Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
750.00 ft (228.60 m)
Trail type
3.20 mi (5.15 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 Telegraph Pass Trail is an easily accessible trail that serves as the main connection between southern Phoenix and the rest of South Mountain Park and Preserve. Comparatively shorter and steeper than the other trails within South Mountain, the trail is the more popular option served by the adequately-sized paved parking area off of Desert Foothills Parkway, which also provides access to the Desert Classic Trail.

Roughly the first third of the Telegraph Pass trail is paved. The paved section ends around the area of some petroglyphs marked with an interpretive sign off to the right. The trail, now unpaved, continues to the left. While the trail is very well traveled and easy to follow to the top, it does climb at a steady rate and offers little shade, which can make the hike considerably more difficult during the hotter times of the day.

The Telegraph Pass Trail technically ends at an intersection with the National Trail at Summit Drive, but many hikers continue up the National Trail to the Stone Hut, a small structure that can be seen on the mountain to the southwest (the mountain opposite the one with the communications towers on it, which is to the east). The views of the massive Phoenix metropolitan area and the rest of South Mountain Park, Stone Hut, and the trail beyond it are significantly better than those at Summit Drive, and they are well worth the extra effort.

Most hikers will return the way they came from the trailhead on Desert Foothills Parkway, although it should be noted that nearly every other trail in South Mountain intersects with the National Trail at some point. This makes Telegraph Pass a great option for those interested in longer thru hikes to other areas within the park. Note, however, that all the other South Mountain trailheads are at least 10 miles away, so the Phoenix traffic may make shuttling vehicles undesirable during rush hours.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great views. Easily accessible.


Can be crowded. Limited parking at the trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

1,475.00 ft (449.58 m)


Historically significant
Big vistas

Suitable for



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.