North Thunderbird Peak • Hedgepeth Hills
• City of Glendale, Maricopa County
• Thunderbird Conservation Area

View west toward Sunset Mountain, Calderwood Butte (below the horizon line) and West Wing Mountain

Summit way up ahead

Summit not that far

The top, plus a guy giving his dog a drink

View northwest of the trail I hiked

Summit as I leave, now heading east

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Prominence Peaks


Date: September 4, 2016 • Elevation: 1,831 feet • Prominence: 381 feet • Distance: 4 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 550 feet • Conditions: Pleasant and warm, but not too bad • Teammates: Other random hikers

This hill is in Glendale, part of the Thunderbird Conservation Area, where 59th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road meet. I was here three years ago when I hiked Thunderbird Peak, the slightly-higher hill immediately to the south. I don't think these hilltops have official names. I call this one "North Thunderbird Peak".

I had driven from Scottsdale to hike Calderwood Butte, a few miles to the east. That hike was shorter than I expected, and the weather was much nicer than I expected. Having time on my hands, I sought a second hike, and decided to come here and hike this little hill. The hill itself is nothing special, but it does feature a 4-mile loop trail called the Cholla Trail, which looked interesting.

I parked at the small lot near the 59th Avenue/Pinnacle Peak alignments, arriving here about 8 a.m.. The weather was sunny and cloudless, but dry. The temperature was about 85 degrees, but with the low humidity, it was very comfortable. I packed light and was walking within moments, choosing to follow the Cholla Trail in a clockwise orientation.

The trail stays level and heads on a northwest bearing below a long northwest-trending ridge, covering nearly a mile before bending with the lay of the land, north, then east, now on the north end of the ridge. Here, the trail finally starts uphill, in a couple long and easy switchbacks. I was no on the ridge, heading southeast, the summit of this hill up ahead.

There were a lot of people hiking today, and the weather was staying nice, not zooming into the 100-degree range so quickly as it can do in summer. In a few more minutes, I had achieved the top of this hill, a tattered American flag here amid the rocks at the top. There were people coming and going in both directions. I took a couple photos, but didn't stay long. The one-way hike had covered about two miles.

I continued clockwise, now dropping slowly down a long east-trending ridge, putting one foot in front of the other in a nice rhythm. Soon, I was down off the peak, and just had to hike the trail along Pinnacle Peak Road back to my car. I had been gone just under ninety minutes, covering four miles. By now, it was kind of hot, about 95 degrees. I was pleasantly tired, but pleased with this hike.

With my new vehicle, I did something I haven't done since 2008: I turned on my air conditioner to cool off. It felt great! I drove home, got some groceries, cleaned up and napped, happy to get over five miles of hiking in this morning, including my short hike up Calderwood Butte.

(c) 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.