This was our sixth out of the seven summits of Phoenix, but seeing this is the first blog post, we will have to go back and hike them again eventually to write on them.
As this is one of the seven summit challenge mountains. We followed the directions up, but if we were to do it again we would not have.
The advice on other blogs is to start at the Maricopa Ramada which is on the northern end of the loop when you enter the North Mountain Park Preserve area. From there you head up the trail on the north end of the parking lot.
The first part of the trail is not too difficult although there are a few short steep sections. This part of the family hike is probably about a 1/4 of a mile. Then it dumps you onto the paved access road which brings you up to the top. Yes it is paved.
If you head up in the morning the access road will have some shady areas where the sun is blocked.
When you arrive at the top you will see Trail 44 head off to the left which brings you to the summit.
From the summit you can see right down Central to downtown Phoenix.
We learned early on, if you want to keep kids happy the trick is to stop frequently, we usually will stop every 30-45 minutes for a snack. Here you can make it to the top in less time than than.
I was kind of bored on the hike up as it was mostly paved. When we got to the top I noticed a little side trail so my 5 year old son and I started wandering and we ran into a hiker coming the other way. We got talking and he told me that trail headed back down to the parking area.
We decided to head back down this way, and we were glad we did. This was a much nicer hike. If I were to do it again I would have gone up this way. This drops you out at the Quechan picnic area which is on the west end of the parking lot.
If you decide to head up this way the trail heads west and starts on the north side (right) of the Quechan pavilion. The only thing you will want to make sure you are aware of is at the top of the first crest you can go a couple different ways, head to the north (right) and then keep following the trail to the top.
The way we came down North Mountain was much more fun and more difficult. There were some steep areas which made this trail a little more difficult.
My 5 year old boy and the 9 year old girl have one thing in common when hiking, they will always look for the adventurous and challenging way, and that is the road they take.
The trail in the south side which we took down was much less traveled. We saw dozens of hikers heading up the way we went up, but only a small handful heading up the trail on the south side of the mountain.
If you head this way remember it is a lot steeper and while not real difficult, much more challenging than the paved road up. And watch out for the loose rocks, they make it easy to twist a knee. Trust me, I know.
At the end of the day North Mountain was a great hike. You just need to know which way to go.
Your elevation on the summit is 2,104 feet and the elevation gain to get there is 614 feet. Our round trip was about 1.75 miles. It is rated as moderate and I would agree with that. There are some steep areas, but nothing our kids could not easily handle.
Directions to get there are from Dunlap head north on 7th Street then head west on Peoria Ave and west into the park. If you take the Maricopa Ramada route the parking is on the north end and if you decide to take the more challenging way the parking is on the west end near the Quechan Ramada.
Comments from the family:
Dad - Next time I would go up the south side for sure and then head down the main road. On a scare of 1-10 (1 easiest) I would rate this hike a 3 using the way they tell you to for the 7 summit challenge, and maybe a 5 coming down the other side.
Mom - Although no one thought I would make it up the hill, it really wasn’t that bad at all. The hike down was much more fun despite the stubborn man with the twisted knee who climbed up every hill to take a picture. On a scare of 1-10 (1 easiest) I would rate this hike a 4.
Daughter 1 (age 11) - The coming down was harder than going up, but both parts were fun and exhausting. I liked the coming down, the harder trail better. I love going hiking because I like to spend time with my family. On a scare of 1-10 (1 easiest) I would rate this hike a 4.
Daughter 2 (age 9) - If you want a challenge you should go up the south side trail. If you want an easy hike head down the north side with the paved road. I personally liked the harder side better. On a scare of 1-10 (1 easiest) I would rate this hike a 5.
Daughter 3 (age 7) - I liked the hike today. I liked the way we went down because it was harder. I also liked walking on the road. On a scare of 1-10 (1 easiest) I would rate this hike a 5.
Son 1 (age 5) - I liked todays hike. My favorite part was going down. I liked going down because it was hard.
We are a family of six, Mom, Dad, 3 daughters and a son. Right now our kids range from 5-11 and have been hiking for a few months.