This Trail starts off with heavily groomed trails that are easy to walk. But that does not last long and gives way to a typical Phoenix mix of everything from smooth to treacherously rocky ground.
It also goes from mostly flat at the beginning to moderately steep to very steep near the end. There are a couple of nice lookouts along the way which also serve as convenient places to turn around should you get tired.
There is ample parking at the well marked trail head as well as bathroom facilities, but there is no water so bring your own. The parking area also has table and benches which makes the lack of water fountains curious indeed.
This particular trail route does not cover the entirety of the Holbert Trail. Instead, it takes a right onto the Dobbins Exit Trail and ends at the Dobbins Lookout which offers a wide vista of downtown Phoenix and its surrounding sprawl. Dobbins Lookout also has a reasonable amount of parking so you could drive up and skip all that hard work of hiking up the mountain.
If you pass the Dobbins Exit Trail, Holbert Trail continues on for several miles and eventually intersects with National Trail.
Because of the 1000 feet of ascent and the rocky conditions, this is a challenging trail but also a beautiful one. I saw quite a lot of wildlife. The trail winds up through valleys with more than the usual amount of vegetation for Phoenix.
A small bonus at the summit is a well preserved abandoned stone building that offers shade and a nice vista.
This is truly a great trail and if you are tired of the endless hordes at Squaw Peak, this is a good alternative. It’s not as challenging, but it is prettier, less traveled, and has more parking.