Dreamy Draw Park offers hikers options - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Dreamy Draw Park offers hikers options

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Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12:35 am | Updated: 2:49 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

There are plenty of great recreation areas in the Valley. But only one allows you to enjoy an “out of this world" experience.

Dreamy Draw Park in north central Phoenix has something very unearthly buried under a dam — if you believe folklore. Here is how the story goes.

In 1947, a UFO crashed where the park now is located. An earth dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers to bury the UFO.

Is the story true? That is up to you. Whether you believe it or not, the story certainly gives you something interesting to ponder as you enjoy the many amenities of the park.

Located on the northwest side of Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak), Dreamy Draw Park is accessed off Highway 51 by taking the Northern Avenue exit and heading east into the park. Dreamy Draw has an equestrian staging area, picnic ramadas, restrooms, a small visitors center and hiking and biking trails, one that is paved for easy biking or walking.

The jewel of the park is its access to the Charles M. Christiansen Memorial Trail. The multi-use trail is 10.7 miles long (one way). It begins from the west just off Seventh Street near Peoria Avenue. It passes within 100 yards of the Dreamy Draw parking lot.

Heading northeast after about 100 yards, the trail goes under Highway 51. Then it meanders up and down around the mountain. At several points, the trail yields beautiful views of downtown Phoenix.

The trail is narrow at times and footing can be tricky because of loose shale. Good hiking boots are recommended. Since the trail is a point-to-point, eventually you will have to turn around if you parked at Dreamy Draw.

Another good trail which starts in the park is the Perl Charles Memorial Trail. A 4.8-mile loop, the trail leads to Phoenix Mountain Park. There also is the Dreamy Draw Nature Trail, which is 1.5 miles one way. It crosses a series of washes and tunnels and is decorated with wild flowers.

Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot some wildlife. Residents of the park include ring-tailed cats, western diamondbacks, tiger snakes, great horned owls, javelinas and coyotes.

At this time of year, leave your matches at home. Due to high fire danger, all fires are banned right now, including smoking.

Matt Molinari of Anthem is a big fan of the park. He recently took a youth group on a hike on a very hot day.

“I just like the views," Molinari said. “I like you can do a short loop or longer trails."

By the way, the official story on the earth dam is that it was constructed for flood control, but isn't the UFO version much more fun?

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