5.9 Miles

181 feet

Easy

A+++ Views

136th St Express Trail Hike Overview

We recently hiked the 136th St Express/Cow Poke Loop and gave this hike 100% on the “likelihood to revisit” scale. One week later we were back! This area is great because of the views are spectacular, all the cool saguaros, and how easy it is. It’s a solid choice when you want to get outside but not hike anything crazy or when it’s ridiculously hot out. 

Map & Elevation Profile

Total distance: 5.88 mi
Max elevation: 2702 ft
Min elevation: 2521 ft
Total time: 01:45:50

Map for the 136th St Express Trail Hike

You won’t regret having this map. The signage here is good but there are a lot of trails. What if you want to extend your hike? With a this map you can make a plan!

mcdowell mountains green trails map get outdoors get happy

McDowell Mountains Greentrails map

You definitely won’t regret having this map for your McDowell Sonoran Preserve hikes (affiliate link)!

Parking

You will want to park at the Granite Mountain trailhead lot. It’s a giant free lot!

136th St Express Trail Hike Notes

I wasn’t completely honest in the overview above why we decided to come back here only a week later. Here’s my true motivation: I posted the photos of the crested saguaro (check them out here) in the Crested Saguaro Facebook group and someone commented with a photo of another crested saguaro in the area. It has a HUGE crest and that was enough for me to drag the BF back up here. 

We didn’t find it but that’s part of the fun and gives us another reason to go back 😊.

This hike is all about expansive mountain views. So if that’s your thing (like me!), then get up here and check it out. It’s easy, relaxing and will make your brain feel good! 

So, is the 136th St Express Trail Hike worth it?

Even though it isn’t a big hike up a mountain with a clear ending, it is super nice out here! It’s quiet and very scenic. You’ll likely feel great after walking around this area. 

Other hikes close by

You can create a loop if you prefer those. We did this with the Cow Poke trail. You could go towards Tom’s Thumb area and hike that area: N 128th street. There is also the Whiskey Bottle Trail hike at the Fraesfield Trailhead. Brown’s Mountain trailhead is busier but also pretty great. There are a zillion options from the Brown’s Mountain Trailhead.

Get more inspired to get outside:

Hike to the Lookout, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Why hike to Tom’s Thumb with you can hike to the Lookout? The views are even better, the trail is fantasic and there are less people!

Dispersed Camping Fire Control Road (NF-64), Payson, AZ

The dispersed camping along Fire Control Road (NF-64) in Payson, AZ, is great! There are quiet sites with great views. Read more here!

Piestewa Vs Camelback? Which Should You Hike?

Piestewa vs Camelback? Not sure which one you should hike? Read this article to help you decide. Hint: they both have pros and cons!

Natural Tunnel Via Dirt Road Trail Hike, South Mountain Preserve

Hiking to the Natural Tunnel via the Dirt Road Trail starts out lame (you’re on a dirt road) but quickly turns into a sweet hike. Learn more!

Latigo Chuckwagon Loop Hike, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The Latigo Chuckwagon Loop Hike is the best hike starting from the Brown’s Mountain trailhead. It is not as busy and has great views!

Sunrise Trail Hike, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The Sunrise Trail Hike has a lot to offer: some elevation but not too much, SUPERB views, and not too far outside the city! Read more here.

Forest Road 2076 Hike, Tonto National Forest

The Forest Road 2076 hike starts out pretty lame but then opens up to huge views as you hike out of the wash. Plus you most likely won’t see another soul!

136th St Express/Cow Poke Loop Hike, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Create a scenic 4 mile loop with the 136th St Express/Cow Poke Loop Hike. It’s beautiful over here and there are fewer people too!

15 Practical Ways to Motivate Yourself to get Outside

It happens to everyone! Sometimes our motivation to get out and enjoy nature is low. That’s ok, here are 15 practical ways to motivate yourself to get outside!

Forest Road 44 Off-Road Drive, Tonto National Forest

Forest Road 44 off-road drive is a small, not very traveled side loop off of Bloody Basin Road. It has great views and one treacherous part. Read more here.