I continued my quest to hike every foot of charted trail on South Mountain by hiking a portion of Desert Classic Trail with my 12 year-old daughter on Christmas Eve morning in 2013. She had recently hiked it with her 7th grade class, so I asked her to lead the way.
The highlight of the hike was a rest stop on the notorious helicopter pad, which is the highest point on the trail. We walked the perimeter of the helipad and admired the views of million dollar homes, mountains, and clear blue skies. We could even see my daughter’s school where we parked the car.
Desert Classic is appropriately named since it offers a great variety of desert terrain and plant life in a relatively short distance. I found the vegetation to be more noticeably dense and diverse than on many of the trails of South Mountain.
- Trail: Desert Classic
- Length: 3.5 miles round-trip*
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Elevation gain: 100 ft.*
- Difficulty: moderate
*Rough estimates. I don’t do GPS.
Check out the pictures and captions below for more insights. Click on pics to expand. One of these days, I’ll add highlighted maps showing the exact trail(s) I hiked.
The relatively lush plant life makes this trail unique.
Never know who you might run into on the trail. It was Christmas Eve afterall.
The helicopter pad at the highest point on the Desert Classic Trail offers spectacular views..
Posing for a selfie with my daughter Caymen. She led the way on this hike.
View from the helipad. The notch in the mountains is Telegraph Pass as viewed from the southeast.
Nice little starter castle down the hill from the helipad.
Altadena Middle School, with the white roof, is a great place to park for this hike. You’ll find the trailhead across Desert Foothills Pkwy and up the hill about a block.
Great view of the Estrella Mountain range that runs along the western edge of Gila River Indian Community.
Notice the green foliage that resulted from recent winter rains.
My daughter Caymen leading us to the helipad.
You can see the notorious transmission towers atop South Mountain in the distance.
Not far after this photo was taken the mountain bikers dismounted as the trail got too steep to ride up.
Desert Classic Trail is well-traveled by a variety of users.
Entrance to the segement of the trail that we hiked.