Distance: 1.5 miles (one way)
Best time of year: Fall, Winter, Spring
Last hiked: 2016 March
Two Bit Peak, formerly known as Peak 2429, is a rugged and adventurous scramble up to outstanding views of the northern Phoenix area. Views stretch out in all directions, rivaled only by nearby Piestawa Peak and Camelback Mountain. The best part is, much of the trail is either flat, or very gradual. Only the last stretch is steep, making it one of the easier views with plenty of reward.
The Two Bit Peak trail begins at the 40th Street trailhead and continues along a rough, rocky trail that appears to have been the original 40th Street many years ago before the preserve received its protection. It doesn’t take much hiking before you’re surrounded by impressive desert mountains on the east, with larger peaks looming on the north and west. Also to the west is a large open valley connecting access to other trails originating from other parts of the preserve.
At about 0.4 miles in, the trail connects with the 100 Trail, traveling east-to-west. Continue straight, and within a couple of dozen yards, the ascent begins. The worn-looking old Jeep road now becomes a much rockier trail as the elevation begins to climb. Almost immediately, views overlooking the valley to the west become increasingly majestic, capped by local favorite, Piestawa Peak, high in the distance.
As the trail continues its steep ascent upward, the trail becomes even steeper as it begins to veer southeastward. It’s here that the trail takes a turn into the mountain to take a rather daunting series of switchbacks directly up the side of the mountain. A sign is also found in this area marking the way. Sonoran Desert vegetation is on fantastic display throughout this area as saguaro cacti reach enormous heights, while clusters of barrel cactus can be found adding beautiful tones of red to the brown (and occasionally) green desert colors. Adding green year-round are the stringy palo verde trees, which are tightly bound enough to provide a great amount of shade when needed.
Short switchback after short switchback continues its rough and increasingly rocky climb past one dramatic overlook after another. The steepness only escalates until finally, you reach a small saddle with a wonderfully refreshing view of Camelback Mountain directly to the southeast. From here, it’s a short distance to the summit of Two Bit Peak. Two routes fork off on the left. One is a longer, more scenic route, the other is a more direct, but painfully steep climb. Either way will bring you to the summit. Following the scenic route, a welcomed break in climbing wraps you around to the north side of the peak where flourishing ocotillo, cholla cactus, and many other forms of desert vegetation await. The trail cuts back to the south here where it begins a moderate climb up to the summit.
Once on the summit, sweeping views of the urban metropolis disturbingly spread out as far as the eye can see, terminated only by significantly larger mountains to the east and north. Enjoy the views, and either head back down the same way, or take the alternate route back down to the saddle and continue on the same route out as you came up on.
From downtown Scottsdale, head north on Scottsdale Road for 6 miles. Turn left onto Shea Blvd and head west for 4 miles. At N. 40th St., turn left and continue south for 1 mile where the road dead-ends at the parking lot. The trailhead will be on the east side of the parking lot.