Views · Wildlife
Parking at the Usery Mountain Park Visitor's Center requires paying $7 park fee.
This is the "official" section of the Maricopa Trail within Usery Mountain Park. The terminus of the trail is at the Visitor's Center, at the end of the Lost Sheep Trail
, but I use it here as the starting point since I have an annual pass to the Maricopa Parks (as opposed to a Tonto Pass needed to park at the Bulldog trailhead) that is my end of line for this run.
Be prepared for some traffic (MTB and a other runners at the beginning, but that thins out a lot once you break off the Pass Mountain Trail
for the final push which is, thankfully, downhill!
Need to Know
Take plenty of water, especially in the summer. Don't start in the middle of the day: there is pretty much zero shade on this route.
This is a very runnable way to link up trails in the park.
This trail is very well signed while you are on trails within the Usery Mountain Park. It gets a little less so as you cross into the Tonto National Forest. Just follow the "Maricopa Trail" signs and the little arrows pasted on them and you'll be fine. The two places that might be confusing are the parking lot crossing at the Horse Staging Area—the junction between the Blevins Trail
and the Pass Mountain Trail
—and a half a kilometer off the Pass Mountain Trail
towards Bulldog parking where I swear there WAS a sign but there is just a cairn at a fork in the trail. Stay to the right.
This trail collection starts out from the Visitor's Center on the new Lost Sheep Trail
, which is graded for mountain bikes and has quite a bit of traffic on it. Continuing on (stay left) to the Moon Rock Trail
for a bit and then to Blevins Trail
(turn left) to the horse staging area, you cut through and get on the Pass Mountain Trail
towards the Wind Cave Trail
trailhead, then keep following Pass Mountain Trail
onto the Maricopa Trail: Pass Mountain Trail Connector
towards the Bulldog parking area. From there, you can continue on along the road up to the Wild Horse Trail
to continue your Maricopa Trail journey as far as you'd like to take it.
It is roughly 3 km back to the Visitor's Center along the road if you don't want to run the whole path in reverse to get back to your vehicle.
Flora & Fauna
Typical Sonoran Desert flora and fauna. Lots of Saguaro, various cholla, ocotillo, and other desert plants. Watch for the "fangy" things.
History & Background
This is a new extension into the park (2019) with new signs and maps (thanks to a partnership with REI).
Shared By: Doug Baer