This section of the Maricopa Trail links the Bronco and Granite Mountain sections. It is a wide single track with long views as the trail goes over rolling terrain descending gradually. It is well signed and easy to follow but has no water. It is accessed from the north at the Tonto Trailhead at the Cave Creek District Ranger station on Bartlett Dam Road. From the south it is accessed via trail from Granite Mountain Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (MSP) or by ATV/4WD dirt tracks at the MSP border.
This one way description is in a southbound direction although I did it as an out and back hike. The trail begins between two signs on the right at the north end of the ranger station visitor parking lot. At 0.20 miles (N33.84987° W111.82659°) the spur trail intersects with the Maricopa Trail. Turn right to head south toward MSP which is this hike.
At 0.30 miles cross Bartlett Dam Road, then at 0.38 miles (N33.84851° W111.82614°) cross a dirt track by the road which provides alternate parking if the ranger station is closed. At 0.69 miles (N33.84518° W111.82511°) cross the first of several dirt tracks. At 0.79 miles cross another dirt track, then another at 1.06 miles (N33.84084° W111.82690°). Cross more dirt tracks at 1.12 miles (N33.84001° W111.82698°) and 1.27 miles. At 2.22 miles (N33.82758° W111.83321°) cross under the power lines which have been to your west and another dirt track. At 3.14 miles (N33.81780° W111.83880°) and 3.28 miles cross two more dirt tracks. Then cross under the power lines again so they are again on your west.
At 3.60 miles (N33.81490° W111.83366°) go through a gate and finish at the northern border of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve at 3.73 miles (N33.81415° W111.83273°). There is a fence and signage as well as a pass-through. Two 4x4 roads converge here, 2090 and 513. The Maricopa Trail follows the Dove Valley Trail once inside the MSP. If you plan on returning to the ranger station, you'll add another 494' of AEG.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
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.
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.