Find adventure after dark in the desert wilderness - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Find adventure after dark in the desert wilderness

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003 9:48 am | Updated: 1:53 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

County park trails close at sunset, so night hikes are not allowed unless led by a ranger. Wilderness areas are open, though. No matter where you participate in your nighttime desert activity, bring adequate water and sturdy, comfortable shoes.

• The Riparian Institute: Monthly 8 p.m. night walks begin with a presentation about a desert creature, followed by a hike through the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. Tonight’s program is about scorpions; other subjects in the summer series include owls, coyotes and bats. $3 per person. 775 N. Greenfield Road, Gilbert, www.riparianinstitute.org or (480) 503-6744.

• McDowell Mountain Regional Park: Park rangers lead an interpretive hike on a 1 /2-mile barrier-free trail for "Sunset at the Oasis," leaving from the Nursery Tank Trailhead at the Ironwood Picnic Area at 7 p.m. Saturday. Or try a 0.8-mile sunset hike on the Hilltop Trail, at the Trailhead Staging Area, beginning at 7:15 p.m. June 28. $5 per vehicle park entry fee. 15612 E. Palisades Drive, Fountain Hills, www.maricopa.gov or (480) 471-1073.

• Lost Dutchman State Park: John "Bluebird" Crossman teaches workshops about the Hohokam cultural arts 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday through July. The June 25 presentation is how to make string or rope from native plant fibers; other topics in the series include making a rivercane flute, desert survival and using a floor spindle to make cotton yarn. Free. 6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, www.azstateparks.com or (480) 982-4485.

• Desert Botanical Garden: Flashlight discovery tours, 7:30 to 9 p.m. each Thursday in July, let visitors wander through the garden (accompanied by volunteers and staff) to see nocturnal animals and even the occasional nightblooming cactus. As the name suggests, bring a flashlight. $3.50 to $7.50. 1201 N. Galvin Pa rkway, Phoenix, www.desertbotanical.org or (480) 941-1225.

• Phoenix Zoo: Night camp includes dinner, s’mores, night hikes, and continental breakfast 5:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. July 12. $49.50 to $55 per person. 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, www.phoenixzoo.org or (602) 914-4333.

• Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area: Interpretive ranger Jennifer Johnston guides a 2-mile night hike to a Hohokam pueblo at 7:30 p.m. July 12. Meet at the Spur Cross public parking lot at the end of Spur Cross Road, 4 1 /2 miles north of Cave Creek Road. Bring a flashlight. $3 per person. www.maricopa.gov or (480) 488-6623.

• Usery Mountain Recreation Area: Interpretive ranger Johnathan Blyler guides 2-mile night hikes monthly along the Blevins Trail, lit by the full moon. The next hike is July 12. Meet at the horse staging area. $5 per vehicle park entry fee. 3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa, www.maricopa.gov or (480) 984-0032.

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