Take A Hike


I sense that this would be a good weekend for you to get in your car, head south and hike a well-maintained trail where you don't need a map.

You don't want a map, because you want to do this trip solo -- by yourself. And you want to let your mind wander as you walk -- so you want a path that will easily unfold underneath your feet.

The obvious choice, if you want to be warm, is a trip down to South Mountain Park for the Alta Trail.

The park is 16,000 acres, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the nation. It's located at 10919 S. Central Ave., right in the city.

The trail is wide, well-maintained and family- and animal-friendly.

According to a report in "50 Hikes in Arizona," you can turn it into an 8-mile loop by connecting with the Bajada Loop.

Begin by following the signs for Alta trailhead. The trail follows a series of switchbacks up a 1,000-elevation gain. After the initial struggle, you'll find yourself on a ridge with great views and the rest of the trail laid out visually in front of you.

You can return the way you came when you have had your fill of hiking, or you can follow the loop proposed in "50 Hikes." The Alta and Bajada trails intersect after 4.3 miles. From the junction, it's an easy 3.8 miles home.

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