Monday, September 25, 2017

Sample the Maricopa Trail in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Here’s a fine example of how the Maricopa Trail ties in with existing routes, parks and preserves on its 300-plus-mile trip around the Valley.
Desert views on the Gooseneck Trail
Within the central segment of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the Maricopa Trail shares dirt with the Gooseneck Trail.  
Desert Christmas Cactus grown along the trail
From the Fraesfield trailhead at 136th Street and Rio Verde Drive, the Gooseneck/MT cuts a wiggly, southbound course that twists and bends in a continuous dance through the desert.  Users dodge among massive granite outcroppings-- like Rock Knob --with majestic views of Four Peaks, Superstition Wilderness and the Verde River Valley.
Rock Knob formation & Four Peaks
At the 4.4-mile point, the Maricopa Trail leaves the preserve and enters McDowell Mountain Regional Park tracing the Pemberton Trail. You can continue on through the park or return the way you came for an easy day hike that sweeps out in lazy arcs around the prickly plants and geological curiosities of our beautiful Sonoran Desert.
LENGTH: 8.8 out-and-back
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 2500' - 2813'
HOURS: sunrise to sunset daily
Fraesfield Trailhead: 13400 E. Rio Verde Dr.