The Arizona Trail has several connector trails between mountain ranges. This is a 3 mile segment between the Rincon Mountains and the Santa Rita Mountains heading south from Colossal Cave Park to Marsh Station Road.
The trail is brand new and well maintained with some great panoramic views of the Rincon and Santa Rita mountains. It traverses a low set of foothills of the Rincon's out of Colossal Cave park.
The trail head starts in the "Cowboy" parking lot which is part of the La Posta Puemata Ranch located within the parks boundaries. At the west end of the parking lot there is a small picnic ground with an aluminum gate. This is where a small connector trail goes across the wash up a small incline to intersect the main Arizona trail. Go right on the AZT to begin the small climb up and over the saddle. The trail has a few long switchbacks and then parallels the side of the mountain gradually gaining altitude. At the saddle the castle comes into view to the east. Yes, I said castle... it sits on the next hill over and is owned by an exocentric man and wife that I guess wanted to fulfill there own version of a dream home. The only thing missing is the mote. I was on constant lookout for knights or trolls on this section of the hike. From here the trail ascends gradually into the valley below heading towards marsh station road and I-10. This section of desert to a desert dweller is OK but not spectacular, mesquite palo verde and a few saguaros.
You can avoid the park fee by starting this hike at the marsh station trail head of the AZT. The park does not open until 9AM.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.