Deem Hills West features a moderate hiking experience for beginners and avid hikers. The entire trail is about 6 miles around and can be cut in half to provide an easy three-mile exercise. Hikers can also enjoy four other fairly easy trails that are all less than two miles in length.
South Mountain Park
Hours for all trailhead areas and entrances: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (entrance gates close). Trails remain open until 11 p.m. At more than 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park/Preserve is one of the largest municipally operated parks in the country, according to the Trust for Public Land. It boasts 51 miles of primary trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking for all ability levels. From the park's main entrance, you can drive up the Summit Road 5.5 miles to Dobbins Lookout and spectacular valleywide views or you can continue to the Gila Lookout for a view of the Gila River Valley.
Silent Sundays/San Juan Road Access : For each monthly Silent Sunday event, (generally the fourth Sunday of each month), the park’s main access roadways are closed to motor vehicles, reserving them for the entire day for non-motorized uses.
East Boundry Trail-Hike from the Beverly Canyon trailhead on Beverly Canyon trail. At the first wash crossing, take the trail northeast along the boundary of the preserve. The trail is approximately 1.5 miles, following the brown unmarked trail posts, it will get you to about midway into the East Loop trail, with a golf course on the left.
1900 W. Chandler Blvd. NEW parking lot: There is now a deposed granite parking lot along with parking along Chandler Blvd. The trailhead is at the end of Chandler Blvd. near 19th Ave. in Ahwatukee.
Chandler Blvd and 19th Avenue Trailhead
Desert Foothills trailhead, Desert Foothills Parkway (north of Chandler Boulevard) and Seventh Street. It will be on the north side of Desert Foothills Parkway, approximately 1.5 miles west from Chandler Blvd. Two trails can be accessed from here: Telegraph Pass trail and Desert Classic trail (see Desert Classic details above).
Desert Foothills Parkway Trailhead
10919 S. Central Ave. Drive south on Central Ave., past Baseline road and Dobbins road. Continue on Central, it curves to the right (west) and becomes the park road.
Pima Canyon Access
Pima Canyon is located at 9904 S. 48th Street near Guadalupe Road. Going South from Baseline and 48th St, go south on 48th st., then 2 stop signs, then take the round-about going south, with Rustler’s Rooste on your right hand side. Continue on 48th st. passing next stop light of Guadalupe road. Take the first right, then immediate left, drive ˝ mile down Pima paved road to trailhead. Parking is available on the north side of road if this lot is full. This area provides access to multi-use trails of various length and difficulty for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. A one-mile dirt road leads to the trailhead for the National Trail and other trails such as the Mormon Loop, Javelina Trail, and Ridgeline Trail. The Desert Classic Trail and East and West Loop trails are accessed from the parking lot area. The Pima Canyon area offers a map kiosk and two large shaded ramadas, complete with tables and benches, water fountains, and barbecue grills for visitor convenience. Waterless restroom facilities are also available. The trailhead parking lot is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tom’s Thumb Trail
This 3.7-mile trail weaves in and out of gorgeous vegetation and provides breathtaking views of Phoenix and Four Peaks. The most interesting feature of this hiking trail is the iconic Tom’s Thumb, which is a granite bump on the McDowell Mountain preserve. While the trail does pass by various other trails that offer climbing areas, hikers can opt to stay on the trail and climb Tom’s Thumb, something that most hiking trails do not offer. Be sure to check out Ogre’s Den, a natural cave featuring art and trinkets located off below and to the West of the Thumb.
The Bobcat Trail provides an out and back hike of about 2 miles or serves as a connection to the Dixie Mountain Loop and the rest of the Sonoran Preserve trails system beyond. The trail begins at the eastern end of Sonoran Desert Drive, there is no designated parking available yet, only walk in access. The trail crosses two large washes, meanders along gently rolling hills before ending at the 2.25 mile post of the Dixie Mountain Loop.
Cactus Wren Trail
1.41 Miles-Easy to Moderate
Access to the beginning of this trail is from the Desert Vista Trailhead via Hawk’s Nest Trail, Desert Tortoise Trail and then Valle Vista Trail (a total of 1.77 miles to the beginning). This trail spurs off of the Valle Vista Trail and serves to create a larger, outer loop for the Great Horned Owl Trail.
Desert Tortoise Trail
This trail begins .25 miles from the Desert Vista Trailhead via Hawk’s Nest Trail. The trail can be used as the southern leg of a 2.3 mile loop by heading west to the Valle Vista Trail, turning north on Valle Vista Trail then heading east on the Dixie Mountain Loop back to the end of Hawk’s Nest Trail which returns to the trailhead.
Dixie Mountain Loop
This trail was the first new trail built, 2010, in the Sonoran Preserve. It is accessible from the Desert Vista Trailhead. Look for the Teddy Bear Cholla forest between mile posts 2.6 and 2.75.
Dixie Summit Trail
Dixie Summit Trail is a steep summit trail that provides a view from 2,203 feet that provides panoramic views of all the peaks of the Phoenix preserve system including Camelback Mountain, North Mountain, Shaw Butte and Piestewa Peak among others.
Great Horned Owl Trail
3.1 Miles-Easy to Moderate
This Loop Trail is accessible from the Desert Vista Trailhead. It crests a saddle of the Union Hills where it provides access to Union Summit Trail, connects with the eastern end of the Cactus Wren Trail and then loops back around the southern edge of the preserve and rejoins itself after 3.1 miles.
Hawk’s Nest Trail
This trail connects the Desert Vista Trailhead to Desert Tortoise Trail and Dixie Mountain Loop Trail.
Union Peak Trail
.45 Mile-Moderate to Difficult
The trail is reached at the .5 mile point of the Great Horned Owl Trail. It switches back up the peak to reach the summit of Union Peak at an elevation of 2,200 feet.
Western Vista Trail
Western Vista Trail is a steep summit trail that provides a view from 2,026 feet that allows visibility to Deem Hills Recreation Area to the west across the I-17. The trail is quite steep.
Valle Verde Trail
The trail spurs off from the Dixie Mountain Loop stretching south toward the Desert Tortoise, Cactus Wren and Great Horned Owl Trails.