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Thunderbird Mountain Conservation Park Glendale

I absolutely love to hike (so, you will be seeing more reviews of trails as the kids get older)! We have done quite a few hikes, and usually head to White Tanks! As we passed Thunderbird Mountain last year to go to Wet N Wild, I knew as soon as the kids were old enough, we had to give this one a whirl.

We went on Super Sunday, and by 9:30 am, the parking was pretty scarce. There is not a ton of parking in one spot, and it is spread throughout N61st Dr, N 60th Ave.


We were able to find a little parking spot right near a bathroom on N 61st Drive and then walk South East to get to the Thunderbid Trailhead to get to the Sunrise Trail.

The biggest issue I had in planning our hike (because I am a planner) is that the website for the park is hard to compare information regarding the trails and the level of difficulty for each trail. After my non planning on the Skyline Trail in Buckeye, I realized I needed to research a bit more!

Here is the map of all the trails in Thunderbird.


Trail Name Description Length Level of Difficultly Rating*
Coach Whip Originates at 67th Avenue parking lot at Patrick Lane and concludes at 51st Avenue & Potter. Not designated as a looped trail. approximately 5.0 miles Moderate
Flatlander Originates at 55th Ave & Pinnacle Peak parking lot and is a looped trail. approximately 1.25 miles Easy
Arrowhead Point Originates south of Pinnacle Peak parking lot along the Coach Whip trail and ends at Ramadas 14 and 15. approximately 1.5 miles Moderate Difficult
Cholla Loop Originates at parking lot A and ends at Coach Whip near 55th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Rd. approximately 3.0 miles Moderate to Moderate Difficult in certain areas
Sunrise Originates at the North end of the amphitheater, or near Ramada 11. A branch of this trail originates at Ramada 11, travels west and intersects the Coach Whip trail on the west side of the park. approximately 2 miles with the west branch Moderate to Moderate Difficult in certain areas
Ridgeline Originates off of the Coach Whip trail and intersects with the Sunrise trail. approximately 0.4 miles Moderate
Desert Iguana Originates at 67th Avenue and Patrick Lane parking lot and concludes at parking lot B. approximately 0.75 miles Easy
Chuckwalla Originates at Ramada 13 and concludes at Ramada 9. approximately 0.25 miles

Different options of trails and their lengths.

And the elevation map, which I find helpful. I hope this helps you decide which trail is best for your family. Unfortunately, getting all those different information pieces was on three different pages on the Glendale page, which made it hard to compare and contrast!

The Sunrise trail is definitely a more challenging trail for those who aren’t in the best shape or little ones. It is NOT stroller friendly! There are quite a lot of jutting rocks, loose rock and dirt. Close toed shoes are a must. There are no bathrooms along the trail (just at the parking areas, but they were in great condition). If you have a wee one that is a wobbler, I do not suggest this trail at all. Dimples, our youngest, is 3 1/2 and it was fairly difficult for him and he held my husband’s hand the whole time. Munchie, 7 and Giggles, 4, tripped a few times but were ok.

If you have little ones that like to pick up dirt, rocks, etc-I also caution you to wait a bit. There are lots of rocks to pick up and throw, and you never know what may be under one of those rocks!

Munchie was our “line leader”. This is the beginning of the trail that was not as steep or rocky.

Beautiful Desert (although very green!)

We had a stowaway. You might recognize “Flat Stanley” . He is visiting from Connecticut! He is pointing at the stadium.

…and last but not least, a family picture! We all have water. I love my camelbak personally, as it gives me hands free access plus storage!

The Basics

Sunrise Trail at Thunderbird Mountain

22800 59th Ave, Glendale


  1. Kat on February 8, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Hi! Used to hike this trail a lot when I lived in Arizona. Is this the trail with the big pile of rocks and flag on top with the views out looking some of the best homes?

    • Vicki on February 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Yes, it is!! Very beautiful area!

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