Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
615.00 ft (187.45 m)
Trail type
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Ridgeback Overlook Summit in the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve is a five-mile loop trail that offers hikers beautiful views of the surrounding preserve.  The trail begins at the Apache Wash Trailhead where hikers can fill up on water and use the restroom.  This trailhead has plenty of parking and is a mutli-use trail for hikers and mountain bikers.

This trail can be completed either clockwise or counter clockwise.  Hikers going counter clockwise will start out on the sidewinder trail.  This will take them around the Apache Vista summit at a moderate incline.  Hikers will enjoy unobstructed views of the east.  Hikers will continue to the trail junction for Apache Vista at Mile 1.1.  Hikers can choose to summit and will add roughly 0.7 miles to the trail. 

After the junction, hikers will descend into a small valley and continue along the Sidewinder Trail.  The trail has a continuum of elevation over the next three miles, gradually ascending and descending.  The trail will pass several junctions for connector trails and at Mile 2.6 hikers will make a left turn onto the Ridgeback Trail where the trail will ascend to the Ridgeback Overlook Summit.  There is one major switchback and several smaller ones which will be the bulk of the elevation over the half mile before the summit. 

Once hikers reach the summit, they will continue towards the Ocotillo Trail where they will experience the greatest descent of the hiker.  Hikers will meet the Ocotillo trail where they will make a left turn at the junction which will lead hikers back to the trailhead.  The last portion of this hike on the Ocotillo trail has minimal elevation gain and loss.

Hikers will experience an array of different views as they meander throughout the preserve; they should keep their eyes peeled for desert wildlife and enjoy the flora that the desert has to offer.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenic views.


No shade. A lot of mountain bikers.

Trailhead Elevation

1,730.00 ft (527.30 m)

Highest point

2,143.00 ft (653.19 m)


Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Potable water

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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