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Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve



5.6 mile 9.0 kilometer loop
92% Runnable


Ascent: 697' 212 m
Descent: -697' -212 m
High: 2,111' 643 m
Low: 1,732' 528 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)


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Trail shared by Tony Mackey

A great run which includes two of the seven summits in the Phoenix Summit Challenge.

Tony Mackey

Features Views


This route follows well-maintained singletrack trails featuring fairly easy climbs up to Apache Vista and Ridgeback Overlook with 360-degree views of the "Valley of the Sun!"

Need to Know

You don't need a map, although one is posted at the trailhead. These trails are well-marked and if you have a smart phone with a code reader app, you can scan the code and pull up the trail info including maps and GPS coordinates or just use the Trail Run Project mobile app! The codes are placed on the trail markers located throughout the preserve.


Start at the at the Apache Wash trailhead. There is plenty of parking and restrooms, but no potable water so bring plenty.

Take the Sidewinder Trail north counterclockwise and up Apache Vista to the summit.

The climb up to Apache Vista is steady and fairly easy and treats you to spectacular views. The trail is in good shape, so you won't have to worry about stubbing toes or twisting ankles on the way. You'll climb up to 1,982 feet, and be sure to take a breather at the top to take in the scenery.

After taking in the great views, run down to the Sidewinder Trail and go north to Ridgeback Trail and up to Ridgeback Overlook. It is now 3.77 miles total, and you'll have climbed to 2,159 feet. You'll have excellent views and can clearly see the parking lot at the trailhead. Take the Ridgeback Trail down the south side to the Ocotillo Trail and back to trailhead for a run of ~5.5 miles total.

Flora & Fauna

Flora and fauna are too diverse to mention, but you will appreciate the beautiful and majestic saguaro cacti. You will also see lots of barrel cactus, brittle brush, ocotillo, palo verde, etc. . . .

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Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes, History & Background


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May 11, 2019
Jerry Z
Beautifully groomed trail. Will come back 5.7mi — 6h 05m

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 13 votes


  4.4 from 13 votes
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in Arizona


148 Views Last Month
6,556 Since Dec 4, 2015



Looking towards Ridgeback Overlook from Apache Vista.
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Beautiful Mountains
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Apache Wash Trailhead
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Concrete marker
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Trail marker with Code, GPS coordinates, and elevation info.
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Looking down at Ridgeback Trail.
Dec 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ


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