Monday, August 28, 2017

Bulldog Canyon Trailhead to Pass Mountain Trail

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.
A nice, roomy trailhead
The "Bulldog" 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).
Cactus blooms
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.
LENGTH: 1.4 miles one way (trailhead to PM)
or 10.3 miles roundtrip with Pass Mountain Loop
RATING: easy-difficult
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.
Maricopa Trail:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Prickly Pedal Mountain Bike Race 2018

Prickly Pedal Mountain Bike Race
January 20th, 2018
Lake Pleasant: site of the finish line and after party
Featuring an approximately 40-mile course, the Prickly Pedal is a showcase of Maricopa Trail diversity. The race features numerous short, steep, rocky climbs and descents beginning in Cave Creek and winding up at Lake Pleasant.  Prickly Pedal isn’t just a great race, it’s an opportunity to support the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation (MT+PF), a nonprofit organization which strives to provide sustainable financial support to the newly constructed Maricopa Regional Trail System.
Register before January 16th, 2018 for early bird pricing.

Maricopa Trail: Spear S Ranch Day Hike

Spear S Ranch Trailhead
Spanning 311 miles and linking 10 county parks, the Maricopa Trail is a unifying, non-motorized system of existing paths, closed roads and new construction. Forming a massive circle around the Valley of the Sun, its course brushes against busy recreation sites, suburban neighborhoods and desert wilds with entry points in the parks and at special trailheads. Spear S Trailhead was established in 2011 and gives access to a splendid stretch of rangeland via paths established by the Hohokam people who lived in the area from about 300 B.C. to 1500 A.D. This is also cattle country, and a plaque near the trailhead features a list of early homesteaders whose roads and ranch sites still imprint the land.
The Maricopa Trail
The Spear S trailhead is located roughly halfway between Lake Pleasant, Cave Creek Regional Park and Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, making it a convenient launch for both day hikes and backpacking.
One scenic option is to do an out-and-back hike to the Cave Creek area parks. This route jogs along saguaro inhabited hillsides, shady washes painted green with plant life and heart-stirring open desert terrain with 3,219' Apache Peak as a central beacon along the way. Trail signs are posted at all junctions, but can be easy to miss. At the 2.9-mile point, the trail splits.
                                                                                       Turn north to continue to Spur Cross or
                                                                                       stay straight for Cave Creek.
4 miles one-way to Cave Creek Regional Park, or
6 miles one-way to Spur Cross Conservation Area
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 2,050' - 2,295' (as described here)
BEST SEASON: October -April
GETTING THERE: Andy Kunasek Trailhead at Spear S Ranch: 41799 N. New River Road
Go north on Interstate 17 to Carefree Hwy (State Route 74) exit. Go east (right) to 7th Street, turn north (left) and go 4.5 miles on 7th St. (turns into New River Road) to the trailhead on the right (located just before Linda Lane).
INFO & MAPS:Maricopa County Parks & Recreation,



Welcome to the blog extension of the Maricopa Trail + Park Foundation. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to protecting, promoting, developing, and maintaining one of the nation’s largest county park systems.
The Maricopa Trail winds through the county, connecting the 10 Maricopa County Regional parks on a 315-mile scenic and diverse route. The parks that are connected through the trail are: Buckeye Hills Regional Park, Cave Creek Regional Park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, San Tan Mountain Regional Park, South Mountain Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Usery Mountain Regional Park and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
For a map of the Maricopa Trail click here:
The Maricopa Trail – Maricopa County

The trail is VERY near completion and as we approach the "golden spike" moment, we 
want to:
• Raise awareness of the trail.
• Encourage people to get out and hike.
• Share trail reviews and hiker-provided comments and photos.
• Post news updates.
• Invite you to fun trail events.
• Inspire you to embrace stewardship by becoming a volunteer or trail crew team member.
Visit the Maricopa Trail and Park website: