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Cat Peaks Loop, AZ

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Guide 239 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
2.2 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,000 feet
Elevation Gain 160 feet
Accumulated Gain 320 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.6
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Author Trishness
author avatar Guides 14
Routes 0
Photos 720
Trips 187 map ( 1,244 miles )
Age 60 Female Gender
Location Apache Junction, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Any
Seasons   Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
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0 Alternative
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Easy Side Excursion
by Trishness

Cat's Peak Loop is an often overlooked side excursion trip that is accessed from Pass Mountain Trail in the Usery Mountain Recreation Area. It's a relatively flat trail that follows the terrain on the south side of Pass Mountain and is perfect for families, healthy seniors and injured middle-aged hikers like me! I've hiked Pass Mountain Loop at least half a dozen times in the past and never even took this trail but decided today was a good day to check it out. I tore an ankle tendon several months ago and this was a perfect trail to test out the ankle.

You can access this trail two ways. If you park at the main TH and pay the fee, you can head east on Pass Mountain Trail for a little over a mile and you'll see Cat's Peak on your right. You can also bypass the fee entirely and park at a small TH at the end of Meridian Road (NO FEE!!!!) and then head west across the wash and then southwest on Pass Mountain Trail for a mile and Cat's Peak will be on your left. The junction is well marked. I hiked it counterclockwise on this sunny Easter morning.

The trail itself is pretty hum-drum but is pretty at this time of year due to the colors and abundance of wildflowers. Lots of Brittlebush, Lupine, Fairy Dusters, Globemallow, Mexican Gold Poppies and Thistles were observed. The hedgehog cacti are just beginning to bloom in all their fuchsia splendor. I also saw lots of blooms on the prickly pears. There is no shade at all so I would recommend hiking this only in winter months through March. The loop hike was easy hiking as it circumnavigates Cat's Peak (2,144 ft). A nice off trail excursion might be to hike up the peak. However, I'd be careful as to the time of year you decide to do any off trail in this park since I encountered 2 rattlesnakes this morning... both on Cat's Peak Loop and none on Pass Mountain Trail.

It's a pretty easy and nice trail close to home. I would recommend it as a place to take out of town visitors in the spring for the wildflowers.

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2005-03-27 Trishness
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Cat Peaks Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Not much of a hike, but I did see 4 different snake species. I started out before sunrise and didn't see anyone until the end.

    Now that my snake count is burgeoning, my online dating profile has been blowing up. Unfortunately, my efforts of bringing snakes back into pop culture is a slow process and not everyone is hip on herping. Take this scenario for example:

    Typical date convo:

    Date: So what do you like to do?
    Me: Go herping.
    Date: What's that?
    Me: It's when you go outside and look for snakes.
    Date: That's weird.
    Me: What do you like to do?
    Date: Play Pokemon Go.
    Me: What's that?
    Date: It's when you go outside and look for computer animated creatures with your cellphone and throw imaginary balls at them.
    Me: Oh, that's not weird.

    Anyway, that wasn't a real conversation, but it very well could've been. So far my snake total for 2016 is 232. I have to stay local this weekend but hope to get out and explore some new area these coming weekends.
    Cat Peaks Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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.
    Cat Peaks Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    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.
    Cat Peaks Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This was a quick Morning hike now that the weather is cooling down. I started from the Spilway trail on Signal Butte and hiked up to the Meridian Trail, Blevins trail and then on the the Cat Peak loop trail and the back down Blevins, Meridian and Spilway back to home. I saw mostly Rabbits, Chipmunks and Lizards no Rattle Snakes today.
    Cat Peaks Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    This is a new side trip for me in Usery and it was the perfect choice since I'm nursing a torn ankle tendon. The trail from Meridian TH is pretty flat and basically follows the terrain on Pass Mtn Loop to Cat's Peak Loop. Nice wildflowers. Saw & heard two rattlers while on Cat's Peak Loop.......guess the warmer temps are bringing them out. Nice day for a hike and saw many people out on the main trail.

    Permit $$
    Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

    $7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

    $2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Meridian Trailhead
    Meridian Trailhead is located at the north terminus of Meridian Road between Mesa and Apache Junction.

    US60 to Signal Butte. Take Signal Butte north to University. East (right) onto University to Meridian. North (left) onto Meridian to the terminus. There is a small TH.


    Exit 202 Loop at Brown Road and travel east on Brown Road for about 3.5 miles. From Brown Road (Lost Dutchman Rd), travel North on Meridian for two miles to the trailhead parking area at the end of the road.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 34.1mi - 44 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 119mi - 2hr 11mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 176mi - 2hr 56mins
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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