Pass Mountain Trail

Apache Junction, Arizona 85220

Pass Mountain Trail

Pass Mountain Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Pass Mountain Trail forms a large loop around its namesake landmark in the East Valley. This pleasant and easy trail offers grand views of the Goldfield Mountains, Four Peaks, and Superstition Mountains.

Pass Mountain Trail begins in Usery Park but runs mostly through Tonto National Forest. Encircling the mountain of the same name, it takes visitors from the desert floor through dry washes, across mountainsides, and up to a saddle with outstanding views. The trail is gentle on the lungs and legs, making it ideal for a family day hike."

More Pass Mountain Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Day and Overnight Hikes in Tonto National Forest (Menasha Ridge Press)
Tony Padegimas
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"This convenient hike is suitable for showing children, dogs, relatives from back East, and other limited hikers the wonders of the desert without marry of the hardships of the desert. The trip loops around the slopes of Pass Mountain, in and out of Usery Mountain State Park, in the Goldfield range near Mesa. OUTSTANDING FEATURES: Cacti, cliffs, city vistas, access to Wind Cave." Read more
Best Loop Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books)
Bruce Grubbs
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"Starting in popular Usery Mountain Park near east Mesa, this easy loop on a well-graded trail swings around Pass Mountain though fine Sonoran Desert and offers views of Four Peaks, and the Goldfield and Superstition Mountains. Once on the northeast side of Pass Mountain, it’s easy to forget that one of the country’s largest cities lies just over the ridge. Walk a few feet up the Wind Cave Trail to the point where the Pass Mountain Trail crosses. Turn left on the Pass Mountain Trail to start the loop. The trail heads north, crossing numerous dry washes and their intervening ridges. After just over a mile of this, the trail turns east and climbs gradually around the north side of Pass Mountain. The trail is in the Tonto National Forest now, and you can look northeast across a vast sweep of open desert, culminating in the rugged crest of the distant Mazatzal Mountains." Read more
Best Hikes Near Phoenix (Falcon Guides)
Bruce Grubbs
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"This trail starts in the Usery Mountain Regional Park, then spends most of its time in the Tonto National Forest, looping through the western Goldfield Mountains northeast of Mesa. It offers a fine sense of remoteness, considering its location near the greater Phoenix area. Once on the east side of Pass Mountain, you’ll be looking north and east toward three wilderness areas within a few dozen miles of the metropolitan area. After wet winters, this is a fine place to see desert wildflowers. A couple hundred yards from the start, turn left at a T intersection to begin the loop. The trail wanders north along the east side of the park facilities. After passing a final ramada and parking area, you’ll pass Wind Cave Trail; stay left. The trail works its way north along the west slopes of Pass Mountain. A fence marks the boundary of Tonto National Forest. Now the trail climbs gradually around the north side of the mountain." Read more
100 Classic Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books)
Scott S. Warren
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"Situated in the Goldfield Mountains, Pass Mountain rises some 1500 feet above the surrounding desert in a rugged and scenic manner. A wonderful way to take in its beauty is to hike the 7.1-mile Pass Mountain Loop, which circumnavigates the entire peak. Along the way both memorable scenery and a variety of Sonoran plant life are in plentiful supply. This hike begins at the southeast corner of the loop and follows it counterclockwise." Read more

Pass Mountain Trail Reviews

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A nice hike with some great views! Whoever said this trail was “easy” has not hiked it before. It is in the more moderate range, not difficult but you will get a decent workout.
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My husband and myself hiked this loop on a Monday morning, for the close proximity of the hike to Phoenix it is still really nice with great views of the saguaro cacti vegitation. It took us about 3 hours while stopping for sushi halfway that we packed and sat on the cliff face watching people grunt up the hill. Hike clockwise on the trail if you don't want to climb the big hill but you will have to go down it...nice trail very easy but surprisingly busy for a Monday! I am used to hard hikes this was very easy in my books.
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A long but enjoyable hike. A moderate hike and very pretty in March and April with the winter showers. Wouldn't recommend in the summer months.
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Great 3.5 hour hike that encircles Pass Mountain. The trail is part of the Usery Regional Park with many other hiking trails. A $5.00 fee is required and maps are provided. The Pass Mountain trail has some Canyon type hiking on the backside with views of the Goldfield Mountains and Superstition Mountains. If you do this hike be sure to also include the Wind Cave trail which has more elevation and fantastic views.
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This trail was gorgeous and a relatively easy hike, but I recommend doing it clockwise first, so you can avoid having to go up a set of insanely steep switchbacks to reach the pass. The only irritation (slight though it may be) was that nearly the last 2.5 - 3 miles were within shouting distance of the houses in north Apache Junction ("hey you, nice boat!"). Other than that, it was a pleasant hike, with much less traffic than many of the day hikes in the Phoenix valley. I highly recommend it, and as it's not strenuous, a perfect hike for the entire family.
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While the entrance to this trail is found in Usery Park, most of the trail leads through the southern section of the Tonto National Forest. Less frequented than other trails in Usery Park, the trail follows the base of Pass Mountain. Once on the east side of Pass Mountain hikers will be treated to breathtaking views of mountain ranges, including the Four Peaks wilderness and Superstition Mountains. When there has been sufficient rain, most of these hills are bathed in colorful poppies and wildflowers during February and March. Return to the same trail in April and May to see the giant Saguaros and other cacti in bloom. As this trail is one of the few in this area of Tonto National Forest, the eastern side of the mountain retains the feel of true wilderness. There are some gradual gradients leading to the crossing of a short saddle but almost anyone could hike this trail as long as they are accustomed to walking short to medium distances. This trail is an excellent option for those who are looking for a lesser-known trail with few people.

Pass Mountain Trail Photos

Trail Information

Apache Junction
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
620 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3.5 hours
Park open 6 a.m.–8 p.m. (till 10 p.m. Friday–Saturday); trail closes at sunset
2,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
2,620 feet
Top Elevation
Camping, Archery
Additional Use
USGS Apache Junction; park map available at entrance and
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018