Difficulty Level: Moderate
Length: 2.45 Miles (one way).
Location: South Mountain Preserve Park (Main Entrance)
10409 S. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042
(Upon entering the main entrance, take the first left. The trail head is a little bit past the education center. Lots of parking spaces for this trail!)
It took me two tries to reach the end of this trail! The first time it was raining and once I heard thunder I turned around in my spot and came off the mountain. I don’t mess with mother nature! With that said though, the first time I hiked this was one of the best hikes I’ve ever done! This is the trail to do on South Mountain in the rain or just after it rains! You get to walk in the flowing washes and witness numerous waterfalls of the rain coming down the mountain. It felt magical to witness that. It was experiencing what happens in the mountain range as it rains, a moment so few get to see.
A week later I was out in on the trail again, this time with blue skies and the warm Phoenix sun beaming down upon the mountain. This trail starts off very gradual. You gradually make your way to a road that leads to a water tower. Once you reach the road, (which will be in less than a mile) turn right, towards the water tower and you will see that the trails continues a little further up the road. (the signs at this intersection are a little confusing). From this point the trails becomes a little steeper and it leads you right into the middle of the South Mountain range. You start gaining elevation and walking on a narrow trail on the edge of the mountains. This offers you amazing views and when raining, you start seeing the waterfalls happen below you. This trail will continue to slither around and as it becomes rockier to walk over, the increased steepness begins. The slithering trail now changes to switchbacks to take you higher up and you eventually you run into another intersection where you can continue on the trail or go up to Dobbins Lookout.
If you continue on the trail, it’s much easier than what you’ve already done, so you might as well finish it! It takes you past summit road, which you will cross and continue gradually going up. It begins to flatten out and before you know it you’ll be at the end! National trail is near the end of this trail, so if you wanted to continue on you totally could! You hard core hiker you!
If you decide to go up the Dobbins Lookout Extension, be prepared to go into beast mode as you go up! It’s a short little section but it’s pretty steep and you’ll find yourself huffing and puffing up! It’s totally worth it to make it you the Lookout! You’ll see all the other South Mountain visitors who drove to the lookout and you’ll feel like a complete warrior up there because you hiked it!! This lookout does get crowded, since visitors are able to drive and park there, but you can always find a little space of your own and relax looking at the view!
My overall thought of this hike is that it was enjoyable. My only complaint about Holbert Trail is that a lot of visitors who have driven to Dobbins Lookout, then decide to hike down the extension and get themselves onto this trail. A lot of this visitors are not aware of trail etiquette so it can be a little rough sharing the trail with them. Thankfully though they tend to not hike too long on this trail. It feels like a double edge sword for me. While I want to encourage and promote people to pick up this amazing hobby of hiking, sometimes when I see someone on the trail who doesn’t have etiquette, has flip flops on and has no water it can give my brain pain!
I’ll for sure make Holbert Trails one of my to-go trails, especially after a rain! Hope you enjoy and Happy Trails!