Outdoors

Desert Foothills/Telegraph Pass/National East

Phoenix's South Mountain is known for its extensive trail system; even if you start at the same place every time you go hiking, you can end up taking five different trails to the top.


The mountain's Desert Foothills Trailhead provides an easy start -- a wide, paved, flat surface. But it quickly breaks off into two directions: up to Telegraph Pass Trail and flat along the Desert Classic Trail.

We chose up.

Telegraph Pass is steep, but easy enough because it's rather short. About halfway up, there's a small turnoff where you can see a few petroglyphs.

Once you reach the top of Telegraph Pass, which dumps you out next to Summit Road, you can head left toward National West Trail or right toward National East Trail. Either completes a 15.5-mile loop.

We went right to the National East, mostly because fewer people were headed in that direction and it looked as though the trail was headed toward the iconic radio towers atop South Mountain.

It wasn't.

The trail switch-backed along the north side of the ridge for a good distance. We hiked for about an hour, and knowing that National Trail pretty much goes on forever, turned around and headed back.

Check out our other recent hiking news/reviews:

Lost Camp Loop
Go John Trail
Hawes Trail No. 52
Oak Flats
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Alta Trail at South Mountain
Sunrise Trail at McDowell Mountains
Climbing Sven Slab: McDowell Mountains
South Mountain: Mormon Trail
Nature Trail
Phoenix Summit Challenge
Dreamy Draw Trails
North Mountain Summit Trail
Parking Fees to be Enforced at Local Trails
Mojave Trail
Shaw Butte
Lookout Mountain
Quartz Ridge
Kiwanis Trail
Picacho Peak


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Megan Dobransky
Contact: Megan Dobransky