Tag: Lookout Mountain

Week 15: Lookout Circumference Trail

(c) ABR 2017

It’s Easter, and we have a brunch and a dinner to go to. So, I wanted to explore a new trail today that wouldn’t take more than an hour to finish. Lookout Circumference seemed like a good choice.

I have tried to hike this trail once before, but since Lookout is very popular, there are trails crisscrossing all over the mountain, and it can be pretty hard to figure out if you are on the main trail or not, especially in less trafficked spots.

(c) ABR 2017

Luckily, today I didn’t have too much of a problem, although I chose to take some of the smaller trails to avoid crowds here and there, and to make my hike a little longer. I really enjoyed some of these narrow trails; there’s just something extra wild and exciting about them, even in an urban setting.

(c) ABR 2017

I also found a neat little rock carving. I’m not convinced that this is a real petroglyph, but it’s nice to imagine.

Hiking Phoenix: A Guide to Shadow Mountain and Lookout Mountain


Compared to every other part of the City of Phoenix mountain preserve system Lookout Mountain and Shadow Mountain are both exceedingly small. They won’t be on the top of anyone’s Arizona bucketlist. But don’t let that fool you, if you are looking for a shorter, but challenging hike, both have something to offer. These are also great options for anyone in North Central Phoenix who is looking to avoid at least some of the crowds else where in the city.

Lookout Mountain has it’s primary trailhead at 15800 N. 16th Street, but Shadow Mountain’s only access is through the neighborhoods; there is no parking lot that I know of for this small section of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

Shadow Mountain

I grew up about a two minutes walk from the main section of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve; that place shaped my childhood, and was the stage for my earliest hiking experiences. In a lot of ways, it also spoiled me in terms of city hiking, because when I got my first glimpse of Shadow Mountain, I was really underwhelmed. The main section of the preserve is large enough to hide Phoenix in at least one direction. While hiking through trails at lower elevations, you don’t feel like you’re in the city at all. Shadow Mountain, however, is a tiny island in an urban sea, and it hardly seemed to be worth exploring.

Shadow Mountain

The steep summit trail on Shadow Mountain (c) ABR

Needless to say, my initial impressions of this place were easily proven wrong. Shadow Mountain, and its partner, Lookout Mountain, are quieter places to hike in comparison to some of the more popular trails near Piestewa Peak in the main part of the preserve. In particular, Shadow Mountain seems to be primarily used by neighborhood people, and is thus a peaceful place to spend an early morning or afternoon.

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