Turnbuckle Loop, Skyline Regional Park.

Hike Turnbuckle Loop: A Great Sunset Hike In Buckeye

Turnbuckle Loop is a stunning hike that loops through a portion of the Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye. Most Phoenicians probably haven’t heard of this hike unless they live nearby, but I assure you it is worth the drive if you are looking for something different on the west side of the valley!

Skyline Regional Park sits in the southern White Tank Mountains and is free to enter. Since this park is tucked back at the tail end of the White Tanks you can count on having a great view of the mountains in the distance. Combining Turnbuckle Loop with Valley Vista is a must if you want those epic views of the valley at sunset.

In this post I’ll guide you through how to hike Turnbuckle Loop, add in Valley Vista point, and all other important details! Let’s get started.

Hey! Just so you know the below links contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through my links (at no extra cost to you). You can visit my disclosure for more info.

Turnbuckle Loop Stats

  • Hiking Distance | 4.1 miles
  • Difficulty | Moderate
  • Elevation Gain | 772 feet
  • Total Time | 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Permits/Fees | None
  • Trailhead | 33.48191, -112.55919
  • Dog Friendly | Yes

Below is a map of the Turnbuckle Loop route.

Turnbuckle Loop Map.

The best way to hike Turnbuckle Loop is to start clockwise, add in Valley Vista, and then continue the loop clockwise back to the trailhead.

Valley Vista Trail is only .33 miles off Turnbuckle Trail, adding a total of 0.66 miles there and back to your overall hike.

I clocked 4.1 miles altogether with both trails! If you don’t want to include Valley Vista then your overall hike will be around 3.44 miles.

How To Get There

Getting to Turnbuckle Loop is very easy, but there is no official trailhead marked, thus no mapping it directly from Google or Apple Maps. So strange!

If you input ‘Turnbuckle Trail’ it’ll put you on the trail itself, but at least lead you to the parking area just below it. Or, you can input these coordinates: 33.48191, -112.55919.

Luckily it would be difficult to get lost on the way. If you take the I-10 headed west towards California, then turn right onto N Watson Road, and drive it all the way to the end, you’ll dead end at the parking lot!

When To Hike Turnbuckle Loop

Turnbuckle Loop, Skyline Regional Park.

Hiking in the Phoenix Valley is most comfortable during the months of November-April due to favorable hiking temperatures. My cut-off is usually 85 degrees, so check the daily high temperature before your outting!

If you are visiting from out of town, or new to hiking, I don’t suggest hiking Turnbuckle Loop during the summer. If you insist, please plan on doing it for sunrise and finishing by late morning.

Luckily sunrise and sunset are both beautiful times to hike this loop. Since Valley Vista looks out towards the East Valley, I can only imagine you’ll catch some beautiful morning rays. Even though the sun sets in the west, it still casts vibrant colors over the valley.

Preparation saves lives. Know where you are going ahead of time and always have a way to keep yourself on trail. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app like Gaia GPS.

You can download my Turnbuckle Loop hike and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your trusty device for ease of mind!

Hiking Turnbuckle Loop

Hiking Turnbuckle Trail.

From the parking lot you’ll have to find a little trail that traverses a wash. Pass over the bridge to meet up with Mountain Wash Trail. Turn left here and follow it until you intersect Turnbuckle Trail.

At this point you can decide whether you want to hike clockwise or counter-clockwise. I suggest clockwise for this one because the route is easier when descending near dusk, and the views are better! You don’t want these views to your back, trust me.

So, turn left at the intersection and begin hiking Turnbuckle Loop clockwise.

Turnbuckle Loop Trail.

At first the trail is easy-going. Of course it is narrow and rocky since it is the desert, so no surprise there.

Eventually things will get steep once you’ve rounded to the west side of the mountain range. You’ll begin climbing elevation but it isn’t anything too strenuous! After a series of tight switchbacks you will reach a saddle.

Here you can decide to turn right to visit Valley Vista for some valley views, or continue along the loop right away. There is a post marking the trail out to Valley Vista, so as long as you keep an eye out for it you can’t miss it!

Turnbuckle Trail To Valley Vista.

Along Valley Vista Trail you’ll be provided with some amazing views on the left! These were some of my favorite during the entire hike.

In no time you’ll reach the end of Valley Vista. There is a little bit of basic scrambling to reach the end, but you can also opt out. Either way the views around this area are great!

Monty and I stayed at Valley Vista until the sun began to set. We were treated with a beautiful orange/yellow glow, spilling across the valley. I’ll let the following photos speak for themselves!

Valley Vista Trail, Buckeye.
Turnbuckle Loop And Valley Vista Trail.
Sunset At Turnbuckle Loop And Valley Vista.

Since the park closes at sunset we left before things got too dark. There was plenty of time to complete Turnbuckle Loop and reach the parking lot before dark set in. I didn’t even need to use a headlamp!

The views heading clockwise on Turnbuckle Trail are beautiful past Vista Point. This area is so peaceful and unpopulated, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had it to yourself.

You may also enjoy:

Final Thoughts On Turnbuckle Loop

Turnbuckle Loop And Valley Vista, Skyline Regional Park.

The first time I hiked Turnbuckle Loop I was blown away, so I had to return a few weeks later for another sunset experience. It is a much less populated trail which my German Shepherd, Monty, and I love.

Each visit we were able to have Valley Vista to ourselves for sunset. Talk about a peaceful and serene moment in the mountains! Something I never thought I’d get while hiking in the Phoenix Valley.

This is one hike I’ll return to again and again. If you do hike it yourself, I hope you enjoy it as much as Monty and I do. Feel free to leave a comment below to tell us about your experience!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.