Union Peak

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 1954 - 2252 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Desert Vista
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic view

The Union Peak trail is located in the southern section of the Sonoran Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona. Beginning off of the Great Horned Owl Loop it follows a steep route that leads up to the summit of Union Peak. As the highest point in the Sonoran Preserve it is the only peak that has a summit registry. Note: There are some that claim that Dixie Peak is higher although we were unable to find any maps that supported it and our own GPS showed otherwise. Allowing for a +/-75ft. degree of precision in altitude for most GPS devices might be enough to leave room to argue.

The Desert Vista trailhead is located at 1900 West Desert Vista Trail. There are restrooms and water available at the trailhead.

The spot where the Union Peak trail branches off of the Great Horned Owl Loop is 2.5 miles from the Desert Vista trailhead.

As the trail starts out it immediately begins climbing the northwest shoulder of the mountain.

Several tight switchbacks aid in the climb to the top.

There are still a few spots though that are pretty steep.

The trail levels off as it reaches the ridge. On the left of the trail previous hikers have erected a number of cairns or 'prayer stones'.

The trek along the ridge to the summit is a pleasant affair with views of the surrounding area on both sides.

Alas, the summit isn't actually the end of the trail. From the highpoint of the ridge the trail makes a dip and keeps going to the furthest point overlooking the valley below.

A trail register can be found next to the end of the trail marker for anyone that feels the need to record their achievement.

Peering through the haze you can spot Piestewa Peak and its neighbors way off in the distance.

We had ridden our mountain bikes up to this point from the trailhead but we stashed them near the Great Horned Owl trail and hiked our way up Union Peak. We would have had to hike our bikes up most of it anyway if we would have tried to ride it. Measuring from the trailhead Union Peak will end up being 5.8 miles round trip. We ended up continuing on around the mountain on the Great Horned Owl Loop so for us it ended up being a few miles longer. Hiking up Union Peak will be well worth the effort, especially for those that are compelled to leave no mountain unconquered. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.