Saguaro National Park, Arizona January 2023
First trip of the New Year! After some chill holidays and a quick trip to Charleston SC, we were itching to get somewhere (preferable warmer than Philadelphia again) and hike some hills! The weather somewhat cooperated with us in Phoenix- we got one beautiful sunny 70 degree day, followed by a cloudy mid-50s day, but for January I will take it!
We flew in Friday night, checked into our super cute casita Airbnb in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood (well more in between Phoenix and Scottsdale), and caught some zzz's
Saturday: Grabbed a quick breakfast at NY bagels (pretty good grub) and headed to Saguaro NP. The ride from our place to the park was super easy- about 1 hr 45 mins. We took the late morning/afternoon to hike the Wassen Peak Loop trail via King Canyon and Hugh Norris. Small parking lot at the trailhead- 8 Miles, 3 hr 15mins, counter clockwise. An exposed trail with a gradual incline of 1800ft in elevation to the peak for some really nice views. Oh, lots of cacti too!
After we stopped on our way out of the park at the Red Hills visitor center (just 5 mins from the trailhead), grabbed a souvenir/bathroom stop, and headed back to Phoenix for lunch. We stopped at Chestnut Provisions a few minutes down the road from our airbnb- pretty decent lunch/coffee spot, then took advantage of the hot tub at our casita. We had dinner at Beckett's table- which was about a 45 min walk from our spot. Phoenix- great for walking, however no one does it. But we did it. Beckett's table was my favorite meal of the trip- this place was great, really nice dinner/cocktails/atmosphere. After dinner we headed across the street to Crumbl cookies for some dessert and headed home.
Sunday: We woke up to rain unfortunately, so headed to breakfast hoping it would let up later (spoiler alert, it did!). Hash kitchen Arcadia was just down the road from us, but not really the scene I was ready for at 7am on a Sunday hiking trip. This place caters to more the party brunch crowd- make your own bloody station, unlimited mimosas, a DJ that started at 9am. Food was meh- obviously people aren't going there for the cuisine but more the scene. It was poppin when we finished at 8:30am! After our brunch we drove about 50mins to the Superstitious Mountains to the Lost Gold Mine trailhead. Also had a parking lot, some porta pots, a good set up. We started with the Hydroglyphic trail, took us up a gradual incline about 500ft to a waterfall at the end (nothing spectacular, other than being a small waterfall in the desert), 3 miles up and back- 1 hr. I think I saw some hydroglyphics- they weren't spectacular. From the same beginning trailhead we then did the Lost Gold Mine to Cougar Loop trail- which was more rolling hills, exposed, 4 miles, 1hr 45mins. We did see some Longhorns literally on our trail- big guys! From there we headed back for our hot tub routine at the casita. Dinner that night was at Doughbird- and it's a pass from me. It could have been something great- pizza and rotisserie chicken- a winning combo! But the pizza was just ok, the chicken and hummus were good, the brussel sprouts were lackluster, and the service sucked. We were kind of rushed out by the server and weren't able to order dessert (which I was really looking forward to), so on the walk home we stopped by a DQ for a blizzard.
Super quick trip and loved exploring Saguaro. Tucson, Phoenix and Scottsdale are all great towns to stay in when visiting this park- all have tons of other hikes to enjoy outside the NP as well and usually have really nice weather in the winter!