Skip to main content

Arizona State Route 51 from Piestewa Peak

Between 2010 to 2013 I lived about half a mile north of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve which allowed me access to the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail.  The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail ascends to the top of 2,610 foot high Piestewa Peak which overlooks the majority of the City of Phoenix and Arizona State Route 51.


The Piestewa Peak Summit Trail off of Squaw Peak Drive in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.  The Piestewa Peak Trail is a fast 2.2 mile round-trip but ascends 1,151 feet and can be just as difficult as nearby Camelback Mountain.




The view back down the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail from Piestewa Peak really puts into relief how steep it is.


Piestewa Peak is the second highest peak in the Phoenix Mountains after Camelback Mountain.  The mountain was originally known as Squaw Peak as early as 1910 but was renamed to Piestewa Peak in 2003.  The name of Piestewa Peak comes from Lori Piestwa of the U.S. Army and member of the Hopi Tribe.  Lori Piestewa was the first Native American woman to die in combat as member of the U.S. Military.

From Piestewa Peak the entirety of the 16.7 Arizona State Route 51 can be seen traversing through downtown Phoenix at I-10/AZ 202 north through the Phoenix Mountains to AZ 101.





AZ 51 was originally envisioned as part of the original Interstate system as a spur of Interstate 10 north out of downtown Phoenix.  This Interstate Spur was ultimately not included into funding during the original run of Interstates in Arizona but would appear on ADOT logs as I-510 before being changed to AZ 510 in 1968.  The route of AZ 510 was to known as the Squaw Peak Freeway.


Oddly the first five miles of AZ 510 north of I-10 to Glendale Avenue were constructed by the City of Phoenix between 1986 and 1991.  In 1987 the route number of AZ 510 was changed to the current designation of AZ 51.  In 1992 the original five miles of AZ 51 was turned over to ADOT for maintenance which in turn reconstructed it to state standards in 2003.  AZ 51 was completed from Bell Road north to AZ 101 in May of 2003 and I actually recall driving it the week after it had opened.  2003 also saw the Squaw Peak Parkway name changed to Piestawa Peak Parkway to reflect the renaming of Piestewa Peak.

Arizonaroads on AZ 51

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine was referenced in California's Gold Episode #608 during which Huell Howser examined numerous points claimed to be the Center of California.  During Episode #608 Huell Howser interviews Caltrans employee Bob Thompson who emphasizes there wa

Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

  Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A