Traveling clockwise on the 306 loop from the visitor center, the climb up the side of the butte is steep. I kept my head down as I rose toward the sky, trying not to think about the distance remaining to the top. With my heart redlining and threatening to jump out of my chest, I achieved high ground, taking in the sprawling city stretched out in every direction beneath me while simultaneously taking in massive quantities of air. A breathtaking experience, for sure.
Looking across the way toward North Mountain
Site of the erstwhile Cloud 9 restaurant
The city expands below the remnants of Cloud 9
Looking back at the former restaurant site
Lookout Mtn on the left; McDowell Mtns in the distance
Western diamondback rattlesnake tucked in the rocks
For the remainder of the hike my eyes, too, were constantly scanning the landscape for snakes. I didn't see any, but I did catch a glimpse of a rabbit rubbing its head in the dirt much in the same way a dog will. I closed out the 306 loop and retraced my steps along the 100 trail back to the visitor center. Surprised at how quickly I completed the hike, I referenced my map at home and discovered this hike was only a shade over five miles in length. But what the Shaw Butte Trail lacks in endurance-related qualities, it makes up for on the aerobic side of the house. Whether for exercise or enjoyment, or both, Shaw Butte is certainly worth exploring.