Can You Name Your Favorite Mountain Range?

Sun Lakes Hiking Club members with the “Michelin Man” in Cave Creek Regional Park (Photo by Jim Savage)

Warren Wasescha

Hike for a while in the Valley and you’ll experience a very different feel as you hike each mountain range.

Take Camelback, for example—an icon in the heart of the metro area. Everyone knows it. It’s located amidst some of the most desirable and expensive properties in the Valley. It’s a very aspirational trail to hike. You’ll see the youthful, the affluent, those in designer hiking gear and donning expensive water bottle brands. You’ll see serious marathoners doing 13 trips to the top in one day. And you’ll also see naïve tourists wearing high heel shoes or flip flops being rescued by helicopter more than you’d like.

Then there’s Pinnacle Peak—the ultimate designer hike. A Little Lending Library awaits you at the start of the trail. Poetry and art signs greet you as you make your way to the top. Granite trails are as meticulously groomed as the sand traps of a golf course. And the surrounding views are of multi-million dollar homes that give you a glimpse of how certain people live who have been very economically blessed.

In comparison, South Mountain is more of an everyday person’s type of hiking mountain. No airs about it. People out having fun in all varieties of condition. No worry if you are not donning the latest trendy hiking wear. At the same time, no worry if you are. You’ll see everything from moms teaching preschoolers how to ride a mountain bike with training wheels to a group of college kids getting in a morning endurance run. Not to mention a lot of hikers from the club, due to the proximity to Sun Lakes.

Head east to the Superstitions, and you’ll find a mountain range that’s so diverse it feels like going to Disneyland with all of its ride options. Every trail is so different from the others. And you’ll come across an array of hikers, some with backpacks staying for days to get away from it all. It’s a more remote mountain experience when, in reality, you’re just an hour away.

Wonder about the Estrella Mountains west of us? Hiking options are limited, due to much of the mountain range being on Reservation land. The San Tans to the east? A few good hikes. Proximity gives this mountain range its value.

So much more to share, but only so much room in a newspaper column!

Do you like the idea of hiking and socializing with others? Find out more about our club by searching “Sun Lakes Hiking Club” in your web browser and visit our “Meetup” site to see descriptions and pictures of the hikes the club has done in the past. We are a friendly, inclusive group that welcomes all able-bodied hiking enthusiasts.

The club hikes November through April, but off-calendar hikes happen throughout the year. Contact Stu Frost at [email protected] for more details if you are interested.

Have additional questions about our club? Please contact our president DeEtte Faith at [email protected] for more information.