Now that summer is winding down, spend some time exploring Round Mountain’s trails
It is 9 a.m. and already the sun is suspended high in the sky, slow baking the shrubs, the rocks and the trail. By the time this issue comes out, however, the heat should be a little less harsh at Round Mountain Park.
If you have been around Globe awhile, then surely you know about Round Mountain, right? Round Mountain Park lies on the eastern edge of downtown, offering six different hiking trails covering 360 acres of land, two of which lead up to a summit with an awesome panoramic view.
You never know what wildlife you’ll encounter when you head up the trail. In the past, hikers have spotted roadrunners, deer, ravens, jack rabbits, frogs and even gila monsters! On any given trail, you may see barrel cacti, prickly pear, juniper trees and yucca.
Since the trails wrap around Round Mountain, they are generally at an incline. Still, the elevation change is only 430 feet from base to summit, and it’s moderate hiking as long as you maintain a comfortable pace. None of the trail combinations extend more than a few miles, and they are well paved.
There are plenty of people to thank for the magnificent views and the trails. Globe’s former mayor, vice mayor and councilman Stanley Gibson is one of them. Gibson was heavily involved in the early stages of laying out the trails in the ’90s, the first being the West Trail which was constructed beginning in 1995 and lasted roughly two to three years. The late city councilman Louis Aguirre volunteered his time to oversee the construction of the ramadas, the bridge and visitor center. Since then, city park ranger Rick Powell has continued to maintain the trails.
Regardless of which trail you take, you will start at the visitor center next to the parking lot. There are bathrooms and a water fountain there. It’s best to take advantage of them, because there aren’t any on the trails. While there are resting points, 17 in total, the East and West Trails generally don’t include shade, so expect to sweat if you are hiking on a sunny afternoon. You will also want to take a look at the trail map, or pick up a paper copy, because several of the trails intersect each other along the way.
The trails don’t look terribly exciting at the start, lined mostly by shrubs and small cacti. It won’t be long, though, before you are looking over your shoulder to see silhouettes of the mountains in the distance. Hike up far enough, and you will spot Miami’s open pit mines to the west and downtown Globe below.