Vertical Hiking Tours | Hike of the Day – South Mountain State Park // Desert Classic to Marco de Niza
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Hike of the Day – South Mountain State Park // Desert Classic to Marco de Niza


02 Apr Hike of the Day – South Mountain State Park // Desert Classic to Marco de Niza

Today we hiked on South Mountain Park again. We are actually going to hike every South Mountain Park trail before we move on to the next mountain. The trail we took today was the Desert Classic Trail to Beverly Canyon Trail to Marco de Niza Trail. This was a 2 mile moderate hike in South Mountain Parkwith some breathtaking views!

The one thing I liked about today’s hike was the progression. We started on the Desert Classic Trail and it was an easy walk at the base of the mountain. It was a relaxing warm up.

Once we got to the very first fork, we took an immediate right to merge on to a short section Beverly Canyon Trail.  We’ve hiked Beverly Canyon before from a different direction on South Mountain Park, but this section was an intermediate uphill stretch!

After we reached the top we ran into a swarm of bees! Read our full story about that experience here. Be careful when you are hiking in the Spring on South Mountain Park because bees are out in full force.  Having an experienced guide on your hikes is key to staying safe.

Once you reach the top that trail, it splits off into 3 directions. You can go left, right or right and up. We chose right and up to get on to Marco de Niza Trail.  Make sure you have good hiking shoes on! The climb to get to Marco de Niza is VERY steep and includes some scrambling.  If you are not comfortable with climbing you can go around Marcos de Niza or you can start this hike in reverse, which is less steep.

Once you get to Marcos de Niza, follow the trail back to the South Mountain Park parking lot.  Oh, and enjoy the views! The small climb to get to Marcos de Niza is well worth the climb.

Hike Statistics for Desert Classic to Marco de Niza on South Mountain Park

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Miles: 2 miles
  • Time: 1 to 2 hours
  • Elevation Change: 400 feet

Desert Classic Trail to Marco de Niza Trail Trail Guide

  1. Navigate to the Desert Classic Trailhead on Pima Canyon Road.
  2. Continue an easy walk on Desert Classic Trail.
  3. When you get to the first fork make a right at the fork to merge onto Beverly Canyon Trail. Continue on a stead climb up Beverly Canyon Trail.
  4. Take a right at the first fork in the trail and climb up the mountain/hill to the immediate right. It’s a steep climb up.
  5. Once you reach the top continue down Marco de Niza Trail until you reach the South Mountain Park parking lot.

Desert Classic Trail to Marco de Niza Trail Tips

  1. Wear good shoes. The climb to get to Marco de Niza is a steep climb.
  2. Pay attention once you reach the first fork on Desert Classic Trail. It is not clearly marked, nor is the Marco de Niza.
  3. This hike works well in reverse as well.

About Hike of The Day – South Mountain Park

One of our jobs here at Vertical Hiking Tours is to scout new hikes and locations. We do this for a number of reasons. First, to be able to provide our hiking guides with the support they need and to find new locations and hidden spots for our unique hikes.

6 days out of the week,  we head out on a hike in and around the Phoenix area. We love South Mountain Park and other locations. We have ran into a number of real life situations and seen some amazing views. Its an imperative part of our job as owners of VHT. Plus, our passion for hiking is what started this adventure in the first place.

Our “Hike of the Day” Column is our way of sharing our experiences and adventures with you.

Enjoy and Happy Hiking,

Tierra and Anderson Wilson
Co-Founders @ Vertical Hiking Tours

Vertical Hiking Tours LLC