Little Big Park
Excellent hike at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, just outside of Queen Creek, Pinal County. Not far from my home in Chandler. The most strenuous sections are the sandy wash areas that really slow you down. Watch for equestrian traffic and cyclists, though I was really all alone for most of the hike. Great expansive valley view, towering rock wall cliffs and amazingly huge ancient saguaro cacti. There are benches throughout the hike where you can rest if you like and take in the vista.
Check out my gps route. The trail is extremely well marked but if you are like me, it's comforting to have that track log just in case you get turned around or confused. Also, because the park is open from 5 AM to 10 PM, if you happen to be hiking before dawn or after dusk you could have the gps track log to guide you when you can't see the signs. The mileage is just over 9 miles. The hike is really along three trails the SanTan Trail, Malpais Trail and the Hedgehog Trail. I lost gps signal briefly along part of the Malpais wash area but you just stay in the wash and follow the signs.
According to the park trail map and literature there are currently six trails with plans for more. In fact I noticed a couple of pieces of heavy earth moving equipment in a couple spots, evidence of trail grooming. One cyclist I spoke with said that he was amazed at the work they've done in the park since his last visit a week ago. In addition to more trails the park literature states there are plans for campsites also.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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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