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Best Urban Hike Phoenix 2000 - Trail 100 from Dreamy Draw Recreation Area

Squaw Peak's backside may be its best side. After a wet winter, the trail is lined with globe mallow and California poppies along the first pitch; a mile farther up and over the saddle, the vegetation has not been trampled by the aggressive procession of treadmill gym rats humping and huffing up and down the main trail. Think about it: There are far fewer wild critters and saguaros than there used to be in the more traveled areas of the mountain preserves.

This stretch of Trail 100 recalls the old days. It winds in and out of washes, down through a valley, all the way to Tatum Boulevard, three or four miles away, as the cactus wren flies. Or you can wander off on any number of side trails, north into the flats of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve near 40th Street, uphill and south toward 36th Street, or even work your way around to Squaw Peak Recreation Area to jeer at the hiking lemmings.

Readers' Choice for Best City Hiking Trail: Squaw Peak

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