Did you know that the Phoenix area has over 80 hiking trails but here is one that might be close to home:
Arizona hike: Turnbuckle Trail, Buckeye
Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck was spot-on when he quoted Andy Warhol during the grand-opening ceremony of Skyline Regional Park.
The 20th-century artist famous for his paintings of soup cans and celebrities said, “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.”
Perhaps Warhol’s spirit was riding shotgun on the mini track hoe that blazed the trails in this 8,600-acre West Valley outdoor-recreation hub that was officially dedicated on Jan. 9. That’s one possible explanation for why the trail layout features so many beautifully framed vistas and organic vignettes.
Much like a perfectly executed brushstroke or acrobatic back flip, the system is fluid and comfortable in its skin. The “skin” consists of the pristine washes and foothills of the southern White Tank Mountains. The dirt paths wrap around the terrain like whispers revealing secrets contained within area’s natural elements without ever getting in the way.
Although it’s just 2 miles north of Interstate 10, the blissfully quiet site has a wild yet accessible feel.
The 3-mile Turnbuckle Trail is the longest of the seven Phase I routes. Like most hikes in the park, it begins with a stroll across a graceful, oxidized bridge spanning Mountain Wash. It loops around a prominent mountain peak and connects with Valley Vista Trail for an optional 0.33-mile, difficult climb to the summit. This short trek involves some steep, narrow sections with drop-offs.
So far, 6 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding are complete. Eleven more miles are to open by September. Meck concluded the opening ceremonies by describing plans for even more trekking routes and enhanced facilities promising, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Length: 4 miles round trip to the summit.
Rating: Moderate to difficult.
Elevation: 1,500-2,300 feet.
Facilities: Restrooms, picnic tables, campsites.
Fees: None for day use. Camping is by reservation only and costs $20 per night for Buckeye residents, $30 for non-residents.
Getting there: 2600 N. Watson Road, Buckeye. From Interstate 10 in Buckeye, take the Watson Road exit and go 2 miles north to the park. Roads are paved and sedan-friendly dirt.