Hike National Trail on South Mountain

Every long trail hike needs good food, right? Right. So I’m going to start this post off with the BEST, easiest homemade granola bar ever!

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 mashed banana
1/4 cup homemade peanut butter (or all natural peanut butter, no sugar, no additives)

Plop those all in a bowl, mash it all together and voila! You have the base to your homemade granola bar. It will actually make two smaller ones. Then, you can add whatever else you want, the one pictured below has some dried cherries, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds. Just roll it and shape it with wax paper and wrap it up in that same paper. We put ours in the fridge overnight and then carried a small cooler bag in Mr. Zucchini Runner’s backpack to keep it solid and not a mess. They were divine on the trail!


Now that food is out of the way, the main point of this post! We got a 6 a.m. start since the high was forecast for 78 degrees. I wanted to walk backwards to see the sun coming up… but that’s not very safe… πŸ˜‰


A view of the valley from afar… IMG_1391 This was the first time I’ve been on National Trail, this far in… which isn’t very far… I’ve just always turned or done loops. There are so many trails at South Mountain Preserve. We were about 2 miles in here. That’s our friend Heather, who invited us on this hike in the first place – thanks for the invite and great idea Heather!! πŸ™‚ IMG_1396 Then we got to Hidden Valley, it was fun and felt like we were suddenly transported to a different state… or at the very least Northern AZ! If we would have stayed on National Trail, and not gone down into Hidden Valley we never would have seen all these cool rocks!

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At this point, it might be helpful to show you the aerial view of what we hiked. We started at the green, and finished at the red. It was a total of ~15 miles. Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.19.56 PM


Here’s the elevation profile, it was a pretty easy hike. I would say moderate if you are not used to hiking this distance or hiking in general! It took us about 5 hours.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 6.26.57 PM

After seeing some beautiful views, and hiking along merrily for a good clip, we were starting to get hungry. πŸ™‚

IMG_1417 IMG_1418 We made it to about the half way point, before we stopped to eat. Heather’s right hand is where we started, left is where we currently were, and Mr. Zucchini Runner’s hand is where we were going to end. IMG_1420

Mmmmmm homemade trail bars. πŸ™‚ Thank you Tony Horton for the amazing idea. Never mind what it looks like, it tastes great! πŸ˜€ IMG_1421

Especially with the extra toppings on the outside. IMG_1424



A view of Ahwatukee…



A geology sample in the rocks along the way…


Enjoy the photos from our hike down the other side!IMG_1438 IMG_1436


Thanks to Facebook we found out later that day, this little guy is called a Blister Beetle. Ew.IMG_1442

IMG_1480 IMG_1441 IMG_1439

Out of the frame, is Heather getting some rocks out of her shoe! It is a rocky trail!! Down in that valley is San Juan Road, which is awesome for road running!IMG_1444IMG_1451

Down at the base of the mountain — all flat!IMG_1447



All done! Heather’s boyfriend picked us up at the end. NOTE: If you ever do this hike, be sure to go when San Juan Road is open to cars, which is currently only the first weekend of every month.Β IMG_1452Once home, I couldn’t WAIT to shower! Trekking for 6 hours through the dusty desert makes you feel pretty grimy!



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7 Responses to Hike National Trail on South Mountain

  1. The Silent Assassin says:

    Nice tan! I so wanna do this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. The granola bars look great! I’m assuming they would work with almond butter too!!
    I haven’t hiked South Mountain because it’s so far from my house, but I would definitely consider hiking now that I saw your pictures!! πŸ™‚

    • Yes! You could use any nut butter, very versatile recipe. πŸ™‚ I’ve lived so close for 10 years and this was my first time all the way in!! On foot at least. Lol

  3. Kristin says:

    Your homemade bars look like the perfect hiking snack! It’s really cool to see how different your hiking landscape is from mine in the NorthEast. Not a lot of dust around here… still snow on our mountains in New Hampshire!

  4. Celeste says:

    Love that homemade granola bar! So easy too! Celeste πŸ™‚