The longest trail in the park!
Overview: The East Ridgeline Trail starts on the northern end at the Peart Road trailhead (though it can also be accessed from the Heness Road trailhead) and follows the foothills of the Casa Grande Mountains down towards Arizona City.
Warning: This hike is long (for Casa Grande standards), hot, dry, and shadeless. There are plenty of cacti and reptiles. Use appropriate caution.
History: The trail was recently (2011) revamped by the City of Casa Grande. There were a bevy of informal wildcat trails across the area, but since the city has put an effort into maintaining this trail, among others, the informal trails have seen a decrease in their usage.
Hike: The East Ridgeline Trail is slightly misnamed as it does not follow a ridgeline. This is seemingly what the locals call it, however, so that is what I will call it here. If I find a more official name, I'll change it. The trail starts at the Peart Road trailhead. The trail branches off immediately to the east from the parking area, and is very faint at the trailhead. Look for a boot-worn trail heading perpendicular to the parking lot, towards the small drainage in the middleground.
After passing by the drainage and the saguaro next to the trail, the ERT becomes much better defined and easier to follow. It loops around the low ridge near the parking area and then starts climbing up above the Heness Basin (where another dirt parking area and trailhead is). The trail crosses the Heness/Peart closed road and climbs to a small saddle, where you get a good look at the next basin. This pattern repeats itself all along the eastern foothills of the Casa Grande Mountains. The trail stays above the valley floor and below the steepest parts of the actual Casa Grande Mountains as it winds its way between different drainage basins. The geology of this trail is much more mundane that the Ridgeline Trail, but the fauna is more diverse, as is the flora. There are a few gradual switchbacks as the trail climbs towards saddles or drops towards posted junctions. The trail is well constructed and well maintained by volunteers and the City of Casa Grande. You can turn around at any point you decide and make your way back to the Peart (or Heness) trailhead. Alternatively, you can continue down the trail to where it intersects either Arica Road, out of Eloy or the southern Henness Road trailhead at the southern end of the Casa Grande Mountains. This ~14 mile round trip is popular with mountain bikers, but not as much with hikers. Still, with several trailhead options to increase or decrease the length of the hike to your desire, good hiking and good times can be had along the ERT.
Water Sources: None, bring your own.
Camping: Not allowed.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.
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