Bulldog Canyon Trailhead to Pass Mountain Trail
|View of Four Peaks|
Loop trails are fantastic inventions. Hiking on one feels sort of like a following a cinematographer filming a visually-rich sequence that ends where it began. Arizona has some impressive hiking hoops. Revered for their flowing, long lengths and community-unifying qualities, projects like the Flagstaff Loop Trail (42 miles), Prescott Circle Trail (54.4 miles) and the grand dame of them all--Maricopa Trail-- act as the glue for regional, non-motorized recreation systems. When complete (target 2017), the Maricopa Trail will form a 310-mile loop around Greater Phoenix, connecting parks, suburbia and surrounding cities. The thrill of trekking on fresh dirt is rekindled each time a new segment drifts into pristine tracts or provides an alternate path to familiar hiking haunts. With the recent opening of a 1.4-mile section in the East Valley, there's now another way to approach the popular Pass Mountain (PM) Trail. Previously, access to PM was only though Usery Mountain Regional Park or a lot off Meridian Road in Mesa. This new western approach from Bulldog Canyon Trailhead will eventually tie in with a yet-to-be-constructed corridor to the Granite Reef recreation area near the Salt River.
segment makes an easy, 300-foot ascent to the junction with 7.5-mile PM Trail
(not signed). Roughly 5.6 miles of the PM loop trail is on the Tonto National
Forest and there's no fee to hike on this scenic section. However, if you cross
into the part of the trail that's in Usery Mountain Park, be prepared to pay
the $2 per person fee (exact change required).
You can avoid the fee by heading
left at the junction. From here, its just under 2 miles to the saddle
overlooking a valley straddling the desert space between the Superstition and
Goldfield Mountains. This makes for a good turn around point for those left
their wallets at home or are not up to the 10.3-mile circuit.
|A nice, roomy trailhead|
LENGTH: 1.4 miles one way (trailhead to PM)
or 10.3 miles roundtrip with Pass Mountain Loop
ELEVATION: 2,010'- 2,340' (2,740' with PM)
FEE: $2 per person if you enter the park on foot. Exact change required.
From Phoenix, go east on US60 to the Ellsworth Road exit. Go north 8.2 miles north on Ellsworth (turns into Usery Pass Rd.) to the trailhead corral on the right past milepost 22 which is 1.6 miles north of the Usery Mountain Park entrance.