youtube videoA Hiker's Guide to Kiwanis Trail at South Mountain Park
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|South mountain state park az trails|
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|South mountain state park az trails|
|South mountain state park az trails|
South Mountains (Arizona)
Mountain range in south Phoenix, Arizona
The South Mountains (O'odham: Muhaḍagĭ Doʼag, Yavapai: Wi:ki'tiyeda,Maricopa: Vii Kwxas), known locally as simply South Mountain, is a mountain range in central Arizona in south Phoenix, Arizona. It is on public land managed by the city of Phoenix as South Mountain Park.
Geologically, the South Mountains are thought to be a metamorphic core complex: evidence of movement of the North American tectonic plates from southwest to northeast and northeast to southwest, pushing up a best buy credit card pay my bill of mountain ranges including South Mountain. Other ridges with parallel orientation lie within the basin covered by basin fill sediments. The structural basin forms the current Phoenix metro area, which appears flat like a lake around mountains that rise over it like islands. The buried ridges are in the same orientation as the South Mountains, about one km high, and about one km apart from peak to peak, perhaps about 15 of them underneath the basin fill.
The mountain, e filing login through netbanking hdfc with the nearby Sierra Estrella, is considered sacred by the Akimel O'odham and the Kwevkepaya band of Yavapai.
The South Mountain Preserve is part of the Phoenix Parks System and is the second largest municipal park in the world. The preserve features recreational facilities such as ramadas, hiking and mountain biking trails, and equestrian facilities. The mountains overlook downtown Phoenix, AZ.
The major peaks of the South Mountains are (W to E):
- Maricopa Peak (2523 ft)
- Goat Hill (2526 ft)
- Mount Suppoa (South Mountain, TV Tower Peak), highest point in the mountains at 2690 ft (820 m). Contains numerous radio and television transmitting towers serving the Phoenix area, including those of the ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC network-affiliated south mountain state park az trails alt="" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/Dobbins_Lookout_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg/200px-Dobbins_Lookout_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg" width="200" height="133">Dobbins Lookout at the summit of South Mountain.
- Dobbins Lookout is the highest point accessible by trail at 2,330 feet (710 meters).
- Alta Ridge is the ridge on the eastern end of Maricopa peak.
- Telegraph Pass is the gap between South Mountain to the east and Goat Hill to the West.
- Fat Man's Pass is located on the National Trail and is a rock formation.
- Mystery Castle is in the foothills on the north side and was built from odd materials and trash around 1930 as a private residence.
- There are approximately 20 communications towers on the peak of South Mountain.
- There are ruins of both ancient Indian and more contemporary origin, and there are many petroglyphs carved into the desert varnish on the rocks.
Geography and ecology
A spur plateau of the Salt River Mountains was described by an early survey of the area as the dividing feature of the Salt River valley.
There are a variety of flora and fauna within the Salt River Mountains. One of the notable tree species here is the elephant tree, Bursera microphylla.
Coordinates: 33°20′0″N112°3′45″W / 33.33333°N 112.06250°W / 33.33333; -112.06250
Hidden Valley Trail, South Mountain Park
Entry to either side of the valley is via a narrow gap in the surrounding rocks - Fat Man's Passon the near edge and a natural tunnel on the far side. Including the loop through the valley, the round trip hike is 3.5 miles long and takes about 2 hours. The National Trail is also open to horse and mountain bike traffic but the Hidden Valley part is for foot travel only.
The well used path first crosses a short stretch of hillside to a saddle above a southeast-trending ravine, the lower end of which is bordered by a new housing estate in west Chandler, just 1.5 miles away from the pristine desert on the mountain top. Past here the trail moves back to the north side of the mountains and stays close to the ridge summit though always a little way below the highest part. The open countryside allows frequent glimpses of Phoenix to the north but the majority of the route is over flattish land, kept out of sight of the city by intervening rocks. The path has a few climbs between longer sections of gradual descent, and for much of the way runs in or along dry sandy washes, passing numerous large granite boulders and plenty of cacti, most prominent being the ubiquitous saguaro. Lizards are much in evidence, and even the usually secretive chuckwalla may often be spotted. Rattlesnakes are quite common, especially in early morning and early evening.
A junction after 1.5 miles marks the edge of Hidden Valley; the National Trail veers off northwards and a slightly narrower, rougher path enters the basin, rejoining the main trail on the far side. It soon reaches Fat Man's Pass, a passage between two smooth-sided boulders just one foot wide; large-framed people can easily bypass the gap, if required. The valley is filled with rather bigger rocks than the surroundings, still with many saguaro, and the trail winds its way across by following a dry wash. Some places require a little scrambling, where the streambed drops a few feet over pour-offs. The path exits the basin via a second narrow passage, formed by several huge boulders lying on top of a narrow ravine, creating a natural tunnel. One side of the passage has nice, eroded formations, making this the most photogenic part of the hike. Not far after the tunnel the path meets the National Trail once more, from where a steep walk westwards reaches the start of the loop again, after passing another junction (with the Mormon Trail).
South Mountain Park and Trails
South Mountain Park Trail Map
South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the country, covering about 16,000 acres and including more where can i donate baby food near me 51 miles of trails. Dobbins Peak, the highest point accessible to visitors (and you can get drive there if hiking isn't in your plan), is 2,330 feet in elevation. Not too high for the hiker or bicyclist who isn't ready for steep trails, but high enough to offer great views of the city. Here are pictures of a scenic drive through South Mountain Park.
This map of South Mountain Park/Preserve is intended to assist you in finding the parking areas and trailheads. Hiking trail markings are general and are not designed to measure distances.
The gated roadways, trailhead parking areas, restrooms, and ramadas are open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., at which time the gates to the park close. Trails are open until 11 p.m. On one Sunday of each month, South Mountain Park is closed to all vehicular traffic. It is called Silent Sunday. Check the South Mountain website for any scheduled closings and Sundays when cars/trucks are not permitted in the park.
South Mountain Park is located in South Phoenix. From Baseline Road and Central Avenue, head south on Central until you come to the park entrance.
- From I-17 going south, exit 7th Ave./Central Ave: Stay on Frontage Road to Central, turn right to go south.
- From I-10 going east, exit 7th Ave: Go south mountain state park az trails to Baseline Road, east on Baseline to Central Ave., turn right to go south on Central Ave.
- From I-10 going west, exit Baseline Road, turn left, go to Central Ave. and turn left (south).
See this location on Google Maps.
Ranger Office Phone: 602-262-7393
All times are subject to change without notice.
Continue to 2 of 4 below.
The winding road to Dobbins Point in South Mountain Park. The park is located in the southern part of Phoenix, AZ. Driving at South Mountain Park isn't for the nervous driver or passenger.
Continue to 3 of 4 below.
Views and Towers
It doesn't take long on your way to the top of South Mountain to see a spectacular view of downtown Phoenix to the north and Camelback Mountain to the east of downtown.
From the Gila Valley Lookout, you can see beautiful views of Tempe, Chandler, and the south side of South Mountain, including Ahwatukee Foothills and Mountain Park Ranch.
If you keep going up past Dobbins Point, you can get up close and personal with the South Mountain towers.
Continue to 4 of 4 below.
Hikers and picnickers share South Mountain Park with horses and their riders. Several stables offer rides in South Mountain Park.
South Mountain Park has more than 50 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and riding horses.
Ramadas and Picnic Areas
At South Mountain Park, there are several ramadas available for barbecuing and picnicking. In this picture, you can see the towers at the top of South Mountain.
Hidden Valley via Mormon Trail
There is a spot within Phoenix’s South Mountain where a natural and enchanting playground exists. This area, known as Hidden Valley, is a bit more concealed from the weather than nearby landscapes, which creates special rock formations that make this a unique trail to explore.
This short half-mile loop will take you through a narrow rock formation (known as Fat Man’s Pass), a wash area full of wildlife and a naturally formed rock tunnel to walk through.
In order to get to this wild play area, we first need to take a couple of hiking trails. Seeing as how Hidden Valley is located off of National Trail (which runs the entire length of South Mountain), there are are kettering schools open today ways of getting there. The most direct path is to take Mormon Trail to National and then to Hidden Valley.
The Mormon Trail begins with an immediate incline and it doesn’t let up until you are at the junction with National Trail. Mormon Trail is pretty short seeing as how it clear lake bank and trust co a little bit over a mile long. So while it may get you breathing heavy and your heart rate up, it won’t take too long to do so.
Once you have reached the ending trail marker for Mormon Trail you’ll see two trail markers. One for Mormon Loop on your left and another for National Trail straight ahead. From here you will proceed to hike forward toward National Trail for only about 0.1 of a mile. The trail will dip down and then flatten itself out.
Hidden Valley is a loop trail that branches off of National. Therefore you will see two separate trail markers for Hidden Valley. The first trail marker (at around 1.3 miles) will indicate that it’s in tunnel side of Hidden Valley. If you go down further on National, you will see the second trail marker (at around 1.6 miles) indicating that it’s the Fat Man’s Pass side of Hidden Valley.
I would suggest starting Hidden Valley at the Fat Man’s Pass end. The reason is because from Fat Man’s Pass you will be hiking down, and will be able to see the paths laid out better. Coming up in the opposite direction, much of your view would be blocked by the boulders and it might be more difficult to navigate.
For this article, I started Hidden Valley at Fat Man’s Pass.
As you have probably imagined so far, Fat Man’s Pass is a very narrow path that is incorporated into the trail. There are two big boulders that are very close together, creating a narrow pathway for hikers to go through. And by narrow, I really mean narrow! I had to take off my hydration pack in order to squeeze through. But, in case you are not able to fit, no worries! You can actually walk on top of the rock and then hop down onto the trail below. Or you can also slide down on one of the rocks as well. The rocks are extremely smooth, due to being hidden and protected from weather erosion so sliding down is as easy as sliding down any other slide in a playground.
Sliding down Fat Man’s Pass or you can walk through the narrow pathway
After getting through Fat Man’s Pass, you then will be walking in a sandy wash area. There is a lot of wildlife, and it’s not uncommon to see hummingbirds fluttering around. This area feels like a magical place, as most of the other trails can be too populated to see this type of wildlife freely roaming on the trail.
There are moments where you will see scenes, unlike anything else found on South Mountain. You will be surrounded by rocks that are laying on top of each other in exceptional ways, creating different formations against the blue sky above.
This area is so wide that you are able to walk up to these rocks and climb, inspect and explore what is around them. Or, they can offer a relaxing space to sit and breathe in all the nature around you.
As you continue on, there will some areas where the trail will abruptly have these large rocks that have seemingly stopped the trail dead in its tracks. In fact, though, when you walk up to the end of these rocks you’ll notice that the trail continues. There are no markers within this area so it’s up to you to decide how you want to navigate down these sections of rocks. Again, this is nothing technical, it’s just how you want to decide what is the best way for you.
At around a total of 1.9 miles there may be some confusion. The route will lead you to a section where you are standing on a big rock looking out at the trail below you. These rocks are very slippery and smooth so walking down them can be unstable. Instead of hiking down the rocks below, if you look to the right you will notice a little side path where you can get down by walking around the bigger rocks which feels much safer.
Around 1.9 miles you can go down the steep rock, or there is another path to the right
As you continue, the ending of this loop will not disappoint. Just as it started off with the unique Fat Man’s Pass, it will end with another unique formation, a natural rock tunnel that you can enter. As you enter you will immediately feel a cooler breeze hit your face and the temperature drop. Throughout this entire hike the rocks have been very smooth, but they are almost fake looking in the tunnel. It looks like it could be a plastic mold of the rock tunnel, and that it can’t be real.
Tunnel at a distance
Inside the tunnel
View of tunnel on other side
Once past the tunnel, the trail continues a little further and you will see a trail marker directing you to turn left to get back to the area where the Mormon and National Trail junction is located. Then after a short distance you will meet up with a second marker indicating to turn right onto National to get you back to the Mormon Trail and head back to the parking lot.
Tags: Arizona, AZ, dog-friendly, Fat Mans Pass, hidden valley, hike, Hiking, Mormon Trail, National South mountain state park az trails, Phoenix, Photography, South Mountain, State Park, Trail Write-Ups
A Hike and a Bite: South Mountain, Phoenix
Mention hiking in Phoenix, and a few prominent spots likely come to mind – Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, Peralta Trail in the Superstitions.
Each is amazing in its own way – offering variations on stunning desert terrain and sweeping views. But they all come with another, less attractive feature as well – throngs of hikers.
On the other hand, mention South Mountain, and many people, even Arizonans, will draw a blank. Even though it’s the largest of Phoenix’s parks, the 16,000-acre South Mountain Preserve usually isn’t included in the same category as the other popular hiking areas.
And that’s good news for those who do venture to the South Phoenix park. The day I visited, I encountered only a few other hikers on the trail, and I had the trail’s summit views all to myself.
Another major plus of the South Mountain area? The Farm at South Mountain, a charming pecan grove-cum-eatery that features, among other restaurants, the picnic-friendly and rustic Farm Kitchen.
Because of its proximity to the hiking and mountain biking trails of the South Mountain Preserve, The Farm makes for a perfect “Hike and a Bite” adventure – another in my blog series of beautiful trails and the delicious refreshments often available nearby.
While any of the preserve’s more than 30 trails would make for a stellar desert hike on a spring day, the Mormon Trailhas a number of points in its favor: Consistently great views of the Valley of the Sun; plenty south mountain state park az trails desert plant life (think prickly cholla and towering saguaro cacti); stunning rock formations; a short 1.2-mile route to the summit; and relatively few crowds.
Although the trail is designated as multi-use, it does not attract the kind of mountain-biking traffic that the nearby highly rated National and Desert Classic routes tend to bring in.
What hikers can expect, though, is a steep climb to the top. The elevation rises about verizon wireless 800 number to pay bill feet in the 1.2-mile ascent. And the rocky terrain can make for tricky footing in places. Still, the hike is rated as moderate, and it is less strenuous than trails on Camelback Mountain, or Piestewa Peak.
And the pay-off at the top is, arguably, comparable. The peak at the 1.2-mile mark offers a birds-eye view of the entire metro area, set off by the distant Phoenix skyline.From the trailhead parking lot off 24th Street and Valley View Avenue, the Mormon Trail begins climbing immediately, and except for a few level stretches, does not subside until the top. Plan to stop numerous times along the route – both to catch your breath and to soak in the views.
Another advantage of the Mormon Trail is its proximity to other popular South Mountain trails, which can extend your hike to five miles and up. Signs at the top point to routes for the longer Mormon Loop, the National Trail, the Javelina Trail, and the Ridgeline Trail – each of which features continued classic desert terrain.
As with any Arizona hiking, a couple of warnings are in order: Along with the desert plant life comes desert wildlife south mountain state park az trails namely snakes and lizards. It pays to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes, which are known to make frequent appearances along the trail. And it might go without saying, but carrying enough water is crucial on this and any Phoenix-area hike. Most hiking websites recommend drinking about a liter of water per hour, and more when temperatures exceed 85 degrees.
Before heading to The Farm for your well-deserved picnic lunch, it pays to drive up to Dobbins Lookout– a 2,330-foot-high observation point in the South Mountain area.
The road to the top is windy and steep, but the payoff is incredible. A stone observation deck – constructed by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s – offers a cool vantage point for the metro-Phoenix view spread out far below.
After getting your fill of the views, a stop at The Farm is definitely in order.
While the business features several restaurants, including the fine-dining Quiessence, I found The Farm Kitchen to a be a delightful end to a morning of hiking. With its walk-up counter, customers can choose from a variety of sandwiches, soups, seasonal salads and baked goods.
Wicker picnic baskets are available, and you can take your lunch to the picnic tables in the huge grassy area and relax under the shady pecan trees. Even though I’ve lived in Arizona for years, I wasn’t familiar with the South Mountain Preserve, beyond the area’s many radio towers that light up the night sky. I thoroughly enjoyed making a new hiking discovery.
The South Mountain Preserve is located at 10919 South Central Avenue, Phoenix.
Category: A hike and a bite, Arizona, cactus, Desert, Destinations, Food, hiking, Near, Sightseeing, trails, Uncategorized
Tags: A hike and a bite, Mormon Trail, Phoenix Arizona, Phoenix trails, South Mountain Preserve, The Farm at South Mountain
Get outside and take a hike, but where to start? In the Tempe/Phoenix area, there are many choices of hiking trails. Here’s a quick guide to some of our favorite Tempe and Phoenix hiking trails.
- Papago Park offers several easy hikes to choose from and it’s easy to get to from any part of the Valley. The trailhead just west of the parking lot at College and Curry is an easy hike that provides views of downtown Tempe and Tempe Town Lake from the summits. This trail is also home to Loma del Rio, a Hohokam ruin. To get to the ruin, continue along the path towards the freeway, and then veer right. Once you pass the summit of the next hill, you’ll see the ruin next to a ramada.
- There’s another popular trailhead on the west side of Papago Park. You can access it by turning west into the parking lot just across Galvin Parkway from the entrance to The Phoenix Zoo, located just north of Van Buren. Here you can access the Double Butte Loop, a trail that is great for mountain bikers and hikers, leading north towards the picturesque red buttes.
- And, perhaps the most well-traveled path in Papago Park leads to Hole in the Rock, a very appropriately named butte. You can get to this trail by entering The Phoenix Zoo parking lot. Turn left once you enter the zoo and continue until you see an additional parking lot near the butte, next to the lagoon. The trail to Hole in the Rock is a quick hike, maybe 5 or 10 minutes. This is a really popular spot, especially around the time that the sun is setting, but the view from the top is just lovely.
- Papago Park is great for hiking, biking and bringing your dog. View an overview of the park with some more information on all the trails.
South Mountain Park
- The trails on the east side of South Mountain Park and Preserve, the country’s largest municipal park can be accessed from 48th Street, just north of Guadalupe Rd. You can also enter the Arizona Grand Resort off of Baseline and the I-10, and go south past the resort and golf course, turn right on Guadalupe and right on 48th Street. There are multiple trail options here, from flat paths to challenging climbs that are popular for hikers and bikers.
- One of my favorites is the National Trail to the Mormon Loop. It’s about 6 miles round trip. The main trail head at this location, Pima Canyon, reopened in January 2018 after renovation work was completed. Now, you’ll find more parking spaces and expanded restrooms and water bottle filling stations.
- The trails vary from quick trips to longer hikes. Some trails are relatively flat and others are more steep. Check the City of Phoenix website for more detailed information about South Mountain trails.
- Another great spot for a hike is Piestewa Peak. It is basically a StairMaster heaven! It is a great leg workout for sure, but the views of the valley from the top is amazing. Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area surround the base of Piestewa Peak. There are numerous trailheads in this area, but the main one for the peak itself is located off of Lincoln Drive, just west of 24th Street. Turn east onto Squaw Peak Drive and look for the parking lot adjacent to the trail. It’s not an easy hike, but it is a rewarding climb. I’m also a fan of the trailhead off of 32nd Street, on south mountain state park az trails north side of Lincoln. This south mountain state park az trails continues for quite a ways but of course you can choose the best stopping point for you. Be on the lookout for the sparkling white boulders along the path.
- As one of more difficult hikes, Piestewa Peak is fairly steep and a great workout with views of Phoenix. View this map to see what others said about the trail and to learn more about Piestewa Peak.
- Perhaps one of the most accessible hikes is “A” Mountain (aka Hayden Butte), located in Downtown Tempe. There are trailheads located behind Tempe Mission Palms Hotel off of Third and Fourth Street and Mill Avenue, behind the Hayden Flour Mill at Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway and behind the Tempe Transportation Center on Veterans Way and College Avenue. Like most trails in the area, this is a preserve, so just look for the trailhead signs and stay on the marked paths. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for petroglyphs that were left by from Tempe’s first settlers, the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People. The last part of the hike is steep, but the view from the top is a great reward for work well done. And, when you’re finished, the restaurants and taverns along Mill Avenue are ultra-convenient.
- Although not a trail for biking, this is definitely the one to hike for amazing views of Tempe and the surrounding desert. Bring your dog on a leash and enjoy the short and sweet hike that provides a great workout.
- This iconic landmark in Phoenix is said to look like a camel’s back (hence the name). There are two trailheads for Camelback Mountain, each with its own challenges. This is not an easy climb, so come prepared – flip flops will not serve you well. The Echo Canyon trailhead is located off of McDonald Drive, just east of Tatum Boulevard. There are a few very steep climbs on this trail. It’s definitely not for a beginning hiker. Going north on 44th Street past Camelback Road, the road will curve. Stay to the right and at the light at McDonald, continue east (right) and turn right on Echo Canyon Drive. There’s a parking lot at the end of the road. During peak hours, like weekend mornings, parking is at a premium so bring your patience along with your hiking boots! Hikers are no longer allowed to queue in a line and wait for a spot.
- The Cholla trailhead is located off of Invergordon Road, just north of Chaparral Road. Parking is located along Invergordon south of Cholla Lane (in between Chaparral and Jackrabbit Road.) The trailhead can be accessed by walking west on Cholla Lane. This trail has a few more switchbacks than the Echo Canyon trail, but there are fewer spots where you’ll have to use your arms to pull yourself up the hill. Both the Cholla trail and Echo Canyon trail end at the same place – a summit with a gorgeous 360 view of the metro area. *Effective March 28, 2020, and until further notice, Camelback Mountain’s Cholla Trail will be temporarily closed for maintenance. Check here for more updates*
- Trails are open sunrise to sunset for hikers to enjoy beautiful views of the city. Dogs are no longer permitted on either trail, but you are sure to see your fair share desert critters. For more information on the trails at Camelback Mountain, head over to their website.
Are there other trails that you like that I didn’t mention? Please comment below. I’d love to hear about your favorites!
Tag us in your photos @TempeTourism or use #OurTempe.
Written Toni Smith
An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.
South Mountain Reservation
South Mountain Reservation covers 2,112 acres in the central section of Essex County, extending through the municipalities of West Orange, Maplewood, and Millburn, bordering South South mountain state park az trails, between the first and second ridges of the Watchung Mountain Range. The presence of the early Lenape Indians lingers in the name given to the Watchung—the "high hills."
The reservation has changed only slightly through the years. It's been preserved primarily in its wild state. Woodlands abound in a variety of hardwood trees, and tall hemlocks tower above streams, creeks and ponds. The west branch of the Rahway River flows through the valley. A reservoir and watershed owned by the City of Orange lies in the northern tract.
The South Mountain Recreation Complex lies within its boundaries. The vistas of New York, Elizabeth, Union, Staten Island, and Newark can be viewed from the eastern ridge, 550 feet above the community of Millburn. Deep in the woods a 25-foot waterfall at Hemlock Falls is a dramatic feature.
Largest of the Park System's reservations, it was built from land purchases begun in 1895—the first year of the Park Commission's life. It took a decade to untangle the deeds and assemble all the lands at South Mountain.
Before he delegated design of the Essex Parks to his stepson's firm, Frederick Law Olmsted visited the newly acquired reservation. He regarded it as some of the most beautiful and promising terrain he had ever seen. The design of South Mountain was finalized by the Olmsted Brothers in stages over the years. A good deal of construction work--trails, foot bridges, shelters, etc.—was carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.
The roadway on Crest Drive has been closed to vehicular traffic at the old deer paddock so that you may enjoy a leisurely walk down to Washington Rock. This is the Park System's bona fide Revolutionary War historic site, dating back to the late 1700's when Beacon Signal Station 9 was located here—one of 23 beacons built by General Washington to observe British troop movements quartered on Staten Island and New York City.
It was from this outlook that, on June 23, 1780, Essex County and Newark Militia were first warned that the British had launched an attack westward toward "the Gap," (Hobart Gap), a natural pathway to Washington's troops encamped at Morris Town. In a pincer movement designed to gain access to the Gap, Hessian troops fought bitterly along Vaux Hall Road, with the British advanced along Galloping Hill Road, until they were repelled, the Hessians at the base of the mountain and the British in Millburn—called Millville in those days. Washington Rock served again as a lookout for the Army when reactivated during the War bank of america com activate debit card 1812.