Just a few miles south of my home is the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. I decided to check out the trails on a solo run at sunrise. I started early, while it was still frosty. I didn't see another soul for over an hour. Near the trailhead, on the west side, are a couple of graves of some old timers, they are well maintained and marked. A little further down the trail are some abandoned mines, that have been filled in for safety.
The climb up to the saddle in the first 1.5 miles was a bit of a hike, scrambling over boulders, and the steep, loose trail. I worked up a sweat in the dark. I was rewarded with a great view of the spectacular sunrise. From the saddle, the view is great. To the north is Gilbert, north east is the Superstition Mountains, south is the San Tan Park.
I decended the trail into the valley, and the rest of the park. There is a nice loop trail thru the valley. I stopped at the Visitors Center, it features an Arizona Memorial- also some nice bathrooms and a water fountain to refill my water bottle. The trails are marked and flat enough to run along. I saw a few quail, the only other wildlife I encountered was a couple of mountain bikers tearing thru the terrain and having a great time. The desert was green, with the cactus getting ready to bloom.
This is a great park to run in, I will definitely be back. Maybe I can convince my running club, East Valley Runners to come along next time.
Estimated mileage: 12+, calories burned: 2400.