the Sonoran Preserve’s north-west corner. At just over 5 miles (5.2 according to AllTrails) and about 600 feet of elevation gain, it’s a great beginner hike or easy day hike. The views are nice, not spectacular like a lot of the larger mountains in the Phoenix area and you will hear road noise for most of the loop. The trail is quite well maintained – it’s even and smooth with “almost” no jagged rocks sticking up to trip on. If you’re into trail running, I would definitely recommend this loop and the couple of mountain bikers I passed seemed to be enjoying the ride.