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Pass Mountain Loop

If you’re a local Phoenix hiker, then you’ve done the Wind Cave Trail at Usery Mountain Regional Park.  It’s a favorite, especially for kids, as it has a pretty cool rock overhang at the top.  It’s a quick 1.5 miles that attracts hikers of all levels.

Usery_Pass_Mountain

Being on the more adventurous side, Leo decided to make this a loop hike instead of an up and back.  He pre-hiked it and figured out the route that would take us past the Wind Cave Trail, summit Pass Mountain and traverse the ridge-line heading North. We would eventually catch up with the Pass Mountain Trail that led us back to the trail head.  Check out his solo trip here.

Here is a quick animated view of our route.

 

You can grab the GPS route by downloading the GPX file here.

Being at the trail head just after sunrise meant we had our choice of parking!  The only other people out seemed to be the dedicated trail runners, which was nice, as this trail can be quite congested at times.  We headed out on the Wind Cave Trail  and in a few minutes passed through a gate that put us onto US Forest Land.  The trail here is quite wide, with a very gentle uphill grade.  The trail eventually steepens, with an occasional switchback with the last .5 miles following the large band of rock that run horizontally through the mountain.

We reached the “Wind Cave” faster than I ever had…which was probably due to the fact that I usually have a few kids in tow.  We stopped for just a minute to make a game plan and take in the view as you could now see the sprawling city below.  There is a sign posted there that basically says ” Trail is not maintained, hike at your own risk”.  It’s the kind of sign that lets you know things are about to get fun!

Usery_Pass

There appeared to be many trails to choose from, which usually indicates people trying to find the best way up.  They all seemed to link up at some point and head for the summit.  A little rock scrambling was required but nothing technical.

Usery Pass Mountain

Once we hit the ridge we went South for  a 100 yards or so to the edge of the peak.  Above is our fearless leader showing of his new carbon-fiber trekking poles.  We all snapped a few pictures and sipped some water.

Usery Pass trail

We didn’t stay long before we headed for the ridge line.  We would take this route across the top of Pass Mountain with a rest at the summit, which was the half-way point.  Amazing views on both sides!

Usery_Pass_Summit

Usery-Pass-Log-Book

The trail was fairly well defined and only a few times did we have to re-route.  The trail is there, just difficult to see at times and is not maintained, just like the sign had said.  At the summit is a ammo can with a log book that peak-baggers can sign, although I would not really consider this a peak–more of a mountain top.  🙂

We continued the ridge line to the North and later began our decent.  Along the way we met a hiker coming from the opposite direction.  The great thing about this guy was that he was 86 years old and said that he hikes up here a few times a year.  We chatted with him for a bit and all hoped we’d be in that kind of shape when we reached that age.

Getting off the top was a bit sketchy.  The dirt is loose and can make for an exciting hike down.  We headed West until we hit the Pass Mountain Loop Trail.  This trail is very popular with the mountain bikers, so be alert.  We followed it South until we arrived at the trail head.

Another amazing Arizona hike completed.  Great weather, great views and great people.  Really enjoyed hiking with this group and hope to do it again soon!

Usery Pass Mountain panorama

Usery-Pass-Elevation

Usery-Pass-Elevation

 

Usery-Pass-loop


Comments (3)

  1. Great hike…enjoyed the recap and pics! Ready for another one?

  2. admin

    Thanks! And yes, “What’s Next?”

  3. Charles

    Great photos and descriptions. Doing this hike tomorrow 02-03-2017

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