A Visit to Dreamy Draw Park

The story behind the recreation area is loopy

Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith

Ah. Fall temps are here! I love the crisp mornings and cool evenings. Milder temperatures mean we can explore more local hiking options, rather than heading to higher ground to avoid the heat. Recently, we drove about 30 minutes to Dreamy Draw Park (2421 E. Northern Avenue, Phoenix; off the 51 and Northern).

Those who live in Central Phoenix are probably very familiar with this recreation area, which surrounds the 2,608-foot Piestewa Peak, but this was our first time coming from the North Valley. Oh, how I enjoy exploring new trails. We were able to park in the main lot, but this area is heavily trafficked. You might end up parking at the lot farther back, but don’t worry: Trails connect both lots and all parking is free.

Right by the parking lot are two huge picnic pavilions, and one was being used for a big party. The human restrooms are not easily seen when you park; they are at the top of the hill above the picnic area. I never have to worry about such things as I leave P-mail wherever I want.

Anyway, you may not know how Dreamy Draw got its name, and my dad told us the story. Apparently back in the mining days, workers looking for copper stumbled upon cinnabar, a mineral extract of mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin and working with mercury can have some very interesting effects on people. My dad tends to use big words I don’t understand, so my mom simplified it for me: Workers were loopy! They staggered through the haze caused by mercury mining in an altered state, thus the name of Dreamy Draw.

With that out of the way, we were on our way. The park has a ton of trails and was one of the best-marked systems we’ve seen. It has short-to-long and mild-to-wild options. Big maps use colors and numbers to help you select the hike perfect for you and your dog. Speaking of pups, we saw more of my kind in a couple hours than I have been in months. We were out in force, and Dreamy Draw had something for everyone. Dogs just need to be on a leash, and humans need to pick up the “packages.”

We chose the Nature Trail, or 220, but it was pretty short. We opted to connect to the 100 trail and make a bigger loop. That’s the beauty of how they laid out the trails—inner, middle and outer loops. You can’t get lost! You just make turns, connect and head back the way you came. The trails are a combination of dirt and rocks, and most have slight elevation gain unless you are hiking to the top.

Everyone was super-friendly; this was a great find! All in all, we probably went 2 1/2 miles. We will be back to take on some longer trails as our weather continues to cool off. You can count on that! It’s only a 30-minute drive from the north end, so maybe I will see you there sometime. Because mining operations have been shut down for years now, you don’t have to worry about toxins, but the area is still dreamy in my opinion.  

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