Shaw Butte Vista

Shaw Butte Vista

Shaw Butte is one of the northernmost summits in the Phoenix Mountains. The four-mile scenic loop trail starts at an elevation of 1,390 feet and ascends Shaw Butte to an elevation of 2,149 feet. It climbs a rugged service road to Shaw Butte which is crowned by clusters of towers and antennas. Along the way barrel cacti, a few saguaros, and scattered paloverde trees grow among the basalt boulders. After hiking to the top of Shaw Butte, we bushwhacked our way to the continuation of the trail around the Butte. In the future we will save time and effort by simply backtracking to catch the trail. It was surprising to see the concrete remains of the Cloud Nine Restaurant which burned down in November 1964. I have since learned that this unusual location for a restaurant opened in 1961 and shuttled patrons up the mountain for dramatic views of Phoenix. As we continued descending the rocky switchbacks down the steep flank of the mountain, we observed first one and then a second para-glider enjoying the windy day. As we neared the parking lot, we passed a flood control retention levee. While this hike is recommended in Stewart M. Green’s The Best Easy Day Hikes Phoenix, the City of Phoenix web site rates it as a moderate to difficult hike.

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