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Fat Man's Pass via National Trail

South Mountain Park

Phoenix Metro Area, Arizona

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Fat Man's Pass via National Trail

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  • A hawk flies over South Mountain near the trailhead.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • View over the Wonder Rift to the Superstitions.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Some short sections of trail are steep and rocky.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Fat Man's Pass is fun for everyone!- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Cool boulders to explore all around Fat Man's Pass.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Take advantage of shade when you can find it.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • The view across the valley to Four Peaks in the Superstition Mountains.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Fat Man's Pass.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • When you reach this sign, turn right to find Fat Man's Pass.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Sun setting on the saguaros.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Saguaro detail.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • The saguaro forest is pretty dense up here.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
  • Downtown Phoenix seen from the start of the hike.- Fat Man's Pass via National Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Saguaro forest. Fun geology. Famiy friendly.
Cons: 
Little shade. Limited parking.
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Region:
Phoenix Metro Area, AZ
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
280.00 ft (85.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
3.60 mi (5.79 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,360.00 ft (719.33 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Fat Man's Pass is a fun little geological oddity. It's a tight squeeze between two large boulders. The passage is short, but getting through it is difficult for some. Other boulders and little caves make this a fun spot for kids to scramble around and explore. 

The hike along National Trail is pretty rewarding itself. It passes through a healthy saguaro forest growing among the many rocky outcrops atop South Mountain. It is nearly 2 miles from Buena Vista Trailhead to the junction of Hidden Valley Trail, where Fat Man's Pass is located, but the way is fairly easy. It follows rolling terrain with only a few rock stairs as obstacles. The pass isn't immediately visible from the main trail, but it is not hard to find. When you reach the signed junction with Hidden Valley, turn right and go down a little hill to find the boulders. 

The higher elevation generally makes this area breezier and more pleasant than down in the valley, but temperatures can still exceed 100 degrees. Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day and bring plenty of water. Also, always be sure to stay on the trail or on hard rock surfaces to avoid damaging the fragile cactus forest environment.

Note: Mountain bikers and horseback riders also use National Trail frequently, so take care and watch for other users. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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