Note: Unless otherwise specified in an activity’s description, there is no need to contact the leader to sign up for the activity – just show up on time at the designated meeting spot.

How are activities rated? View the Activity Rating Guide.

January Newsletter (PDF)
February Newsletter (PDF)

Embroidered club logo polo shirts are available in both men's and women's sizes. They may be purchased at club meetings and are offered at cost to members and non-members in a dazzling array of 14 color choices in both non-pilling 100% cotton ($29) and cotton/poly blend ($25). Club caps can also be ordered. The beautiful logo has been brilliantly reproduced in all its 12 colors in a classy style that will show your pride in our club.

If you have pictures from your activities, please contact our webmaster, Greg at to get them posted on the website!

Activities for March, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:15pm
Catherine Schuyler
Mark Miller

Join fellow AzOTC members for happy hour prior to our monthly meeting at the Granite Reef Senior Center.

Carlsbad Tavern is located at
3313 N. Hayden Road
On the east side of Hayden Road, just south of Osborn (across the street from Office Max).

No need to contact the hosts. Just show up.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 6:45pm

Granite Reef Senior Center
1700 N Granite Reef Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Located in Scottsdale on Granite Reef Road just north of McDowell Road.

Join AzOTC Member Dan Rothman for a discussion of the American Southwest’s slot canyons.

In Arizona and Utah, we’re lucky to have the greatest concentration and most famous slot canyons anywhere in the world. Dan will share with us how these dramatic and beautiful features are formed; their geology, hydrology and history; as well as the serious potential dangers of hiking within them. He’ll take you on a photo tour through Wire Pass, Buckskin Gulch – the world’s longest continuous slot canyon -- and the Upper Paria Canyon in southern Utah.

Learn about the 1997 flash flood which killed 11 hikers in nearby Antelope Canyon, Arizona, and how this tragedy could have been avoided.

Finally, we’ll discuss a possible upcoming club trip to hike Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon, and provide preliminary details.

Friday, March 3, 2017 to Sunday, March 5, 2017
B- to B+ LENGTH: 8-13 mi ELEV GAIN: <500 ft PACE: Medium
Dan Rothman -, 480-773-5197

Hiking the Grand Canyon in winter is a unique experience. The crowds and temperatures are down, while the scenery is up, especially if there’s snow - which is very common (though not guaranteed) during the first week of March.

We’ll take the shuttle to Hermit’s Rest on Saturday morning and hike eastward along the Rim Trail toward the Kaibab Trailhead. The Trail passes along the edge of the Canyon, with spectacular views down into the gorge and, in some places, all the way to the Colorado River a mile below. The distance from Hermit’s Rest to Kaibab is 13 miles. Those wishing to shorten the hike may do so by stopping at the South Rim Village (8 miles), where we’ll be staying, or at any of the shuttle bus stops between Hermit’s Rest and the Village.

We’ll be driving up on Friday morning/afternoon and checking out on Sunday morning. We have six (6) rooms (2 queen beds each) reserved at Maswick South Lodge, so the group size is limited to 12 persons on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Email or call the leader to sign up and to indicate whether you prefer to carpool or drive yourself. The cost for two nights double occupancy is $97 per person. Additional costs, on your own, include food, driving costs and park entry fee if applicable.

This event is currently full. Call leader to be placed on waiting list.

Members only.

Saturday, March 4, 2017 - 7:30am
C+ LENGTH: 6.5 mi ELEV GAIN: 500 ft PACE: Medium
Bev - 480 415-7147,

Meet at 7:30 am (depart 7:45) at the Park-and-Ride on the south side of Bell Rd., just west of I-17.

Our hike, in the Cave Creek Recreation Area, combines the two most popular trails in the park and starts out relatively flat before climbing and descending over a few small passes. We will actually be hiking the ridgeline around the tallest peak in the park that stands at 3,060 feet. At around the 5 mile point, we will intersect with the Clay Mine Trail that we can take as an optional add on - which will add approximately 1.5 miles to our hike and ends at an abandoned mine. If our timing is good, we will see some spring flowers.

Wear sturdy hiking boots, bring your cameras, a minimum of 2 quarts of water, snacks, and wear either a hat/visor, and lather up with sunscreen! There is a $6 per vehicle entry fee for the park.

Cost to non-members is $5. Only guests and new members need to contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

Sunday, March 5, 2017
B+ LENGTH: 7.3 mi ELEV GAIN: 2100 ft PACE: Medium
Bud Tasch -

Contact hike leader for meetup details.

Retrace the steps of the brave 19 young men who faced down a firestorm as they tried to save the town of Yarnell in Arizona's newest State Park to commemorate that fateful day in June, 2013. The hike has no shade or much vegetation as it traverses a burn area. Nineteen granite placards line the route to memorialize each fallen firefighter. Say a prayer or otherwise pay your respects at their Alamo.

We'll toast their memory afterwards at El Ranchero in Wickenburg.

Because of limited trailhead parking, the group size is limited to 12 persons; so please RSVP to Bud at the above email address.

Hike will be cancelled in case of rain.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 7:30am
B- LENGTH: 8 mi ELEV. GAIN: <1000 ft PACE: Medium
Dan Rothman -, 480-773-5197
Yvonne Joyner -, 602-595-7868

Meet at 7:30 am (depart 7:45) at the Holiday Inn east side parking area, just south of US 60 on Country Club Dr. in Mesa.

We’ll hike eastward from the Peralta Trailhead along the foot of the Superstition Mountains, passing Barks Canyon and Miners Needle before picking up and continuing eastward on the Coffee Flat Trail. This route affords great views of many spectacular rock formations in the Superstitions, and is also frequently home to beautiful spring wildflowers. So bring your cameras.

Our pace will be medium (around 2.5 mph) on these fairly flat trails, but we’ll be making regular stops along the way for photographs on our out-and-back hike. No children or dogs please.

Cost to non-members is $5. Only guests and new members need to contact the hike leaders prior to the hike.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Bud and Bonnie Tasch

LOCATION: Stats Sports Grill (860 North Riverview, Mesa)

Hooray! Spring Training has started! The Cubs have a day off so we'll play. Bud will have extra mitts and balls for a game of catch on the lawn in front of the hotel, adjacent to Sloan Park, winter home of the Cubs. Rookies are welcome but subject to hazing. Everyone is encouraged to wear your team's colors.

Afterwards we'll walk over to Stats Sports Grill for happy hour including $2 Old Style beer, other beverages and appetizers ranging from to $3-$6. Chicago dogs are also available.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 7:45am
B+ LENGTH: 10 mi ELEV GAIN: 2250 ft PACE: Medium
Grace Chen - 480-767-1727,

Meet at 7:45 am (depart 8:00) at Wendy’s in Fountain Hills on Shea Blvd., just west of the Beeline Highway OR meet us at the Golden Eagle Trailhead in Fountain Hills at 8:15.

Join Grace on her annual fitness test and sanity check? The first part of the trail (going to Dixie Mine) is relatively flat. After reaching the mine, we'll begin our ascent straight up the mountain. This is the “bun burner” portion of the hike. The last two miles are extremely steep, as the road builders decided to charge directly up the mountain - and you will feel it! Views from the top of Thompson Peak are of the entire Phoenix metro area, south to the Catalinas, east to the Superstitions, and north to the Mazatzals.

Hiking poles are highly recommended to save the knees. Bring snacks, water, and layer your clothing, as it could be very windy and cold on the top. Bring money for entrance fee at trailhead.

Cost to non-members is $5. Only guests and new members need to contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

Friday, March 10, 2017
B LENGTH: 8 mi ELEV GAIN: 800 ft PACE: Medium
Susan Sands -
Bev - 480-415-7147,

Call or email either leader for meeting time and location.

The Pass Mountain Trail is a great loop hike in the Northeast Valley. For those of you not familiar with it, it is located in Usery Mountain Park. The trail is rather rocky in spots, and there is one steep climb that will get your heart pumping! March should be the peak of spring flowers, and typically in a good flower year the east side of the mountain is a beautiful sea of color, so bring your cameras/smartphones. If we are lucky, we will also see some wildlife that is typical for that area - we spotted wild horses and a gila monster in the last couple of months.

Wear sturdy hiking boots and bring a minimum of 2 quarts of water and salty snacks. Hiking sticks are helpful due to the rocky terrain.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 7:15am
B LENGTH: 11 mi ELEV GAIN: 2000 ft PACE: Medium
Victoria Johnson -

Meet at 7:15 am (depart at 7:30) at the Denny’s in Fountain Hills (SE corner of Shea and Saguaro Blvd.).

Join us on this hike as it climbs into Barnhardt Canyon past a series of switchbacks along Castersen Seep and Sandy Saddle. Dana Downs, a professional geologist will be discussing the folding mechanisms of the metamorphic rocks along the trail. This hike is located in the Mazatzal Mountains starting in alligator juniper, live oak and agave, followed with ponderosa pine in areas at 6,500 feet and higher. Geology fans will enjoy the layers of sedimentary rock which can be seen from the trail. Depending on the amount of rainfall, the hike has the potential of showing waterfalls.

Optional early dinner afterwards in Scottsdale.

Bring plenty of water, lunch, sunscreen, a hat, and wear sturdy hiking boots. Cost to non-members is $5.

Only guests and new members need to contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 8:00am
B Length: 20+ miles Pace:12-14 MPH
David Thompson -, 201-315-3530
Dan Rothman -, 480-773-5197

Meet at the Indian School Park and Tennis Center, on the NE corner of Indian School and Hayden Roads in Scottsdale at 8am, depart at 815am.

We'll ride north on Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt bicycle path past Shea Blvd. North of Shea Blvd we will pick up a series of bicycle paths to Horizon Park near Thompson Peak Parkway and N 100th St in Scottsdale. After a break at Horizon Park, we will turn around and ride back to our starting point.

Bring 1-2 liters of water, cost to nonmembers is $5. Helmets required. Ride will be cancelled in case of rain.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 6:30am
A- LENGTH: 11 mi ELEV GAIN: 2800 ft PACE: Medium
Bud Tasch -, 303-868-0216

Meet at 6:30 am (depart 6:45) in Mesa. Contact leader for meetup location.

Bring water shoes and hiking poles, which may be needed for crossing Workman Creek. Bring plenty of water for this great Lenten hike as we trek into hell and back. After a rather long drive and strenuous hike through a nice pine forest, we will have a lunch stop at a particularly dramatic section along Workman Creek with pools and slick rock. Be prepared to do your penance on the switchbacks for the hike out.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
This activity has been changed.
B LENGTH: ~12 mi ELEV GAIN: 1000 ft PACE: Fast
Barbara Weist -, 480-529- 4142
Dennis Weist -, 480-251- 5965

Contact one of the hike leaders for meetup time. The meeting location will be at the Tom's Thumb Trailhead (north side) located on the south of Dynamite Road at 23015 N 128th Street. If you need help with directions, contact either leader or visit the McDowell Sonoran Preserve website ( and click on “Trailhead Locations”.

This hike was rained out on Feb. 28th.

This is a lovely hike that starts and ends at Tom's Thumb via Rock Knob Trail and enters the McDowell Regional Park on the Tonto Trail and continues on the Pemberton Trail, returning via Marcus Landslide. The easy downhill into the Regional Park gives excellent views of gorgeous desert landscape and wonderful rock formations. This hike feels like you've really gotten away from the city. The gradual uphill back to the trailhead is enough of a workout to be glad you got on the trail.

Bring plenty of water, electrolytes and snacks. there are facilities, but no potable water at the trailhead. Parks require all dogs be leashed. Fee to enter McDowell Mt. Regional Park is $2 per person or carload unless you have a yearly regional park pass.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 8:30am
This activity has been changed.
C LENGTH: 5 mi ELEV GAIN: 1100 ft PACE: Medium
Deirdre - 602-793- 5077,

Meet at 8:30 am (depart at 8:45) at 800 E. Mineral Road in Phoenix. Drive south of Baseline Rd. on 7th St until you dead end at the park. Go left at the roundabout and park near the large water tank. The trail starts to the west (right) of the water tank and the entry to Mystery Castle is east (left) of the tank.

Before it gets too hot, let’s hike the rocky but good Holbert Trail to the top of South Mountain and back, then let’s take a 1 hour tour of nearby Mystery Castle when it opens at 11:00 a.m.

Built by Seattle based Boyce Gully at his daughter’s request to build “a big and strong castle . . . on the desert where there is no water” to wash it away, Mystery Castle, built of native stone, has 18 rooms, 13 fireplaces, parapets and many charming nooks and crannies. Boyce died in 1945 before he could
send for his family, but his daughter, Mary Lou, as an adult, lived in her castle until her own death in 2010. The castle is said to have many interesting works of art and furniture.

If there’s enough interest, we’ll have lunch after the tour at nearby Los Dos Molinos.

Bring water, a hat, poles if desired, and wear sturdy hiking boots.

Cost to non-members is $5. Only guests and new members should contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

Tour cost is $10 per person.

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 7:00am
B to C LENGTH: 5-9 miles ELEV GAIN: <500 ft PACE: Slow
Mark Miller -, 623-640-5375
Nancy Spence -, 480-357-0996

Carpool location, Holiday Inn at Country Club Dr and US 60 on the Southwest Corner,meeting at 7 AM leaving at 7:15

This is the kick-off for our new club volunteer project,and we'd like to have as many of you hikers as possible to get it started with a bang. We'll be trimming brush on the Black Mesa Trail in the Superstitions, where we often hike.

The trail originates two miles miles from First Water Trailhead and extends for three miles. We'll be trimming brush and cacti back from the trail using tools provided by the forest service. The event will start at 8am at First Water Trailhead, where there will be an orientation and sign in.

From there we will divide into several groups based on desired hiking length (5 to 9 miles) and hike to Black Mesa Trail, where we will begin the trail maintenance. We'll return to First Water by 2pm for sign-out, and to enjoy a lunch of sandwiches and drinks provided by the club.

Some things you will need to work in: long sleeve shirt, long pants, sturdy gloves and a hat. Also bring water and snacks to enjoy while working.

To sign up for this event please contact either:
Mark Miller at 623-640-5375 or
Nancy Spence 480-3570996

Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 8:00am
C- LENGTH: 5.1 mi ELEV GAIN: 200 ft PACE: Slow
Jon K - 602-237-3138
Larry -, 602-789-9548

Meet at 8:00 am (depart at 8:15) at 35th Ave. and Carver Rd., SE corner. Carver is approx. 1 mile south of Dobbins Rd. and at the edge of South Mountain Park.

This is a casual hike traversing the scenic northwest area of South Mountain Park. This in-and-out trail is well maintained. Excellent views of the Sierra Estrellas, Gila River Indian Community, and Laveen. We begin with a gradual ascent. The trail meanders over to a Bajada at the San Juan Ramada. From this 1930s stone WPA structure we continue southeast to the intersection of the National & Bajada Trails, our point of turnaround.

No need to call Leaders to sign up, just show at the appointed time. Bring sunscreen, hat, boots, 2 liters of H2O, non-slip hiking shoes, snacks, and a cheerful attitude.

Possible stop afterwards at Ponchos Mexican Restaurant on S. Central Ave. for libations and lunch.

Cost to non-members is $5 and connect with one of the hike leaders before the hike. If rain is imminent, call Leader Jon at 602-237-3138.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
B LENGTH: 20-22 miles PACE: 12-14 MPH
Bev - 480 415-7147,
Patty - 602 620-7406

Call or email either leader for meeting time and place.

We will begin our ride in Chandler, riding through quiet neighborhoods towards the Consolidated Canal that heads in a southern direction from Chandler through Gilbert. We'll travel along the canal for the remainder of our ride - past a golf course, an airport, a park, and some farmland.

Ride will be cancelled in case of high winds or rain.

Bring water! Helmets required.

Cost to non-members is $5

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
A- LENGTH: 9 mi ELEV GAIN: 2600 ft PACE: Medium
David Thompson -, 201-315-3530

Email or call leader for meetup details.

This is a mostly off-trail hike to the 2 highest peaks in the Goldfield Mountains. Dome Mountain is a named peak at 3,381 ft and Panorama Peak is an unofficial name at 3,325 ft. As in any off-trail hike the pace will vary during the day. Stops will be infrequent and short.

Bring plenty of water (2 liters minimum), snacks, and $ for ride sharing. No children or dogs.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Thursday, March 23, 2017
This activity has been changed.
B LENGTH: 10 mi ELEV GAIN: 900 ft PACE: Fast
Barbara Weist -, 480-529-4142
Nancy Anderson -, 651-983-1689

Contact one of the hike leaders for meetup time to make sure this is the right hike for you. We will meet either at Four Peaks Staging area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park (turn right shortly after the entrance gate to the Four Peaks Staging Area), or, for carpooling, the west end of the Fountain Hills Safeway on Palisades and Fountain Hills Blvd. Contact hike leaders if you need further directions.

The Escondido is a lovely, gentle trail that heads north. We will turn it into a loop hike by connecting up with the Pemberton and Scenic Trails through the Lousley Hills and back on Cinch Trail. The ups and downs are relatively easy, with unobstructed views of Four Peaks and the Verde River. If the timing is right, we may see some gorgeous wildflowers.

Bring plenty of water, electrolytes and snacks. There is no potable water at the trailhead. If you don't have a Regional Park Annual Pass, which is good per carload, the cost is $2 per person. The Park requires dogs to be on a leash.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Jim D -, 602-639-2702
Bev -, 480-415-7147

Email one of the leaders for the Canyon Lake meeting time and location. We'll email you a map of the lake showing the meeting place and our destinations. You'll be contacted in the improbable event of high wind or rain. Also be sure to check your email the night before the paddle trip in case of cancellation.

Bring a kayak, paddle, drinking water, snack, hat, sun lotion, and you must wear a lifejacket. Required pass options: America the Beautiful (includes the Senior Pass), Discovery Pass, or Tonto Forest Daily Pass.

To help avoid motor boat traffic, we'll mostly stay on the side of the lake and paddle up 2 of these 3 coves - First Water Creek, Boulder Creek, and Tortilla Creek. Expect great scenery and maybe see some wildlife. Assuming the wind won't be a factor, this should be a fairly easy paddle and will take approx. 2.5 hours. We'll need to stay together as a group, but we will stop to enjoy nature's beauty at the best locations.

Optional lunch at the marina afterwards.

Cost to non-members is $5.

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 7:30am
B LENGTH: 8-10 mi ELEV GAIN: ~1500 ft PACE: Medium
Grace - 480-767-1727,
Don - 480-209-7963,

Meet at 7:30 am (depart at 7:45) at Wendy's on Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills, just west of the Beeline Highway (Highway 87).

The trailhead is off the Beeline Highway, seven miles north of the road to Four Peaks. We'll start on the Pine Creek Loop Trail and then take the Ballantine Trail past a corral to Boulder Flats, where the landscape is dotted with large boulders. We’re bound to see many beautiful flowers on this hike as well as an abundance of healthy saguaros.

Weather conditions will dictate whether we can hike.

Bring sunscreen, hat, boots, adequate water, snacks, and light lunch.

Cost to non-members is $5. Only guests and new members need to contact the hike leader prior to the hike.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
A+ LENGTH: 16 mi ELEV GAIN: 4500 ft PACE: Medium
Dan Rothman -, 480-773-5197

Email or call the leader for meetup details and to make sure this is the right hike for you. It’s long and strenuous.

Rincon Peak is one of the major summits in the Tucson area, but also one of the least hiked. The route to the summit passes through chaparral, riparian and alpine areas, with beautiful views along the way. The trail is in excellent condition, though rocky in places and quite steep in the final half mile. The summit itself (8,482 feet) is a treat, consisting of a rocky knob with uninhibited 360-degree views of Tucson, Mt. Lemmon, Happy Valley and Mt. Wrightson.

Because of the length and difficulty of the hike, and because the trailhead is an hour’s drive beyond Tucson, most of us will drive down the afternoon or evening before and stay in one of the many motels located near the Tucson International Airport. We’ll meet at one of these motels early on Tuesday morning, proceed to the trailhead, and then after the hike either stay another night in Tucson or else return to Phoenix.

This hike is for members only.

Thursday, March 30, 2017
A- LENGTH: 10.4 mi ELEV GAIN: 2600 ft PACE: Medium
Bud Tasch -, 303-868-0216

Contact the leader to RSVP for this hike and for meeting time and location.

Although planned as a day trip, overnight lodging is possible, but not included.

This beautiful, cool hike through the pines and Wilderness of Rocks on Mt. Lemmon is reminiscent of the Heart of Rocks Trail in the Chiricahuas. Fantastic rock formations abound with a flowing stream.

An optional dinner stop is planned at Bud's favorite Mexican restaurant, Nana's Kitchen.

Cost to non-members is $5.