Best neighborhoods in Phoenix for trail access- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best neighborhoods in Phoenix for trail access

    I just moved from Spokane Washington to Phoenix I am temporarily renting a place in south Scottsdale until I find a permanent house to buy. I lived just a few blocks from an entry point to a network of trails in Spokane. I would really like to be able to get up in the morning and go for a run or ride on the trails before work without having to get up even earlier to pack my bike into a car and drive to a trail .

    my wife I dislike most of the sterile newer tract housing developments around the south mountain. The parts of Arcadia and Paradise valley around Echo canyon are a bit out of my budget for the type of house my family needs. I have found some places between Dreamy Draw, and the North mountain areas that I'm thinking of making an offer on. All my bike stuff is in storage and the 100+ degree weather isn't giving me much motivation to go dig it out, so I haven't had a chance to explore the trails.

    It looks on google maps like there is a good network of trail running diagonally across the north half of phoenix from the north mountain area to Squaw Peak and not too much pavement from there to Camelback. I work in a bunch of locations around the Phoenix area, butt most are downtown or north of it and my wife is a flight attendant, so it wouldn't make sense to live outside of the phoenix metro area (wish I could live in Prescott Payson or Sedona). Are there other areas I don't know about in phoenix with good trail access?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to Phoenix. So what type of riding do you prefer? Is it safe to assume that school districts are not a factor when moving (you didn't mention if there were children moving with you)? Also, you mention Echo Canyon area. Just FYI, it is hiking only at Camelback, so that area probably wouldn't suit your needs anyways, although Arcadia has some cool homes.

    I wonder if the best area for you would be along the Phoenix North Mountain area, perhaps along the 51. There are some nice communities around there, such as 48th Street and Shea. Lots of potential riding from home around there, and the better Phoenix North Mountain trails are east of the 51 anyways.
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  3. #3
    Just another half mile...
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    I agree with Ty in regards to the Phoenix North Mountain area along 51, I live near 32nd & Shea since 91' and the Phx Mtn Preserves is a great place to ride from home. Has a spiderweb of trails from easy to super chunk. Once you get to know the trails, there are no limits on the number of combinations of routes you can link together - I never get bored and usually make up my route as I go. See my MAP of the trail network. It's also a great place to night ride during the summer hot months. Housing is affordable, or if you have the coin, there are million dollar homes. Recommend staying north and east of the preserve mountains in the 85028 zip code or further north in the 85032 zip (See Zillow).

    Quote Originally Posted by tysonnemb View Post
    Welcome to Phoenix. So what type of riding do you prefer? Is it safe to assume that school districts are not a factor when moving (you didn't mention if there were children moving with you)? Also, you mention Echo Canyon area. Just FYI, it is hiking only at Camelback, so that area probably wouldn't suit your needs anyways, although Arcadia has some cool homes.

    I wonder if the best area for you would be along the Phoenix North Mountain area, perhaps along the 51. There are some nice communities around there, such as 48th Street and Shea. Lots of potential riding from home around there, and the better Phoenix North Mountain trails are east of the 51 anyways.

  4. #4
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    The key question is, what is your budget for purchasing a home? That will do a lot to dictate the trail access you can achieve.

  5. #5
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    lots of what will be available near trails are either newer homes mcmansion, condos that may be pricey for the square footage, or like in CenPho older homes that have been remodeled. You wont get close access to trails in a good neighborhood without paying for it.

    I personally dont like PMP - I find it way too crowded. though in fairness to every system near development except maybe Hawes, a lot has to do with what and when you are out.

    There are systems all over the Valley, some are not so good (ex, Sonoran). For access to the city, airport and north you are likely looking near the McDs, PMP or SoMo.
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  6. #6
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    We're right at the base of Lookout Mtn which gives easy access to PMP trails (T-100, etc). Anything around 7th Street & T-Bird will give you quick access. Lots of cool, funky stuff in the Sunnyslope neighborhoods near the preserve as well (like 16th Street and Turquoise). I actually think PMP is the least crowded due to the abundance of trail options which helps disperse people more than other areas. You just have to learn which areas to avoid
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  7. #7
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    I'm in N. Phx off of Happy Valley Rd, lots of stuff close by. Deem Hills, Pyramid Peak, Sonoran, Cave Creek, Lake Pleasant, etc. PMP is not too far but agree with Chollaball, too crowded for my taste. Black Canyon Trail, Prescott, and Sedona are easy to get to from here as well. Bit of a hike to the airport though.

  8. #8
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    Same question! Moving in one month, budget $375k for a house. I am told Peoria area is good for me, I have a RZR and love to moto too. Is there decent riding if I choose Mesa/ Chandler/ Gilbert? I travel all around AZ for work, looking forward to exploring all the riding in AZ.

  9. #9
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    Pointe South Mountain has many trails less than 1/4 Mike form the house. The mountain itself has about 80 miles of trails, with everythinfpg from xc, all mountain, enduro and even downhill. I live in the condo home community next to the ramadas. Paid $365k for a 2000 sq ft home on the golf course. Lots of bike shops in the area too.
    AKA: G-wat

  10. #10
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    OK, so I have an interesting situation. Having been a pretty serious Road/cross/endurance MTB racer I moved to phoenix. On the drive here, I lost sensation and muscle control in my left leg. I thought I pinched a nerve from sitting in the car... a few days later when I still couldn't walk, I went to the doctor, got an MRI to discover that I have multiple sclerosis. After being pumped with steroids for a week, I got my leg back... mostly. I still don't have the balance and coordination that I once did.

    That being said, my budget went from $500k to $300k because I don't know how much my work life will be cut short and I will be taking out a 10-year loan. At least until I figure out what my newly calibrated limits are, I'll be sticking to less technical trails than I used to ride. Also, I want to have a pool because there will be times when swimming may be my best option for exercise.

    My wife and I have two large dogs, so a yard is a must and Condo/townhouses wont do it or for us. Ironically I was really liking some areas in just North of Northern Ave. Reading the thread a few lines down from this one I realized that the area everyone said was such a hole was Sunnyslope. I personally prefer established neighborhoods and I thought Sunnyslope had a little more of a soul than other parts of the valley.
    Last edited by debusama; 06-30-2016 at 12:11 PM.

  11. #11
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    I am in an a similar moving situation - but moving back to PHX after a year and half away. Actually missed it and all it has to offer and will most likely never leave it again. Any rate, used to live at Deems/Sonoran and liked it but didn't like the commute into town. Looked at the area around Hawes and while I like it and the dollar goes further (much like Deems/Sonoran) you still have the commute. Decided on near 32nd and Shea. Seems to have the best mix of riding, hiking, trail running, centralized location, proximity restaurants etc. I am really looking forward to being back.

  12. #12
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    While I personally live further east along Shea halfway to Fountain Hills, I think the 32nd Street/Shea area is a great starting point as it's pretty central to everything. The key choice for me (and I realize everyone is different) is commute.

    Personally, I'd move back to Ahwatukee today just for SoMo access. But it would turn my family's roughly 10-minute work commute probably to a daily 45-minute death march. Not worth it for me.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolson450 View Post
    Same question! Moving in one month, budget $375k for a house. I am told Peoria area is good for me, I have a RZR and love to moto too. Is there decent riding if I choose Mesa/ Chandler/ Gilbert? I travel all around AZ for work, looking forward to exploring all the riding in AZ.
    I don't think Peoria will put you real close to any of the trail systems. Having a RRZ and moto and MTB, I would live off the 17 just North of 101. Puts you close to some MTB trails (Sonoran and Deems). Also close to Mile Markers (great moto/RZR play ground. Also closer drive to the goods in Bradshaws and Flag.

    I live right off Hawes in Las Sendas. Love it here. Not central, but I have a great trails system out the door, river 5 minutes away, lake 15 minutes, great moto 30 minutes away, boring moto 15 minutes away. I do commute 30 minutes when I go in the office though.

    A lot of folks like living around PMP around 51 and around Somo. Good luck to you all.

  14. #14
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    Buy outside the loop.

  15. #15
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    If I ever go back to Phx I would live in the far north valley/Cave Creek or out by Hawes. I have lived near Lookout Mtn, in Allwhitetukee, and Gilbert over the years (30 year AZ native). I'm also a moto guy and having the MM's close by is nice if you stay up north. Plus you're closer to the high country. Living near Lookout wasn't bad but I like being closer to the outskirts.

    That little cove around Hatcher/Mountain View and 17th st area has some pretty cool mid-century modern houses with good views, plus you can pop over to T100 real quick. My realtor I used lives in there and is also a fellow mtb'er, if you need a realtor.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Chainslap- View Post
    If I ever go back to Phx I would live in the far north valley/Cave Creek.
    I think this is the best advice... not only are there many options close in town, but you are closer to Black Canyon, Sedona, Prescott, and Flag

  17. #17
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    I'm up at Lake Pleasant Pkwy and Happy Valley. My access is super to much of the mentioned trails. I'm 10 miles from BCT, 8 miles from Maricopa trail. Deems is close, Thunderbird park is closer. Sunrise Mountain is lame but 1 mile. The new Beardsley trail system at Lake Pleasant is short but interesting. All this, just leaving from my home.

    The road riding is also great if you are a roadie as well. Bike lanes all the way to Wickenburg/Carefree/Bartlett Lake/Vistancia also the New River trail system which will take you all the way to 44st and Camelback or 107th ave and Bethany Home without ever riding on the road.

    The Mile Markers is great Moto stuff, I can and do drive my RZR to Crown King from my front door. Add in Lake Pleasant and all the amenities of Arrowhead, I really, really like how north Peoria has developed.
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  18. #18
    Black and Sticky
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    I live almost where 32nd Street dead ends into PMP from the north. Easy access to T100,etc. Really enjoy riding from home and being on the trail in less than 5 minutes. Oddly, home prices are about $100k less than same neighborhood just one exit south on SR 51. Also this is a great area for road biking with access to Scottsdale via Mountain View and points south via Dreamy Draw.

    Bob
    "Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." - Neil Kendall

  19. #19
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    Hey, another Spokanite here! Sorry to hear about your recent health condition. I live a few minutes from South Mountain trails and have grown partial to the area. If mtbing wasn't a factor, i'd move to Gilbert, kind of reminds me of home.

  20. #20
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    Surprised Las Sendas to be near Hawes hasn't come up more. The 202 provides excellent access to the airport and downtown Phoenix and they have a pretty good range of prices available.

  21. #21
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    SugarHigh and Chipolopolo, stellar advice! I'm starting to think San Diego is very overrated, I'll find out soon. Being able to RZR and MTB from the front door, and a 3 car garage sounds like my dream situation. Being closer to Flag and Sedona sounds like icing on the cake.

    20 people have told me how fun the Crown King RZR ride is.... Looking forward to finding new riding buddies and checking out all the spots.

  22. #22
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    I've lived in three places in my life where you could ride fairly easily from your front door. The first was my parents house in what is now central Scottsdale. I grew up there and my parents have lived there for 35 years. They bought when it was the boonies and you could take a Jeep out into the McDowell's. The cactus and Frank Lloyd wright area. Loved living near the preserve. Trails are all awesome and you could spend the entire day out there now and never ride the same trails twice. Some awesome technical stuff if you are willing to climb up into the passes. Houses are pretty spendy but it's Scottsdale, what do you expect.
    The second was in Tempe on the north side of tempe town lake. All the houses are decent sized patio homes and papago is right there. While not super fun, papago is good for a quick morning spin and to get your legs moving. Gets pretty boring kinda quickly though. You are right near downtown tempe so there's lots of college kids and some weird homeless people but overall not too bad of an area.
    The third is where I live now. Bought a house near 40th st and Baseline in a cookie cutter little neighborhood. Has what I need and it was my first home so it works for now. I can get to downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale, tempe relatively quickly and the area is decent. Still south Phoenix but there's nicer areas here and there. The best part though is I'm 5 minutes from being on south mountain. It was one of the major reasons that I bought this place. There is tons of housing projects happening in the area but there are also neighborhoods all along the north side that have been there for ages.

  23. #23
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    East Mesa has some good trails close by. Hawes is Awesome, Gold Canyon is close enough too. There are many places right off the 87 to moto too. Lower Sycamore Creek being the closest...

    Best neighborhoods in Phoenix for trail access-002.jpg
    I need to ride more...

  24. #24
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    Ahwatukee Village. Right at the base of SoMo.
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  25. #25
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    I agree with SugarHigh, Las Sendas or somewhere near Hawes is prime for your interests. Everything at your back door; mtb, moto, lakes. Etc. I live in Ahwatukee right off of Desert Classic and have tons of different terrain and most well known trails at my disposal. Everything from xc to dh. I wouldn't be riding as much if I couldn't do it right from my house. I ride moto as well but not so much anymore because I've grown tired of driving so far to ride.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by camekanix View Post
    There are many places right off the 87 to moto too. Lower Sycamore Creek being the closest...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Moto? Uh, no. That piece of sh!t is a single track widening Texas wheelchair and belongs in a dumpster, after being crushed in to a small cube.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  27. #27
    Sedona, Az USA
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    I would never move to a new market and immediately buy a house. Id rent and live here a while and then decide. When we moved from Dallas, Texas 6 years ago, we picked a house off the internet to rent in San Tan Valley. There were some reasons but it sucked. Then moved to Gilbert, then moved to Chandler, then Ahwatukee. Our leases were either 12 or 18 months at each place. We ended up moving to Sedona where we will stay. Its a hassle to move & move again after renting but there is just no way to get to know a town as big as metro Phoenix without living here for a year.

  28. #28
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    Old Ahwatukee. Need a Realtor?
    Because, one is never enough.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloonz View Post
    I ride moto as well but not so much anymore because I've grown tired of driving so far to ride.
    Champagne problems! That's what I'm talking about, thanks for the advice and I'll check out the areas next week when I'm in town.

  30. #30
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    Fountain hills, Im like you. i ride moto too. I love it out there.

  31. #31
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    debusma - crappy time to figure out you have MS. Good luck!!! Hopefully cycling can keep you going. You mentioned Road riding. If your on the road bike a lot keep in mind most of Phoenix proper has poor road riding. (it's getting better, but nothing like the newer areas way out) If your looking for good trail access and established neighborhoods look at: 7th St to 20th St south from just north of Glendale to Missouri. Area built in the 50's/60's and lots of new bars/restaurants going in very trendy. Pools are hit and miss but for the right price you can put one in. These areas all have decent access to Dreamy Draw via trails off of 16th and Glendale.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SugarHigh View Post
    I don't think Peoria will put you real close to any of the trail systems. Having a RRZ and moto and MTB, I would live off the 17 just North of 101. Puts you close to some MTB trails (Sonoran and Deems). Also close to Mile Markers (great moto/RZR play ground. Also closer drive to the goods in Bradshaws and Flag.

    I live right off Hawes in Las Sendas. Love it here. Not central, but I have a great trails system out the door, river 5 minutes away, lake 15 minutes, great moto 30 minutes away, boring moto 15 minutes away. I do commute 30 minutes when I go in the office though.

    A lot of folks like living around PMP around 51 and around Somo. Good luck to you all.
    Dude, Have you been out here? I live at 75th and the 101 and we have Deem Hills, Thunderbird Conservation Park (Good tech), Pyramid Peak (Unofficial Trails), Lake Pleasant (15 minute drive), Sonoran Preserve (Now links up to Cave Creek Park - easily 60-70 miles of trails), Peoria Just announced new trails going in the Peoria Preserve, Black Canyon Trail (Emory Henderson TH) is 15 minutes away, and PMP is only 15-20 minute drive.
    "You either want to or you don't."

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    I think this is the best advice... not only are there many options close in town, but you are closer to Black Canyon, Sedona, Prescott, and Flag
    Agreed.
    "You either want to or you don't."

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbyte View Post
    Dude, Have you been out here? I live at 75th and the 101 and we have Deem Hills, Thunderbird Conservation Park (Good tech), Pyramid Peak (Unofficial Trails), Lake Pleasant (15 minute drive), Sonoran Preserve (Now links up to Cave Creek Park - easily 60-70 miles of trails), Peoria Just announced new trails going in the Peoria Preserve, Black Canyon Trail (Emory Henderson TH) is 15 minutes away, and PMP is only 15-20 minute drive.
    My bad Dennis. I do not make it out to Peoria too much. Did not think Deems and Sonoran are in Peoria. Not really heard of Thunderbird and Pyramid. I need to make it out there one of these times.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SugarHigh View Post
    My bad Dennis. I do not make it out to Peoria too much. Did not think Deems and Sonoran are in Peoria. Not really heard of Thunderbird and Pyramid. I need to make it out there one of these times.
    No worries! We have tons of trails out here, just did not want the OP to have bad information. I think this is the perfect area due to the abundance of trails in our back yard, and we are 20-30 minutes closer to Prescott/Sedona/Flag ... Oh, yeah Deems and Sonoran are not in Peoria, but Peoria town limits are just a few miles away from them. I live in Glendale, and am 1/2 mile away from Peoria, Thunderbird Park is in Glendale and is a mile away, Sonoran is in Phoenix and is less than 10 miles away. Deem is also a Phoenix park and is just a few miles away... Basically, I just call it Northwest Valley The way these cities are laid out is a tad confusing

    I suppose I should have specified NORTHERN Peoria, the area where Glendale/Peoria/Phoenix intersect. I agree the South/West area may not be the best for trail access.

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    "You either want to or you don't."

  36. #36
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    Was out house shopping last week, about to put a deposit on a place in N Peoria, near the Happy Valley/ Lake Pleasant Pwky intersection. RZR and Moto from the front door, I couldn't resist. Will still be able to toodle around on the mtb, but I travel all over the state (for work) so I'll be sure to stop off at all the great spots AZ has to offer, and White Tank and Deem Hills look pretty close.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolson450 View Post
    Was out house shopping last week, about to put a deposit on a place in N Peoria, near the Happy Valley/ Lake Pleasant Pwky intersection. RZR and Moto from the front door, I couldn't resist. Will still be able to toodle around on the mtb, but I travel all over the state (for work) so I'll be sure to stop off at all the great spots AZ has to offer, and White Tank and Deem Hills look pretty close.
    Congrats! Think you'll like the area, it's great for what you are looking for. I'm just to the east next to Deem Hills. Lots of trails close by and easy to get to cooler stuff up north.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolson450 View Post
    Was out house shopping last week, about to put a deposit on a place in N Peoria, near the Happy Valley/ Lake Pleasant Pwky intersection. RZR and Moto from the front door, I couldn't resist. Will still be able to toodle around on the mtb, but I travel all over the state (for work) so I'll be sure to stop off at all the great spots AZ has to offer, and White Tank and Deem Hills look pretty close.
    - Lake Pleasant Trails are close: https://www.strava.com/activities/562444086
    - Deem is fun and techy: https://www.strava.com/activities/387407103
    - Pyramid Peak area is also fun: https://www.strava.com/activities/462516149
    - BCT is not far, and fun: https://www.strava.com/activities/424642236
    - Sonoran North/South is close: https://www.strava.com/activities/616857593
    - Thunderbird Conservation park is close, but not really worth driving to right now: https://www.strava.com/activities/460886708
    - East Wing / West Wing / Peoria Sunrise Preserve are close and mountain bikeable, but in there current state are really better for hiking

    We have a group that rides out at Sonoran Preserve just about every Tuesday night - let me know if you want to join us. Also, I would be glad to show you around any of the other trails in the area, just let me know. If you are on Facebook add me as a friend, and/or join the "Arizona Single Speed Cult" group (we have non single speeders in the group, just know you will be riding with mainly single speeders, which just means we will probably be faster on the climbs and slower on the flat stuff).

    Also, check this out... https://www.peoriaaz.gov/NewsPR2.aspx?PID=3049&id=54035
    Last edited by dirtbyte; 07-11-2016 at 10:28 AM.
    "You either want to or you don't."

  39. #39
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    location, location, location

    How is it possible that someone would recommend living in Sunnyslope? We just moved out of a home we bought in 2012 that was near Cactus and 23rd Ave. and it was a war zone. Helicopters flying overhead, calling out to people to come out with their hands up. Drug murders about every six months. Homeless living in the parks. But we had good access to PMP.

    We moved two weeks ago, to Fireside Norterra. We are now 30 seconds away from the Desert Vista trail head. That's about 29 seconds further away from trails than our Flagstaff home, which backs to Christmas Tree Trail. The south Phoenix Sonoran Preserve is perfect for hiking, running, and riding. Much more fun than the northern Preserve, but they connect, so we can do 50 miles total by riding most of both sides of Dove, or even connecting to Cave Creek Trails.

    With the improved Lake Pleasant Trails, the Maricopa Trail running to Spur Cross, Cave Creek trails, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, Brown's Ranch, McDowell trails, Black Canyon Trail, it seems living north of the 101 offers the most access to the most trails, and keeps you safe and out of traffic and 20 minutes closer to Prescott and Sedona and Flagstaff. We are 1 hour 50 minutes from door to door, and spend most weekends in Flagstaff. In our first week at the new house, we watched a havelina sipping water from a neighbors fountain, a large family of quail wandering through the yard, a gecko living in our irrigation box, an owl sitting on top of the tree in the front yard, and of course, snakes. I just walked the dogs and a large hot air balloon flew right over me, dropping down near the base of the mountain before quickly rising back up. I can't imagine having it any better than this.

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