Bursera Hiking Trail

Bursera Hiking Trail – South Mountain

The Bursera Hiking Trail is found on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. This trail is rated as moderate, due to the distance of 6 miles round trip.

A beginner may find Bursera a bit challenging. However, there is nothing “too” steep about Bursera. In short, the trail goes up a peak, down a peak and then back up another peak. And, reverse that for your way back as well.

Bursera hiking trail is located within the peaceful Phoenix neighborhood known as Ahwatukee. The trailhead has a small parking area and parking is allowed along the street, as well.

On Chandler, walking towards trailhead
Beginning of trail from parking lot

Bursera Trail Summary

At the beginning, the path is flat, as it reaches towards the base of the mountain. At a half mile you will reach the trail marker, indicating to turn left onto the actual start of Bursera. (On the right side, will be Pyramid Trail)

Around a half mile the trailhead to Bursera on left (Pyramid Trail is on the right)

At first, it’s relatively easy as it takes you around and up the back portion of the mountain. Soon you’ll be looking down at the other hikers on the same flat path that you had just been on a few moments ago.

View of beginning trail portion below

You’ll soon discover that this incline does not let up and the hike is starting to get more challenging. Although, there will be a few areas where it flattens out, making it a great spot to catch your breath before continuing.

Once on the natural ridgeline of the mountain, the trail will curve towards the right and back behind the Ahwatukee neighborhoods, exposing your view into the inner portion of South Mountain.

Coming up soon at around 1.3 miles you will reach the highest point on this trail, which is known as Bursera Peak. From this point the trail will begin declining down and will slither you away from the mountain top and down into a wash area.

This area is flat and leads you towards another section of the mountain, across from where you started. For now, enjoy the hike because at about 2.25 miles the route begins to steepen once again. The good news? It’ll only be for a short distance of about a half mile until you reach the end, where the trail meets up with National Trail.

I wish I could say the ending point of the trail will be amazing, but I can’t lie to you.

End of Bursera Trail

There really is no spectacular view at the end. The trail ends when it intersects with National Trail.

Although, from this point, you could continue onto connecting trails and do a loop to reach the parking lot, or you can head back the way you came.

Do a Longer Hiking Loop:

From the end of Bursera, turn right onto National Trail and follow until you reach Pyramid Trail. Follow Pyramid Trail all the way, and you’ll find yourself at the parking lot where you started! (this would total about a 10-11 mile hike.)

Bursera Hiking Trail Tip:

  • Wear sunscreen, there is no shade on this trail.

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
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