My experience with hiking is minimal at best. Living in different parts of the country growing up my family attempted some easy, mostly paved trails over the years in Tennessee, Hawaii and North Carolina. Arizona is a whole different ballgame with cactus, dust (so much dust!!), boulders and just in general, a new experience that has me quickly falling in love.
Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to take Sasha hiking for the first time! This dog was made for hiking! She’s still undecided about the desert (snow dog!), but mountains are her thing! At 10+ years old I was so impressed!
We hiked the Goldmine Trail in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park starting at the trailhead at the Visitor’s Center to the top of the Goldmine Mountain. The trail actually continues down the back of the mountain to the other side of the park, but it was late morning and I didn’t want Sasha out too long in the sun. It was about 3 miles round trip for us.
It is considered a difficult trail, however I would say that the difficult parts are minimum. There are some steep inclines, but the whole first mile is a nice slow, but steady, climb on mostly sand. Although I can’t find an exact total elevation, research would indicate around 2,200 feet at the top of Goldmine Mountain Peak (the park itself reaches elevations between 1,400 and over 2,500) with about 520 feet of elevation climb! There is a $6 entry fee into the park (or you can buy an annual pass for $85 with access to all Maricopa County Parks) but all proceeds go to improving the visitor recreation options. There are other trails in the park as well of varying difficulties and most trails are also open to mountain bikers and horses! For more information about the San Tan Mountain Regional Park and the Goldmine Trail check out this website!