Ocotillo / Sidewinder Loop

A staple trail running loop starting at the Desert Hills Trailhead.

Trail Running Moderate

Distance
8.4 km
Ascent
167 m
Descent
167 m
Low Point
517 m
High Point
619 m
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Ocotillo / Sidewinder Loop Map

Description

Located within the Sonoran Preserve, this moderate 5-mile loop is one of the staple running loops in the northern valley.

In total, the 9,600 acre preserve contains three main trailheads - Apache Wash, Desert Hills, and Desert Vista plus 36 miles of trail, according to the city of Phoenix. Expect typical desert flora, including a wide array of cacti and occasional wildlife. Though bordered by neighborhoods, the loop offers a rugged and solemn setting with sweeping views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Don't be afraid to wake up early to catch the sun rising over the Superstitions to the east.

The trail run pairs the Ocotillo Trail and Sidewinder Trail and is considered "moderate" by most standards. Sidewinder is considered one of the most technical trails within the preserve, but this loop only touches a small portion of the 7-mile trail. Expect gradual elevation gain as the trail winds in and out of washes, and enjoy the expansive views as you circle around the towers Tower Road.

From the pavilion, this loop can be run in either direction, though counter-clockwise seems slightly more popular among locals. Water and restrooms are also available at the trailhead.

During you run, be particularly mindful of other trail users. Mountain bikers and hikers frequent the preserve to get away from the hustle and bustle of the lower valley.

Sources: https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/sonoran-preserve/trails https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/sonoran-preserve

Difficulty

Moderate

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Guidebooks in this area