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I17 to Lake Pleasant - Maricopa Trail
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12 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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I17 to Lake Pleasant - Maricopa TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 05 2017
DarthStiller
Hiking13.88 Miles 945 AEG
Hiking13.88 Miles   5 Hrs   26 Mns   2.58 mph
945 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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mt98dew
As I’ve been looking for new trail segments in the Phoenix area that have been recently completed that I haven’t hiked yet, I notice on the Maricopa County website that there are some new segments of the Maricopa Trail that are actual trails, as opposed to designated canal segments that double as part of the trial. This section of the Maricopa Trail has actually been here for a few years, but I’ve spent the last few years catching up on new trails in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve and the MSP Northern section. About 6 years ago I hiked a segment of the Maricopa Trail east of I-17, and also wrote up a description on it. This finally seemed like the right time to go back up and try to hike more of it.

I hadn’t hiked with Brian in about 6 years, our last adventure being an aborted attempt at a hike off of FR422 north of Four Peaks. This hike was in his area of town, and he seemed interested.

Our expectations for this hike were low. Brian had already hiked it and I had heard the scenery wasn’t much. Having driven up to Lake Pleasant a few times already recently, I could tell as much. However, the recent winter rains have temporarily transformed the area, as it likely has anywhere in town right now. Green was the predominant color, as opposed to the brown and grey that will likely take over in another three months. Wildflowers had begun to bloom everywhere as well, adding a little color to the green.

We started from the Beardsley TH at the southern end of Lake Pleasant and hiked east towards I-17. The very beginning there are some climbs and descents over and around the lake and dam infrastructure. A glimpse of the lake was probably the nicest thing to see, other than the green. The trail then descends into a small canyon, which was pretty overgrown and had a lot of flowers.

After the canyon the trail flattened out, crossed a couple paved roads and passed under some powerlines. What normally would be annoying infrastructure was tuned out from all the vegetation and flowers around us. The trail in several spots was also damp and even muddy in spots. Right before the trail turns eastward, there was a huge cut into the side of an embankment for some type of service road. We could see some big industrial-type development to the east, but couldn’t tell what it was exactly. Didn’t look like typical residential building.

Our last mile the trail passed by some strewn garbage and junk, along with assorted broken bottles and empty gun shells. I think there is probably a lot more in that area than what we would see, which was again thankfully obscured by the vegetation.

We planned to turn back at the 7 mile mark, making an even 14 mile hike. Right as we hit 6.9 miles, we encountered New River, according to the RouteScout mapping. It was flowing like a small stream, which was nearly astounding to see in the desert. Looking past the stream in front of us, we could the river bed further to the east. It looked like there was even more water running through there a few days earlier. A lot of the sand looked freshly carved out from running water in spots.

On the way back we would hear some target shooting nearby, but nothing real hairy. Didn’t see any wildlife, but at the start we heard a coyote yapping/barking, then a few minutes later heard the whole pack howling. The soft dirt on the trail had a lot of what appeared to be wild burro prints, but no burros spotted on this hike.

I also broke in a new hiking stick I bought at Costco a week earlier. Worked out very nicely.
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