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Monday, February 22, 2010

WIND CAVE

WIND CAVE Usery Mountain Regional Park Seriously—this hike feels longer than its advertised 1.5-mile length. That’s because the long, lazy route takes its time climbing in sweeping, serpentine style from the desert floor up the cliffs of Pass Mountain to the famous cave for which it is named. Then again, the reason why this hike feels so long might be because there are so many things of beauty to behold along the way. Contorted rock formations, hefty clumps of ocotillo cactuses, blooming wildflowers and countless scenic overlooks make this trail one to savor. Given its many attributes, it’s not surprising that this trail is the park’s most popular attraction---so, you should expect a lot of company when hiking this one. As advertised, the trail ends at the “wind cave” a shallow depression in the cliff walls. Worn slick by the feet of countless visitors, the rock walls of the cave are home to dozens of chipmunks who aren’t shy about begging for the “people food” snacks that could make them sick. Please help protect the health of these amusing critters by NOT feeding them. LENGTH: 3 miles roundtrip. RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 2,020 – 2,840 feet GETTING THERE; From Phoenix, go east on US 60 to exit 191, Ellsworth Road. Go north on Ellsworth for 7 miles to Usery Park Road, turn right and continue 1.7 miles to the horse staging trailhead. FEE: $6 daily fee per vehicle INFORMATION: Maricopa.gov/parks/usery/Directions.aspx LINK TO FACEBOOK PHOTOS: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=15991&id=1795269672&ref=pb

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