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by Stewart Aitchison & Bruce Grubbs (Falcon Guides)
© Stewart Aitchison & Bruce Grubbs/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
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.
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