South Mountain Reserve sees a lot of use due to it's proximity to the metro Phoenix area. At times it can be hard to find a secluded trail, but there are a few that exists. The Geronimo Trail is located on the North side of the park and provides a heart pumping route to the Buena Vista Lookout. The route includes secluded steep climbs, quite canyons, and grand views of downtown Phoenix all neatly packaged in a 2.5 mile trail.
Mileage- 5 Miles Roundtrip
Elevation Gain- 1041ft AEG
Use- Hikers/Horses/Downhill MTB
Map- Green Trails Maps South Mountain Preserve
Directions- From Baseline Road travel South to on 20th Street. Just past the mini roundabout at Euclid Ave you will see a small pullout on the East side of the road. This is very easy to miss as there is only enough room for 2-3 cars. If you end up heading West on Dobbins Road you have gone to far. The trailhead is market with a small City of Phoenix trail sign.
From the pullout the trail begins between the Boy Scouts facility fence and the neighborhood. The beginning of the trail makes you feel as though you are on a non designated trail, especially since you are practically walking through the backyards of these homes. After a short distance the trail makes a sharp right to follow the fence. After traveling the same distance the trail takes another right hand turn at the base of the mountain. The turn is not as obvious as the previous turn, but keep your eyes open and you should see it. From this point the trail immediately begins climbing up the side of the mountain. There are a series of steep switchbacks but mostly the trail just shoots straight up. The trail is easy to follow as there are not a lot o options. After the short steep climb the trail follows a short wash with a mild incline before beginning another short climb. After this climb you drop into a secluded valley and follow a path West towards another intersection. Make sure to pause in this area as you can often hear/see wildlife. After 1.3 miles the trail makes it's way to a 'T' intersection. You will want to go South at the 'T'. If you follow the trail to the North it will eventually drop you into the Boy Scout camp. From the 'T' intersection the trail begins a steady climb with long switchbacks. Views of downtown Phoenix are plentiful as you make your way up. After 1.2 miles from the 'T' intersection the trails ends at the Buena Vista Lookout. There is a bench at the top for you to enjoy the view of downtown.
If looking to extend your route you can connect with the National Trail as well as Corona de Loma Trail.