With the limited energy, small bladder, and cardio deficiency I’m experiencing during this pregnancy, I’ve been on the hunt for trails under three miles that still offer a little bit of climbing.
Oh, and if there’s a bathroom at the trailhead, that’s a sure-fire winner.
The Phoenix Mountains Preserve just keeps delivering. Armed with my Green Trails Map, I’m having a blast scouting out “new” trails (combinations I haven’t yet explored) and then heading out for a new adventure.
My newest adventure once again taps the main artery of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve: Trail 100.
This one begins in a popular area near the North Mountain Visitor Center, passes by Shaw Butte to the west, then follows a little-known trail on the north side of North Mountain. This quiet area is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding popular trails. The hike ends at the intersection with the North Mountain Summit Trail. And aside from the yellow flags indicating sites where irresponsible hikers left their dog’s waste (oh, come ON, people!) the hike was glorious on a breezy spring day.
Trail 100/101 to North Mountain
Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 225 feet
Pregnancy Difficulty: Moderate
Location: North Mountain Visitor Center (North Mountain/Shaw Butte) in Phoenix Mountains Preserve
Online Map & Driving Directions (click the link and scroll to bottom of page for Google map driving directions)
To start the hike, find the signs to Trail 100 on the south side of the North Mountain Visitor Center building. Head west along Trail 100. At 0.3 mile, Trail 100 and Trail 306 combine and you’ll follow the shared trail south. When you encounter a small clearing with a bench (at 0.6 mile total), see the trail marker for Trail 101. Hang a left to follow Trail 101 southeast to start a subtle ascent that slowly intensifies.
At about 1.1 mile total, you have an elevated view of 7th Street below. Turn right to continue along Trail 101 following the correct trail signs (do NOT take the trail that heads north as it is clearly signed as a closed area). You’ll continue to climb until you reach the paved road that marks the intersection with Trail 44 (North Mountain Summit Trail) at 1.2 miles. Turn around here and enjoy your descent as you retrace your steps to the North Mountain Visitor Center for a total of 2.4 miles.
Option for non-pregnant people: Instead of turning around, take Trail 44 to the summit of North Mountain! This will add 350 feet (give or take) in just 0.7 mile on the way up. The trail is wide, paved, and easy to follow to the summit which is littered with large, metal towers. You’ll certainly get a FINE workout from this addition that creates a total hike of 3.8 miles with 575 feet of elevation gain. Just don’t forget to turn off of Trail 44 to return to Trail 101 on the way down!
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Obligatory disclaimer for the pregnant ladies and all other humans: Check with your doctor before engaging in exercise.