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Phoenix Mountains Preserve is possibly the most comprehensive, yet confusing trail network to navigate in the valley.
According to azcentral.com, "Many of our current trails are old trails — originally mining roads or horse trails, and some of those may have followed historic or ancient trails." There are even rumors of old mine entrances hidden along the mountain, but few people know how to get there. Named after a former Phoenix Mountains Preservation Council member, this loop is one of the best marked trail running loops on the mountain.
There are multiple ways to access the trail, the most popular being Dreamy Draw Recreation Area.
The park gates are open 5am to 7pm, and there is water and restrooms at the trailhead. Alternatively, an extension of Trail 1A extends under the Piestewa Freeway to a small trailhead at the end of East Myrtle Ave.
There are no facilities or water and a tunnel allows easy access to the loop.
Beginning here, you will parallel the highway for the start of your run. Beginning at Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, most choose to run this route clockwise.
There are numerous unmarked trails, presumably old mining routes, that cross the trail on the north side of the mountain.
Several of these trails provide shortcuts or alternative routes for mountain bikers and horses.
The VOAZ Trail in particular is a popular way to shorten this loop.
It is also one of very few marked trails you will encounter. This is a classic desert trail run and provides a wide diversity of terrain.
Expect sandy washes, loose rock, jagged shale, and an occasional scramble as you wind through the rugged, rocky Phoenix Mountains.
Weathered saguaro and teddy bear cholla, named for their "fuzzy" appearance, are also abundant.
For an added bonus, this is an incredible loop to run at sunrise or sunset.
Don't be afraid to set your alarm a little early to catch the sun as it rises over the Superstitions to the east. Sources: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/asked-answered/2015/06/24/information-history-valley-hiking-trails-cbt/28947323/ https://www.phoenix.gov/parkssi te/Documents/PKS_NRD/northlarge.pdf