Arizona Hiking Gallery
Bursera-National-Pyramid Loop Hike
South Mountain Park, Phoenix, AZ
February 11, 2017
Gallery contains 15 photos
Gallery last updated: 2/18/2017
This was an strenuous 10.7 mile hike in the Gila Mountain Range of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona, one of the three mountain ranges that make up the park. We did a clockwise loop using the Bursera, National and Pyramid Trails in the southwestern part of the park.
A crested California Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus seen along the Bursera Trail. Normally this cactus grows unbranched with a single column. It's fairly rare to see one with multiple heads.
A view from the Bursera Trail.
A view from the Bursera Trail looking back to the east at the "Pyramid" and the switchbacking Pyramid Trail. We will be descending the Pyramid Trail much later in the day near the end of our loop.
A view from the Bursera Trail looking to the west over the Gila River Valley to the Sierra Estrella Mountains.
Desert valley and ridges from the western end of the Bursera Trail.
There is quite a thriving population of California Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus, along western end of the National Trail.
Here you see the National Trail descending the western slopes of South Mountain Park. We are heading up the National Trail off to the left in this photo.
Fishhook Pincushion Cactus, Mammillaria grahamii, bearing its bright red fruit. This is also know as Arizona Fishhook Cactus.
A wonderfully red spined California Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus, in front of Goat Hill along the National Trail. The City of Phoenix is far below in the far background.
There is a small population of Littleleaf Elephant Trees, Bursera microphylla in South Mountain Park. It is said that South Mountain Park is the northeastern most limit of their natural range. It is highly adapted to the desert climate with its thickened water storing trunk.
Close up of the thickened trunk of the Littleleaf Elephant Tree, Bursera microphylla.
Fishhook Pincushion Cactus, Mammillaria grahamii, growing from small cracks in the rock.
Fishhook Pincushion Cactus, Mammillaria grahamii. Here you can see the long central dark reddish brown spines that are hooked at the end lending them the "fishhook" name.
A hillside covered with Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii), California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), and Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).
Ancient rock art or modern day re-creation?
All images Copyright ©2017 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.