HOLBERT HIKING TRAIL

Holbert Hiking Trail – South Mountain

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Length: 2.45 Miles (one way).
  • Location: South Mountain Preserve Park (Main Entrance) – Take the first left after main entrance.
    • The trail head is a little bit past the Environmental Education Center. Lots of parking spaces for this trail!)

Holbert hiking trail is great, especially for a hiker who is looking for the ultimate moderate hike. It offers a lot of variety and a lot of different views!

The trail begins tucked away after entering the Main Entrance , turn left after entering the main gate of South Mountain pass the Environmental Education Center.

dirt trail with signs of map and information on the side of trail
Holbert Trailhead, South Mountain

Holbert Trail Summary

This trail begins rather easy, with a gradual incline. The path weaves a bit throughout the desert floor going up and down some wash areas, as you walk alongside South Mountain.

At this point, the trail feels very peaceful. You may see quail shuffling from creosote bush to creosote bush. The skyline of Phoenix to one side and fallen boulders piled up upon each other to your other side.

In fact, there’s even a section where the City of Phoenix has placed wooden gates around a piece of sacred South Mountain history. This area has scattered boulders;  displaying pieces of where the Hohokam Tribe, created rock carvings known as petroglyphs.

brown boulder with petroglyph carving of zig zag lines and a turtle along Phoenix hiking trail
Ancient Hohokaum tribe petroglyphs, along Holbert Trail on South Mountain

As you continue along the trail, you will come up a paved road. Take this paved road up (towards the water tank), as the trail continues along the right side of the road. Don’t worry, this road is closed off to traffic and is super a super short walking distance.

From this moment, I’m sorry to say, but it’s all going to be uphill from here!

It’s All Uphill From Here!

Although remember this a HikePhoenix’smoderate hike meaning that it’s not going to be “that be” a beginner hiker can do this – however it may be a bit difficult. If you need to stop and turn around, then do so and make this hiking trail a goal to work up to then! Remember to always Know Your Limits when hiking in Phoenix.

As you continue, you’ll see that this section after the road of Holbert Trail is kind of a bit of a canyon. (Not as big or grand as the Grand Canyon but a smaller South Mountain type of canyon.  As you’re hiking up, and look across from the gorge below, you’ll see the other side of Holbert directly across from you.

dirt trail on side of mountain with green shrubs and blue sky

After this hiking trail curves around the small canyon area, there are a few switchbacks leading the way higher and higher. After this section, the trail continues up as it heads towards the middle inner portion of South Mountain.

Hike to Dobbin’s Lookout

As you begin to near the top there is marker on the right side alerting hikers to take this route to hike up to Dobbins Lookout.

If you take this path (which I highly recommend that you do), you’ll have a few more short switchbacks that will lead you there.

Be prepared to run into other visitor’s who you may find at this spot as this is the main driving point locations.

It does have amazing views and benches to sit at and just gaze out at what you just hiked up.

light brown and beige stone hut ontop of mountain with city below; Dobbins Lookout Holbert trail South Mountain Phoenix, Arizona
Dobbins Lookout
blue sky with white clouds, stone hut known as Dobbins Lookout ontop South Mountain with view of Phoenix Arizona below

NOTE: Dobbins Lookout is NOT the end of Holbert Trail. It’s more like an awesome side bonus of the hiking trail!

Once you’ve had your fix up at Dobbins Lookout, come back down that path and then if you decide to proceed further onto Holbert, turn right onto the trail and continue. From this point on…all the hard parts are behind you. Although there are still some pretty good inclines sections but they have shorter distances.

As you continue along Holbert hiking trail, you’ll come up to another paved road. Be careful passing onto the other side, as this is the main road for traffic leading up to Dobbins Lookout (l). From here you’ll find yourself hiking right in the inner middle portion of South Mountain. Keep following the trail and you will get to the point where Holbert ends, right at National 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

Phoenix
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