The weather is cooling down, making it the perfect time of year to hike near Yuma, Arizona. While this desert town may not be the first spot you think of for a hiker’s paradise, Yuma actually has extraordinary hikes just a few miles outside the city’s center. November 17th is National Hiking Day and we want to help you celebrate by highlighting three mountains near Yuma that offer several moderate to difficult trailheads for both new and avid hikers.
Telegraph Peak Trailhead & Long Telegraph Pass Loop
Just a few miles east of Yuma is Telegraph Pass, located on the Muggins Mountains near Wellton, Arizona. While hiking Telegraph Pass is pretty common for both locals and visitors, what is not so well-known to most is that there are two trail options to explore. Long Telegraph Pass Loop and Telegraph Pass Trail make up the two hiking trails in this area. Telegraph Peak Trailhead is the more moderate of the two trails at 5.3 miles and 1,404 ft. in elevation gain. Where Long Telegraph Pass Loop is harder in level of difficulty with a length of 5.5 miles and 1,653 ft. elevation gain. It is no surprise this loop is a bit more challenging with the higher elevation.
Fortuna Peak Trailhead, Jasper’s Trailhead, & Jester’s Trailhead
Located just across Interstate-8 and Telegraph Pass are the Gila Mountains. These nearby mountains offer their own set of trailheads to open up even more hiking possibilities. Fortuna Peak, Jasper’s Trailhead, and Jester’s Trailheads make up the trails found in this area from different access points. Fortuna Peak Trailhead is a 6-mile, WWII B-17 Crash Site with a 1,633 ft. elevation gain. If you want to check out the crash site, it can be found around the 1,600 ft. mark. There’s also Jasper’s Trailhead at 3.8 miles with a 334 ft. elevation gain. The road getting there can be a little rough, but it offers a flatter alternative before heading over to Jester’s Trailhead. Jester’s Trailhead is considered a better hike for hiking enthusiasts as it offers a 2.8 mile-lengthed trail with a 1,174 ft. elevation gain. The summit is designated with an American flag and a 360-degree view. All three Gila Mountain trails offer moderately difficult terrain, with Fortuna Peak and Jester’s Trail being the most challenging of the three and not for the faint of heart.
Laguna Mountain Ridge Trail, Marty’s Ridge to Liberty Bell, & Paradise Valley Loop
The Laguna Mountains are a small circular mountain range just northeast of Yuma in the Gila River Valley area. This area offers a number of trails perfect for your hiking excursions.
Laguna Mountain Ridge Trail, Marty’s Ridge to Liberty Bell, and Paradise Valley Loop make up the trails in this area. Laguna Mountain Ridge Trail is a moderate 15.4 mile lightly trafficked, out and back trail with an elevation gain of 2,175 ft. Another moderate trail is Marty’s Ridge to Liberty Bell. This trail is 8.6 miles long with a 833 ft. elevation gain, making it the easiest trail of the three. Last, but certainly not least, is the Paradise Valley Loop. This loop trail is rated as hard in difficulty level with 13.6 miles and a 1,397 ft. elevation gain, making the most challenging hike in this mountain range.
These trails allow hikers to explore the scenic desert landscape and provide the opportunity to spot wildflowers in the spring and summer months, as well as wildlife year-round. Whichever mountain you choose to tackle, just remember to always bring plenty of water and try not to wander off alone. These trailheads require preparation, so be sure to do some diligent research before heading out. Whatever your hiking desires are, you are sure to find a trail near Yuma, Arizona to explore our sunny and warm destination from above.