Hike | Mormon Loop to Fat Man's Pass | South Mountain
Mormon Trail to Fat Man's Pass is easily one of my favorite hikes. The trail is easy to follow, the destination is great and like most South Mountain Park Trails, it's the perfect balance between a workout and killer views. As a matter of fact, this is one of the trails I took when I first started hiking before I knew what other gems Arizona has to offer. Maybe my love for Mormon Trail is biased? Either way, if you're in the Phoenix area and do not want to go too far for a great hike or you're just now getting into hiking, add this trail to your list.
- Length: 3.8 miles round trip
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Gain/ Loss: +958 ft
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Dog-Friendly: Yes
Mormon Trail starts off with an immediate incline. I would like to think you're ripping the band-aid off straight away. During this incline, you will undoubtedly notice the large boulders in the middle of the trail- just watch your step as these appear in several spots. Along the way, you will see several views of the city of Phoenix. These are some of the best views in my opinion! They're especially nice around sunset and sunrise. The viewpoints are the perfect spots to take small breaks or take in the city. It has a way of making you feel so small!
The viewpoints continue as you ascend the multiple switchbacks on this trail. There are several signs along the way that show hikers the remaining distance between the sign and a new destination. When you come to the Hidden Valley, Mormon Trail Junction, continue to take Mormon Trail. You'll pass through a small valley area where the scenery completely changes as the trail looks more like sand. Most South Mountain Park hiking trails are shared with Mountain Bikers, so be on the lookout as you continue on your hike.
From here, Fat Man's Pass is about .5 miles away. As you continue to follow the signs for Mormon Trail, you will eventually come across a sign that point's out Fat Man's Pass on the left. It's easy to miss, but with this being a popular trail, you'll most likely see other hikers around this spot. The Pass itself is quite the squeeze! Don't worry, though, it is big enough for most adults to fit through. Once through the pass, you'll be able to enjoy some shade and a quiet rest spot. Some folks use the larger rock on the right side of the pass as a rock slide, which you can do too!
From Fat Man's Pass, you can begin the hike back to the trailhead, or continue through Hidden Valley (if you have done your research and know where to go). The next time you're in the Phoenix city limits, get out and try this hike!