At 2,104 feet and 2,149 feet in elevation respectively, North Mountain and Shaw Butte are landmark Phoenix peaks in their own right. This area offers more than summit climbs; an array of trails of all levels of difficulty offers something for everybody.
Around the turn of the century, the North Mountain area served as a campground for the Phoenix Indian School’s pupils and their families. There are a number of closed mining shafts and pits, evidence of the history of copper mining in Arizona.
Geology, flora and fauna
The major plant species found in the park are typical of those found in the lower Sonoran Desert and include bursage, brittlebush, creosote bush, palo verde trees and saguaro cactus. Overall, more than 300 species of plant life are found in the area. The varieties of cacti include: saguaro, barrel, hedgehog, pincushion, jumping cholla, christmas cactus, staghorn, cholla and prickly pear. Palo verde, mesquite, elephant and ironwood trees, along with the ocotillo plant, are also numerous in the park.
It is important to remember that the Phoenix mountain preserves are open, undeveloped desert areas. Please use care when heading out as hikers routinely encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert. If you encounter a rattlesnake, allow it space and time to escape.