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Saturday, August 1, 2009


PASS MOUNTAIN TRAIL Usery Mountain Regional Park Situated on over 3,000 acres of unspoiled desert terrain just south of Mesa, Usery Mountain Regional Park has more than 29 miles of hiking trails. Pass Mountain trail is the most difficult and longest of the twenty designated routes within the park. Open to horseback riders and hikers, the path makes a wide loop around the multiple 3,000-foot-high peaks of Pass Mountain for continual panoramic views of cholla-dotted arid plains and the jagged volcanic ridgelines of both the Superstition and Goldfield mountains. When hiked in a counter-clockwise direction, most of the strenuous uphill hiking happens in the first couple of miles as the trail climbs 600 feet before it levels off on the slopes beneath the peaks. After that, the route rambles over minor humps and shallow ravines until at near the 4-mile-point, it encounters a wide pass with spectacular views of a sprawling valley. Beyond the pass, the trail winds downhill through a maze of boulders cactuses, and palo verde trees that frame distant urban landscapes. LENGTH: 7.1-mile loop RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 2,000-2,600 feet FEE: $7 daily fee per vehicle. GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take U.S. 60 east to exit 191, (Ellsworth Road) and go north (right). Continue on Ellsworth (which will turn into Usery Pass Road) for 6.7 miles and then turn right onto Usery Park Road. Follow the signs to the Horse Staging Area. The trail begins at the east side of the lot where there are porta potties and shaded picnic tables but no water. INFORMATION:

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