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Meridian Trail, AZ

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Guide 83 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
1.9 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,830 feet
Elevation Gain 133 feet
Accumulated Gain 140 feet
Avg Time Round Trip < 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.5
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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1  2019-09-08 gummo
4  2019-07-28 gummo
2  2019-07-24 gummo
1  2019-05-25 gummo
1  2019-05-12 gummo
2  2019-05-05 gummo
1  2019-05-01 gummo
1  2019-04-22 gummo
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Author ck_1
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 0
Photos 120
Trips 117 map ( 396 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
an easy hike in Mesa
by ck_1

A few weeks ago someone posted a question about an easy hike in Mesa. This trail answers that request. The Meridian Trail from trailhead out and back is less than 2 miles. The trail ends at the Cat Peak area just south of Pass Mountains. This area is all within Usery Mountain Park. The trail(s) are well marked and easy to follow. The Meridian Trail starts from Meridian Road. The trailhead is on the west side of the road. There is enough room to pull your vehicle off and away from traffic. Don't confuse this trailhead with the trailhead at the northern terminus of Meridian Road. The Meridian Trail trailhead is considered local access only, but there is room to park as I said.

From the trailhead you can see where you are headed. There are two small peaks due west. Start walking. The trail is easy to follow, straight, and for the most part smooth. As the accompanying photos reveal, this trail is used a great deal by mountain bikers. We encountered a few on the trail as well as a group on horseback. Which reminds me... watch for road apples, they were everywhere on the trail. The Meridian trail will branch off to the south (left) on two separate trails. The first one you will encounter is the County Line Trail. This trail is also referred to as the Palo Verde Trail. The next trail will be the Spillway Trail, which you will pass after crossing a wash. Continue hiking west on the Meridian Trail. At this point you can't help but notice the rather large peaks directly to your right, or north. You may also notice the small cave in the closer peak, with a short spur trail heading up to it. You are looking at Cat Peak. At this point, you have had minimal elevation gain.
At about 8/10ths of a mile you hit Cat Peak Trail. Here you have an option. If you continue west on Meridian, the trail ends in about another 10th of a mile at a trail marker indicating the Blevins Trail, which continues west. You can continue on or turn around and head back to the trailhead. If you take Cat Peak Trail north (right) the trail will wind around the peak and connect to Cat Peak Pass Trail. The total distance is less than a 2/10ths of a mile. Cat Peak Pass Trail turns south and heads up to the Cat Peak Pass. From the pass you have wonderful views of the desert as well as Pass Mountains. To the west is a short spur trail heading to the peak. This is not a maintained trail and it is eroded. The peak area is a popular hangout, as the litter and broken glass reveal. Although it is not bad by any means, it certainly does distract.
From the pass, continue heading south as the trail descends from the pass. Within a hundred yards or so you connect with Blevins Trail. Turn left, and head back east. Within a few minutes you will return to the Meridian Trail. Head back the way you came. This hike would be a great short hike for visitors from back east, for families with children, or a father/son hike. The Cat Peak area allows for exploring but still remaining relatively safe. You are close to civilization, as the Meridian Trail follows a fence line and short road with homes. I plan to explore the area in more detail, but will be riding my mountain bike to do so.
Make sure you yield to horses, as they are plentiful. Connecting trails provide countless options, as the Pass Mountain Trail, Blevins Trail and Merkle Trail are all nearby.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2001-11-25 ck_1
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.

Most recent of 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
Meridian Trail
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Decided to go for a local hike again today as the weather forecast was a high of only 80 today. Besides doing the loop clockwise added in Meridian trail,Blevins trail portion of and wind cave trail. Still no rattlesnakes seen this year, maybe last year I saw more than usual almost every hike after March. Also it’s like a mini spring break with young people out on the Wind Cave trail wish the teachers would go back to work.Wind Cave trail remains the 3rd busiest outdoor treadmill in the area after Camelback and Piestewa peak summit.Maybe I’ll be awarded the curmudgeonpelli award soon. Was a nice day but a little warm about midday, after leaving the viewpoint on the loop only saw 6 other hikers.
Meridian Trail
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Sunday afternoon trail run on a long weekend. Needed to burn some calories before a dinner of rouladen, potatoes, and a CA zin. Air temps were reasonable, but that fat old Sun was hot! Despite that I cranked out my run at a good pace. I've been to this county park dozens of times and it never gets old... a real local gem.
Meridian Trail
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I went on my morning jog after my vacation in Idaho. Saw my 3rd gila monster on the trail minding its business. I wasn't too hot. I did stop a lot to look for snakes and such. I also caught a desert iguana that was stuck in a bush. I saw my first lesser nighthawk this year a few months ago, but this time, I was able to photograph one this time.
Meridian Trail
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It's about time that I start finding snakes, even if they were small common gopher snakes. I found 3, one was under a board that someone, possibly handsome, placed in the desert, and the other 2 were found in the open. I got to the trailhead late with 2 other cars there. Only one lizard seen and it was a small zebra-tail too quick for a pic. I might head there tomorrow, if I get inspired.
Meridian Trail
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Finally, I had to redeem myself after yesterday's debauchery. No coyote sighting, tho. The date is wrong. It's supposed to be 8/18/15. Oh well. Here's a cat video for the hell of it. ... IKJE
Meridian Trail
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San Simon Valley:
August 15th: I'm not having a good week. I have off this week and was supposed to go to TX with a herping group, but long story short, it got canceled. Oh kay, no big deal, I'll go to San Simon Valley. I had some problems on the way there. My jelly opened up in my suitcase and got all over my stuff. It wasn't actually that bad, but it was an omen. My back started to hurt a lot when I go to Portal, so I opted not to hike. I discovered that all the campgrounds were closed too, probably due to a flood, but they looked fine to me.

I went road cruising and saw someone else looking for snakes too. He told me he saw 60 snakes so far tonight. I honestly did not believe him, partly because it was early 7:30pm, partly because he was overly excited about seeing a dead black-tailed rattler, and mostly because he was from California. Nonetheless, there are a LOT of snakes here.

I hit the roads and ended up seeing 10 snakes, all rattlers. I was hoping to see more non-venomous snakes, but that didn't happen.

The next day, my ankle was killing me, which was odd, because I wasn't hiking. My back was sore, too. I discovered that I had a low tire. I went to change it but my rental car did not come with a jack. :x I called Roadside Assistance; they told me that I had to pay them for another vehicle and that it would take a minimum of 4 hours (which is really 6 to 7 hours). After I explained that it was not my fault that there was no jack in the car, they then stated that they would probably not charge me. I wasn't satisfied with that answer either, since I've dealt with greedy rental car corporations before, so I decided to return home after one night fix the tire on Discount Tire. I'll be back tho.

Meridian Trail:
The next day, I hiked Meridian Trail. First I uploaded my photos on my computer, BUT for some reason, my photos would not upload unless I lock my memory card. I didn't think much of it when I did that, so off I went to Meridian Trail.

I was going to bike it but my bike got a flat (again with these flats). Meridian Trail was rockin' with 90 degrees temps and a plethora of wildlife. Unfortunately, I was not rockin'. My ankle was killing me for the first 2 miles, along with my back. After 2 miles, my ankle and back were much better, as if they were not injured at all. How does that work? :-k

Anyway, after the first mile, I saw an adult longnosed snake. It kissed me when I pick it up, which people usually mistake for a bite. When I was handling this fella, I saw a baby longnosed snake a few feet away. Sweet! :D The adult was a red phase and the baby was a yellow phase, which made it even sweeter. What wasn't sweet was the fact that my camera was not working. I couldn't figure it out, so I let the snakes go with no photo. :cry: It would have been a great photo too. ](*,)

After the 2nd mile, I saw my 20th coyote of the year. :y: This is weird because I don't even look for coyotes. The coyote was about 100ft away and on the trail and running in circles. It would have been easy to shoot, but the shot would not have been that great anyway.

After seeing the coyote, my ankle and back felt better and still feels better. Also, I forgot to mention, I didn't have any water because both of my camelback bladders broke right before I left the home. :?

I then saw a baby coachwhip on the return to the car. I was also seeing baby coachwhips dead on the road, so they are out in abundance now. Well, at least they were until they got run over.

When I returned home, I discovered what was wrong with my camera. Since my memory card was locked, it prevented me from take photos. My other camera did not do that. Lesson learned. I prefer to learn my lessons from other people's mistakes and not my own.

Conclusion: Always take an extra memory card or camera, always hike on a sore ankle because it can magically get better during the hike, and check your rental car to see if it contains a jack.
Meridian Trail
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Took a stroll on Meridian Trail and saw my 16th coyote of the year. I also saw a fox. Unfortunately, I was a little slow on the draw to photograph them. I saw no snakes, which was sad. Perhaps the predators were out controlling their numbers, or it was an off day for me. The lizards were out in full force tho, especially the spiny lizards.
Meridian Trail
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Name's: gummo

Status: Top of the food chain with no known enemies

Mood: Smurfy

Mission: test new camera on snakes and to give my cat a break today.

Reason: Original plan got canceled

Weather: Sunny 81 degrees with a slight southeasterly breeze

Hike Time: 1214 to 1444 (military time used in honor of our veterans)

Sightings: lots of morning doves, one baby dback, one large coachwhip, one side-blotched lizard, and 2 zebratails.

Song: Things I Wonder by Taylor Swift (

Things I Really Do Wonder: (1) Why do British people lose their accents when they sing? (2) Why do we honor Columbus Day when he didn't even land on the United States? (3) Why do men have nipples?


So, I get a new camera because some people over the years have been asking me to photograph them, or their weddings, children, et al, because they see my wildlife photos online. What some people don't know is that just because I'm okay at photographing animals and stuff, doesn't mean that I'm good at photographing people. In fact, I know very little about photography and still cannot figure out what aperture is. Nonetheless, I am going to start learning about photography and start taking others up on their offers, if I have time for it, which leads me to the next paragraph.

Today, I was supposed to meet my friend and photograph her son for his 3rd birthday, but she canceled on me, so I decided to take advantage of the comfortable weather and practice my photography on some desert critters. I did well with the baby dback that I found early in the hike and even messed with the manual settings, but botched a lot of easy bird and lizard shots.

I then came across a large coachwhip, sunning itself. Like a gentleman, I was going to photograph as is until it decided to take off on me, so I was forced to grab it. Unfortunately, I did not know that I had the camera set on manual, so most of my photos were terrible. The coachwhip was not happy to be caught, but did not bite me, but not without trying. And then I accidentally deleted most of the coachwhip photos. ](*,)

Oh well, live and learn. I had fun anyway. I'm likin' this unseasonal warm weather we're having, and East Mesa is crawling with snakes, which is great for rodent control and the residents of the community. ;) Few folks were on the trail, which is good because I don't like putting on a show for people when I do my thing.
Meridian Trail
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Normally this is an uneventful exercise hike for me after work or before dinner I rarely take any camera other then my cell phone, but tonight I happened to have my regular camera and was treated to not 1 but 2 great horned owl's on the southern peak of Cat Peaks.

As I rounded the peak on the west side I heard hooting and all of a sudden I saw a rock move at the top of the peak I watched for a while and attempted to get some non fuzzy photos with my point and shoot super zoom while doing that I noticed another moving rock which happened to be a second owl. The second Owl turned around at which point the other Owl jumped on top of the lower owl and did this a few times. I am not 100% sure of what was going on but it looked like they were enjoying the beautiful sunset also.
Meridian Trail
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Loop hike comprised of Meridian- :next: County Line-- :next: Ruidoso-- :next: Cats Peak and back out Meridian. Needed to test out my foot after being grounded for months with painful plantar fasciitis. Five miles seems like the magic number for now.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Mesa & US60 - Exit 193 Signal Butte Road. Turn left and go over the freeway. Go 1/2 mile north on Signal Butte to Southern. Turn right on Southern and go 1 mile east to Meridian. Turn left on Meridian and ...

Ck1 wrote: Take Meridian Road north past Brown. Look for the trailhead on the west (left hand) side of the road. There is no parking area, but there is some room to leave a vehicle. The trailhead is south of Canyon Road and north of the park area where people fly remote controlled planes. There is a small dirt road directly north of the trailhead. I believe it is labled Hermosa Vista Road, but I am not certain. The trailhead is easy to miss.
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