Bursera Canyon Hiking Trail

Bursera Canyon Hiking Trail – South Mountain

  1. Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult
  2. Length: 2 Miles (round trip).
  3. Location: End of Chandler Road/Shaughnessy Rd in Ahwatukee
    1. in the beginning of neighborhood.

The Bursera Canyon Trail is one of the newest hiking trails on South Mountain. A bit hidden from plain site, this trail begins on the Ahwatukee side, right at the intersection where Chandler Road ends and becomes Shaughnessey Rd.

Within this neighborhood there are plenty of walking paths but this one distinct trail, will lead you right onto South Mountain and can act as a connecting trail towards the other main trails.

Although this short path is only a mile long, it becomes intense as the steep route gets hikers along the ridgeline in a short amount of distance and time.

Paved path with brown trail marker and yellow top, leading towards desert mountain. Bursera Canyon Trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

Bursera Canyon Hiking Trail Summary:

As the route begins branching out of the neighborhood along a concrete path, it quickly transforms into a dirt route, with a trail sign, indicating you are now entering the South Mountain Park and Preserve.

It begins relatively flat with a gradual incline, as it approaches the base of South Mountain leading right towards a small canyon.

wide flat hiking trail with brown trail marker along side and green shrubs on other side of trail. Bursera Canyon Trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona
brown dirt hiking trail leading towards mountain and blue sky. Bursera Canyon trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

Within this canyon area, the trail becomes a lot steeper.

Following the natural flow of the land, the only direction is up. Within taking a few steps, you can look back and see you’ve gained a lot of elevation in such a small amount of time.

While the trail crosses over a few sturdy boulders, there is no scrambling or difficulty to this section (other than the incline).

dirt hiking trail leading up desert canyon with green palo verde tree along side. Bursera Canyon Hiking Trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona
gray, brown and black medium sized rocks scattered along hiking route, inclining up mountain. Bursera Canyon trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

Short…but Steep!

Once through this middle section the trail veers to the right and a series of steep switchbacks begin. In some areas, I would equate the steepness level to that of the highest incline setting on a treadmill.

dirt hiking trail inclining up with two green saguaro cactus on top standing tall, brown and black rocks scattered along side trail. Bursera Canyon Trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona
dirt switchbacks curve around mountain side with peaks of mountain in background. Bursera Canyon hiking trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

In fact, you may find yourself needing to pull over to catch your breath. Not to worry though, while at the time this section may feel a bit brutal…it is shortly lived.

view from mountain peak of desert below with road and green fields. Bursera Canyon hiking trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona
Bursera Trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona

As you keep following the trail up weaving in and out of the standing saguaro cactuses, it quickly ends and meets up with the popular Bursera Trail.

Ending point of Bursera Canyon Trail, where it meets with the Bursera Trail

Make This Hike Longer

From this ending point, you could decide to either go left onto Bursera Trail and follow that to National Trail or go to right towards the Pyramid Trailhead. Either way, you could make a loop hike out of it, or just add a bit more mileage to your hike and return the way you came.

Whichever you decide the Bursera Canyon Trail is a great little hefty trail that will surprisingly get your heart rate pumping and offers great views along South Mountain, without having to hike for a long amount of time.

Phoenix Hiking Trail Essentials:

Over 200 hikers a year have accidents along the Phoenix hiking trails. The desert is a beautiful wide open space but with that also comes a bit of danger that all hikers need to be aware of and be prepared for.

To give you the best hiking experience be sure to bring these following essentials with you on your Phoenix hike

  • Water
  • Sunscreen/Sun Protected Clothing
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Salty Snacks (electrolytes)
  • Durable shoes

7:18 am6:06 pm MST
Feels like: 70°F
Wind: 7mph W
Humidity: 16%
Pressure: 30.13"Hg
UV index: 0

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