A steep trail through the mountains complete with plenty of loose rock and Sonoran Desert flora.”
— Hunter R
The entrance gates for trailheads at South Mountain Park are open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you park your car at a trailhead before 7 p.m, you're welcome to use the park until the trails close at 11 p.m.
If you're planning on using this trail any time other than the first weekend of the month, be sure to park in the allocated area just east of the gate on San Juan Road (marked on the map).
Running the section of the Alta Trail from the San Juan Trailhead to Maricopa Peak and back makes for a great hill climb. Just be sure to wear shoes with decent off-road tread because the trail surface can often be loose!
If you're looking for a real workout, the Alta Trail is just the ticket. Situated in an area of South Mountain that's rife with loose dirt and cobble-sized rocks, this trail will not only test your fitness but also your balance and mental fortitude. To put it plainly, this is certainly not an easy trail to run. However, the reward for reaching the high point is staggering, as it offers runners fantastic views of the interior of South Mountain Park to the south and equally gorgeous views of Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun to the north.
While on trail, keep your eyes peeled for mountain bikers coming down the mountain. While it's not incredibly popular to bike on, mountain bikers still use this trail, so it's worth paying attention.
Flora & Fauna
This trail hosts a number of different flora typical of the Sonoran Desert. While on trail, keep your eyes peeled for saguaro, barrel cactus, and juniper.