A trip to Arizona for me is not complete without a visit to Thunderbird Park. Mostly this is because my family lives near one of the trail entrances, so I walk half a mile and my hike begins. Not quite like the 1-2 hour drives I take to get to a trail in Washington.
Not that I’m complaining, nothing compares to the hikes in Washington…yet.
In my previous visits to Thunderbird Park, I stuck to a basic walk following the Coach Whip trail, taking me along three different mountains, but never to the summits. The park is split into three mountains, each with their own summit. One at Arrowhead Point, one on the Cholla Loop, and one on Sunrise Mountain.
I decided to jump on board with the #52hikechallenge this year, where I hike at least 52 times throughout 2018. To make it easy, I started on Jan 2. Ideally I will hike once a week, but there will certainly be weeks I hike more than this (like when I’m hiking 8 days straight in Scotland, or when I’m hiking this summer at an exciting location – for another blog post), as well as weeks I don’t hike at all.
I plan to listen to my body this year more than every before, like yesterday when I chose to go to a spin class instead of hike.
Overall I have no strict rules for this goal, just to make an effort to hike as often as possible. I completed four hikes while in Arizona, three of them at Thunderbird Park in order to hit all three summits. I find it easy to start a commitment like this when I’m in Arizona because the sunshine is motivational.
Plus I have a shitton of extra time, and Thunderbird is so close.
You would never know from the above panoramic photos, but each summit is market by an American flag. This made it more fun for me, because I can’t say the view from the tops are anything to loose your pants over. Instead I used the flag as my victory reward. I did all of these hikes solo, and this park is well populated so I always felt safe.
Each hike gave me a bit over 5 miles by starting where I did on the Coach Whip, but you could easily do more than one mountain at a time.
First up for me was Cholla Loop – a 3.6 mile loop with an elevation of 1350′. The overall gain is a mere 561′ making this trail suitable for most everyone. I started at the same location each time, giving me a few extra miles. This was when I realized there were multiple summits, and this was when I decided to hit all three before I left.
Next hike was somewhat unplanned. I set out with the intention of just walking the Coach Whip (which I did a few other times that I’m not counting) but ended up turning the wrong way. I was heading towards the summit of Sunrise Mountain, and ironically as I hit the summit the sun was starting to set.
Sunset on Sunrise.
I wasn’t planning a full hike, but one thing led to another. I still got 5 miles in on this hike, but had to call for backup because it was getting dark. Instead of walking back another mile and a half or so on the Coach Whip, I got picked up at the Sunrise Mountain trail head. Shout out to my dad and stepmom for coming to save me from coyotes and creeps. This trail is a 4.3 mile loop (I loved the loops!) with a gain of 626′.
Lastly I ventured to Arrowhead Point Trail, which was the shortest of them all with a smaller elevation gain, but the shorter the mileage/gain ratio the more it burns. It’s short, but it gets the lungs burning. This loop is 2.4 miles with a gain of 439′. I was fortunate enough to have the summits mostly to myself.
I sat at this summit for a good 10 minutes appreciating my life.
I’ve officially conquered all of Thunderbird Park, and feel I’m a partial subject matter expert now. I’m excited to continue hiking in various places around the US, and in Scotland. And of course anywhere else I decide to travel to, because the world is my playground.
Q: Did you set any goals for the new year? I think goals should be sent all year long, not just at the beginning.
41 thoughts on “Thunderbird Park”
so pretty! I LOVE Arizona! That’s awesome you can walk to that trail! Way to go for taking on the 52 hike challenge! I have seen others doing this as well!! HAVE FUN! 🙂
Thanks girl! It’s gonna be a good year of exploring!
I have the same driving issues you do. I have to drive at least 90 minutes to get to the good hiking spots to the west of DC.
My only resolution this year is to get my health back. Once that’s done I can set some goals. I stopped making New Years resolutions long ago. Better to focus on mind and body and to appreciate every day.
You and I have a similar mindset it appears. Health always comes first!
I touched on my “resolutions” in this post: https://regularguyoutside.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/cabin-fever-the-winter-blahs-and-resolutions/#more-118
Basically, I’m trying not to turn into a slug this winter. Ambitious!
I am intrigued by the 52 hike challenge, but am a little worried that it might become burdensome on my family. It sounds simple enough, until I’m obsessing over getting a hike in so that I can hit the number. I’ve done at least two short hikes this month, so only 50 more to go! Something to think about.
I am, however, semi-committed to getting a backpacking trip done this spring, even if it’s only an overnighter. I need to do a bit of planning and work out the logistics.
Those are my thoughts as well, which is why I’m going to just go with the flow. I know come summer I’ll be hiking a lot so if I don’t do as much the winter months that’s ok! No need for a number, getting out often is good enough.
Those coyotes are NO joke!!! Yay for safe rides home! 🙌🏻 My goal this year is to share a new YouTube episode each week. So far, so good! Except… I’m sick this week, so at least one video is going to sound a little funky. 🙈 Oh well!
Sick voice just makes it realistic right!? Haha.
Well hello Thunderbird Park, looks pretty darn awesome to me. I wish I lived within walking distance to a hiking trail, that would be heaven. I might but join you on the #52hikechallenge… maybe… lol. Love the panoramic pics
I sooo wish I could walk to a trail at home, I’d go alllll the time haha.
Good luck on your 52 hike challenge! My goal is to hike 100 miles this year 🙂
Thank you, and good luck to you as well! Excellent goal.
Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
Sounds like you were a hiking queen in Arizona! How nice that there’s a trailhead in walking distance from your family’s house. That would be so nice! There’s a lake with a baby hike maybe a 7-minute drive from me, and I do it once or twice a week because it’s so convenient and I can just pop out on a lunch break to do it.
Do you have travel plans for Scotland this year??
That’s a nice way to spend your break! Yesss I’m going to Scotland in October. 🙌🏻🏴
GiGi Eats Celebrities
DUDE! You are going to DEMOLISH your 52 Hikes GOAL this summer!!!!! Maybe I will go on 2 or 3 of those hikes with you… Only for you though, cause I friggin’ love you. DUH!
Yassss that would be ideal. Mt. Wilson 😝
Hey, 52 hikes is like my Ithaca restaurant goal. I have no idea how many restaurants there are though lol
Alllll the restaurants!
Josie @ Literature Mistress
I would just LOVE to be able to join you on your hikes! I know way too many people who are not really into walking around a lot and exploring on foot, so I am always hoping that one day I’ll actually find someone to go hiking with – your trip around Scotland sounds like heaven! =)
If only you lived closer!! ❤️
Ah that 52 hikes goal sounds so exciting!! The Scotland hikes are probably going to be breath-taking! Can’t wait to follow along 😀
I cannot wait for those hikes!!
The pictures looks amazing
thank you for sharing
Thank YOU for reading.
Megan and Lillian
The american flag totally reminds me of landing on the moon… so basically you are an astronaut …. and totally hardcore. also 8 days of hiking in scotland OMG. this. i want to join next time. you are living the dream my friend xoxo (this is lily and I’m pumping and using one hand si i apologize for bad typing errors)
I totally knew it was you. Hahahaha. I feel like it’s a fun game guessing which one of you it is, but I always know!
Love that 52 hikes is your goal! I am trying to learn Italian, does that count as a goal?? Doing it using Duolingo app and trying to reach 20 min of practice every day -Kat
Hell yeah that counts! That’s awesome.
You should change your blog name to These Boots Are Made For Walking, except copyright infringement.
HA, I sometimes think about what kind of new blog URL I would like.
Awesome hike. I really enjoyed the panoramas! Can’t wait to see what you do next!
Thanks! It’s a solid backyard adventure!
Backyard adventures are the best because they are so close you can do them over and over again!
Eight straight days of hiking in Scotland sounds epic! Also, I cannot wait to hear about your exciting hike location this summer!! I have no doubt you’ll hit 52 hikes in 2018!! What a fun, inspiring goal!
Also, Thunderbird Park is legit!
Blog post to come one of these days!
So pretty! And I love this! Thinking I should jump on this … 52 hikes in 2018! Love it!
YES, you should. And WE should hike a lot of them together. HA.
Alexx's Keto Avenue
These pictures are really awesome I’m not into hiking yet but I can’t wait to try! Thank you so much!
Hey Alexx, thanks! Hiking is great because you can do it most anywhere at any level! Happy trails.
this is awesome that one park has 3 summits and the american flag is a cool touch too. well done!! and good luck with your goal 🙂
Thank you! 🙂