North Maricopa Mountains (Sonoran Desert NM), Apache Trail

With one more whole weekend to spend in the Phoenix area, I decided to visit Sonoran Desert National Monument for a hike in the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness on Saturday. Feeling quite hiked out after an 11.6 mile hike, I then took Sunday to drive the Apache Trail (Arizona State Route 88) through the Superstition Mountains.

I previously drove through Sonoran Desert National Monument on I-8 but didn’t stop to actually visit the monument as I did so. I decided to take the day to drive through the monument on State route 238 before making my way up to dirt roads accessing the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness Area.

I did some research and read about the Margie’s Cove trailhead, with the West side being the only currently accessible trailhead. I drove to the trailhead and headed out on the trail. It was a beautiful hike, which I followed for a way before deciding it was time to head back to the car. All in, I hiked a solid 11.6 miles, totally 833ft of elevation gain.

The trail begins as a trail through desert grassland before making its way through washes cutting through the North Maricopa Mountains. The terrain was sandy and a steady, although not particularly steep climb. As I entered into the wash section, I also noticed a ton of yellow wildflowers everywhere, including all of the wonderful green terrain of the Sonoran Desert.

The hike really seemed to highlight a lot of what the Sonoran Desert is all about in this region. Full of creosote, Saguaro and Cholla cacti, and other beautiful plants and terrain. I didn’t make it to the end of Margie’s Cove Trail, but it just leaves more to see in the future!

Although not a particularly difficult hike, the sandy washes left me sore enough I decided to take the day on Sunday to drive through the Apache Trail. While I was staying near the Superstition Mountains a couple of weeks ago, I had read up about the drive, and this seemed like an appropriate day to take the drive.

I ended up really amazed at the amazing scenery and really quite fun drive. The sky was overcast and even spat a few raindrops at me over the course of the day, but all of the drive was amazing nonetheless. Starting out paved but becoming dirt, it’s a diverse, wonderful drive that took me a few hours to complete. I was somewhat bothered by other drivers that don’t really know how to drive on these sort of roads, but I had plenty of time to simply enjoy the drive myself as well.

I finished the drive at Theodore Roosevelt Dam before heading back to camp near Cordes Ranch. A great weekend of adventure complete!

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