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Piestewa Peak Arizona
Located close to the heart of Phoenix is one of Phoenix's best known landmarks, Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak. The Piestewa Peak trail is a short but moderate to difficult hike, and is a favorite for many people in the Phoenix area. At 2.4 miles roundtrip it is a great hike for families and others who want to do something local but have limited time. Hikers who reach the summit are rewarded with stunning views of Metro Phoenix.

Many hikers and joggers use this trail for exercise as well as preparation for longer hikes. The steep and rocky trail is primarily Precambrian schist. Along the way visitors will notice a number of desert plants such as saguaros, ocotillos, barrel cacti, palo verdes, and more.

The starting elevation is 1,400 ft. Elevation at the summit is 2,608 ft. With a difference of 1,208 ft and 1.2 miles each way, this makes for an elevation gain of approximately 1,000 ft. per mile, or one short but somewhat steep trail.

The trail starts near the first ramada and begins switchbacking up the mountain. Other than a few relatively straight stretches, the entire trail is pretty much a series of switchbacks. Views from the summit are impressive. Try testing your knowledge of the Valley's landmarks from the summit. It is also possible to see South Mountain, the McDowells, Superstitions, Sierra Estrellas, and the White Tank Mountains — pretty much all of the mountains that surround the valley.

An additional point of interest is the Piestewa Peak Circumference Trail. Instead of going up the mountain, this trail goes around it.

Climate: Keep in mind this is the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures easily exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit (or 43 degrees Celsius) in the summer. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, and Gila monsters are active in this environment. Watch for lightning storms as well. It is highly recommended that hikers carry plenty of water.

Location: The trail is well-used and relatively easy to find. Take Lincoln Drive to Squaw Peak Drive. Follow this to the ramadas. The trailhead is on the north side, close to the first ramada. Facilities in the area include electricity, restrooms, tables, and parking spaces.


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