After nearly forty years of collecting dust on the shelves of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation planning department, plans for multi-use trails in Deem Hills have finally become reality. Last spring, construction of over eight miles of trails began. Previously existing trails were widened to four feet and pristine terrain was excavated to create multiple loops that meander across every face of the hills. Trail access is conveniently located along 51st Avenue right next to the Deem Hills Recreational Park, where families can also enjoy picnicking, soccer and playground fun. There is a second trailhead on the northeast end of Deem Hills at the end of Pinnacle Vista Road. Hikers, bikers, runners and horseback riders in the area all agree that these are some of the best trails in north central Phoenix.
How to find the two official trailheads into Deem Hills: **The main trailhead starts on the west end of the preserve at Deem Hills Recreation Area. To get there, drive north on 51st Ave. from Happy Valley Road. Turn right on West Deem Hills Parkway. Turn right into the Recreation Area. Look for the trailhead signs near the southeast corner of the parking lot.
**The Pinnacle Vista trailhead is located on the northeast side of Deem Hills. To get there, drive north on 33rd Ave. from Happy Valley Road. Turn left at Pinnacle Vista road and follow it for a mile to the end where it makes a sharp turn to the right. The parking lot is on the left just a couple hundred feet further up the road.
To download this PDF of the Deem Hills trail map, go to www.Phoenix.gov. You’ll find the map labeled Deem Hills Revised Master Plan in the Parks and Recreation section of the website. Or cut and paste this URL: http://phoenix.gov/PRL/deemmast.pdf
Since May 2005, I have written a natural history column for a neighborhood newsletter published by Jennifer Moore called "Our Big Backyard: Natural History of the Deem Hills," and since 2010, "A Suburban Naturalist."All of these columns are reproduced here. Deem Hills is a City of Phoenix Desert Preserve located just north of Happy Valley Road in north central Phoenix, and just west of I-17. The Preserve and adjacent hills comprise over 900 acres of open space with several miles of hiking trails. For more perspectives from the Deem Hills and suburban Phoenix, also check out my companion blog, Kat Tracks.
As a naturalist with a special interest in botany and plant ecology, some of my greatest passions are to explore, photograph and write about native plants. If I can spark an awareness or interest in natural history in others along the way, that is my greatest reward.