Piestewa Peak & a little cycling, Pheonix Part 3

Hotel #2 was Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort which is very nice. It has a big water park complex ideal for families.

The Arizona Canal
I started the day with a run and discovered the nearby Arizona Canal Trail It’s 16 miles of mostly paved multi use pathway along the city canal system. It even has underpasses so you don’t have to stop to cross the street! I ended up in a random park full of geese.

A random park!
I then headed to Arizona Outback Adventures in Scottsdale to rent a road bike. The office is in an industrial park and you need to call ahead but when I arrived they had a bike ready and waiting. They also provided me with some suggested routes and provided route maps. I did the 50 mile Around The Mountain route which goes around Mc Dowell Mountain. It was flatish and quite scenic.

Mc Dowell Mountain Park
I was impressed by the excellent bike paths and bike lanes on almost all of the roads. The directions were really good which was a relief as 20 plus miles of the route were out in the rather empty desert. It also took me past many upscale Scottsdale communities most of which are gated.

The desert highway.
I finished the day with a swim in the hotel lap pool which I had all to myself!

Not a bad spot for a swim!
On our final day in Phoenix we climbed Piestewa Peak (2608ft), which older guide books call Squaw Peak. It is the second highest peak in Phoenix. We timed our climb to watch the sunset from the top and we were not alone. All the parking lots were full when we arrived at about 5:00 pm. The trail is pretty straight forward even in the dark.

Piestewa Peak Trail
We were extra careful about where we put our hands and feet after having been warned that snakes like to hang out on the warm rocks as the sunsets. We did not see or step on any snakes which is fine with me! The view of the sunset from the top was worth the climb and coming back down in the dark the trail was reasonably obvious. We were highly amused by the e-generation hikers using their iPhones to light the trail in the dark.

Practical information:

The trailhead for Piestewa Peak is on Squaw Peak Drive
The gate to the parking lots is closed at 7:00pm but they leave the exit gate open.
Prezl Headlamps are much better for hiking in the dark than iPhones.

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