Alta Trail at South Mountain
View from halfway up Alta Trail in South Mountain
I didn't make it to the end of South Mountain's Alta Trail on Sunday. I wasn't sick. I wasn't even tired.
I was bored.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Alta Trail. The 4.5-mile trail meanders along the desert floor and then up and over some of the smallish peaks of South Mountain, but there's virtually no steepness, no challenge.
In fact, the biggest challenge might have been parking in and subsequently maneuvering out of the tiny five-spot parking area across the street from the trailhead.
Also, the long switchbacks make the length of this trail somewhat excessive. There's no real reason it should be 4.5 miles, and there's no real payoff to the length until the last mile that climbs the biggest of the peaks.
To get to Alta Trail, take Central Avenue south until you see the sign for Alta and Bajada trails.
Distance: 4.5 miles total
Time: 3 hours
Elevation climb: 1,100 feet
Hiker's tip: Get there early to get a better parking spot.
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