The Best Hikes of Maricopa Trail

262 Triplog Reviews in the Maricopa Trail
Most recent of 68 deeper Triplog Reviews
21.86 mi • 137 ft aeg
 Started at Hohokam Park and rode out to granite reef dam and back. I have done this ride several times before, but today I really wanted to see the water being released. It was a good day for a ride, lots of wild flowers on the route once you get out of town. At one point, around Higley, there was a security guy stopped he had spotted a Beaver(maybe otter? hard to tell) on one of the ladders in the canal. He said he called it in and someone from some agency was supposed to try to come get it out. He was still there when I returened. The water in the river was a decent amount and it was moving really good.

Video: [ youtube video ]

there was wildflowers
14.14 mi • 116 ft aeg
 I recently bought a GoPro ball-joint mount, which allows the camera to simultaneously rotate through both the x- and y-axis. Coverage is nearly 1080°, except through the mount itself.

Besides my route, my other plan for today was to change the GoPro’s angle every mile or so, showing the beauty ahead of me, to my right, below me, to my left, and of my own smiling mug.

From I-10, there’s a zippy little drop into Guadalupe. A FedEx semi took the marked speed bump at speed. 😬

The crushed gravel path on the south side of Guadalupe Rd. was the firmest dirt path between South Mountain and Freestone Park.

You can stay on concrete -- the official path -- the next 11½ miles to Freestone Park. (For variety, I sometimes rode the gravel canal road, or even broken blacktop pavement.) The official path changes canal sides several times.

The "canal" changes to muddy ditch east of Alma School Rd. I assume it runs underground (?), like an Arizona river, as it re-emerges just west of the canal paralleling Lindsay Rd.

All the major roads have a bike crossing signal. (There are no tunnels, and the only bridges are over I-10 and Loop 101.) The minor roads, just a hashed crosswalk.

The trail passes numerous small parks but only larger Carriage Lane Park and McQueen Park have restrooms. Several of the parks -- serving as 🌧 runoff sumps -- were underwater. McQueen Park had a nice duck pond.

Maybe my favorite part of the day was zipping down the Maricopa Trail railroad overpass. My kart racing days paid off: At the bottom, I took the quick left-right at speed, without crashing.

The next half mile skirts the north edge of downtown Gilbert. I enjoyed the smell of frying grease and dodging tourists on “electronic bikes”. 👋

The Maricopa Trail continues north along the west side of the Consolidated Canal East Branch, to an unprotected crossing. Instead, I used the signalled Lindsay Rd. crossing to access Freestone Park, where my supportive wife / shuttle driver was waiting for me with her haul of tasty Asian goodies from Lee Lee Supermarket in Chandler.

I’ve now completed 154.43 miles of the Maricopa Trail.

Bike Video:

Not really that I recall, other than brittlebush going nuts at Lindsay Rd. crossing.
4.76 mi • 638 ft aeg
Go John - Overton - Clay Mine
 Written a couple weeks ago: I was going to do a Spur Cross to Elephant Mtn Saddle hike but thanks to LosDosSloFolks trip report, due to muddy trails, I found a Plan B up in Cave Creek Park. I planned a route and started out on a heavy broken-cloud afternoon up the Go John Trail (my 20th time since 2008 which seems to be the magic year for past trip reports this past several days). I hadn't been up this way for a while and didn't realize what a nice grade and trail it is to get to the saddle. I was hoping for poppies, which of course there was, but they were cold like me so I would see fluted Poppies for most of the day. There would be scattered Lupine as well and like the other hikes I've done recently, the growth is stunted for a lot of them. Once again, did the freeze cause this? or is it just early? There were quite a few hikers out as I made my way up the hill. I did a lot of filming on this hike too as I continue to document our green desert.

I headed north down from the saddle and noted the fencing over the mine shaft that, back in the day, we could hike right next to. The trail, I believe, came straight up that backside (north). In fact, if you read the hiking guide you will see it describes almost a completely different trail as it went nearly straight up the hill from the trailhead and down the otherside. I specifically remember hiking that. I think it was changed by the spring of 2007 to its new layout. As I continued down the mountainside I noticed the burned trees and some cactus, but there were a few wildflowers scattered about too.

At the junction with Overton I encountered a couple hikers as I made my way up and over the saddle. I was getting quite cold by this time and the wind wasn't helping :( . If the sun would stay out it was tolerable. I hiked down the long switchbacks noting some cool geology off to the right (north); guess I never noticed the curving lines on the mountainside rock. It's nice once you get down to the flatter part as the saguaros start to line the trail. I noticed another mine shaft off to my left (southeast) that I hadn't noticed before.

The sun would try to come out now and then but the wind kept blowing. I did get some photos of the green desert floor below. The rockery along this trail is so pretty as well. I decided when I came to the Clay Mine Trail that I would take that as I had never been. I saw a horse group down the other trail but they must have gone the other way. I thot this trail was going to what I thot was the Clay Mine that you can see from the Overton Trail but it wraps around the hill and down. I hiked along the southside past the bench and then saw the horse riders coming up so decided just to hike over to where they had stopped for their photo op done by the Trail Guide. He had hobbled his horse while he aligned the 8 other riders for the group photo. It's always nice to visit with a horse :) .

I headed back and around the hillside to the junction with the Go John. This is really a nice trail with lots to look at between the rocks and flora but it was cold. The sun was teasing me to do the rest of the hike I had planned. I continued down the Go John admiring the extreme green desert floor with the beautiful cactus and filming it. There were many cold poppies too so I decided I was done for the day. I was pretty chilled so I think it was the better decision as I didn't warm up until I was almost home. It's tough being Tibberlocks!

Part 1 Go John, Overton [ youtube video ]
Part 2 Overton, Clay Mine [ youtube video ] (I haven't reviewed this one yet)

HAZel RS 2:11, 2.3MPH (7 min break)
WATCH 2:11-4:20PM, 2119-2530 elevation, 120 avg bpm/151 max burning 736 calories. Temp 57.1 mostly cloudy, breezy, 38% humidity.
7.82 mi • 1,318 ft aeg
 The Maricopa Trail is actually a deceptively nice stretch of trail for these parts. It’s a shame the last fire killed off so many saguaro, or it would have been even more scenic. We visited some rock piles in the area too and then made a stop at the Camp Creek water park and day care on our way out. Good day overall, with a fun group.
7 mi • 1,240 ft aeg
Blue Wash to Maricopa Trail and Beyond
 I started planning this day hike with FOTG. We would start at the Blue Wash TH and follow it to Camp Creek then follow the Maricopa Trail out to the vast expanse of foothills on the east side of that creek to do some off-trail exploring. By the time our planning was completed the day before departure, FOTG had added a couple more hiking partners in addition to Katie and their 2 dogs. The next day we gathered at the trailhead at 8:00am with only 3 other cars in the parking lot. Both the trail down Blue Wash and this section of the Maricopa trail have a good tread on reasonable grade so we made good time with the exception for stopping to take photos. We soon headed off-trail up to the top of a ridge which we explored at a leisurely pace before descending back to the Maricopa Trail for the return. The off-trail experience was pleasant with a minimum of prickly things blocking our route. Some evidence of ancient habitation may have been encountered.

We decided to follow the bottom of a dry wash back to Camp Creek with its confluence a short distance below Camp Creek Falls. The wash has a smooth sandy bottom with a trickle of water here -and-there which made for easy walking on a gradual descent besides offering an opportunity for the dogs to cool off and a scenic slot canyon section. I highly recommend making a lollypop loop hike encompassing the parallel section of the Maricopa Trail and the bottom of this wash. This provides both long distance scenic views of this area and the beauty of this small canyon bottom with a short detour to see Camp Creek Falls for a total distance of about 5 miles starting and ending at the Blue Wash TH.

When we reached Camp Creek we took a short detour upstream to look at the falls. The place was a real zoo with people and their kids and dogs all over the place on this sunny spring day. We took a few photos while John9L explored above the falls. He returned with the news that he had encountered a Diamondback rattlesnake. A warning that these critters are already out-and-about this early in the year (Feb 20). Returning to Blue Wash we started the slog uphill to the TH. The youngsters in the group (everyone except me) took off like horses returning to the barn while I maintained a "more measured" pace. It had been an enjoyable hike with good company and a chance to catch up with John9L who I hadn't seen since the Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike in October, 2014. Also was a pleasure to meet Michelle, a friend of Katie's.
8.3 mi • 829 ft aeg
 I’ve hiked all of the 15th Maricopa Trail segment, but never in one go: My second ever HikeArizona triplog (2010) was for the middle segment, from Buena Vista Lookout to Fat Man’s Pass. In 2019, I hiked the third segment from Fat Man’s Pass to Pima Canyon Trailhead, after looping out along Guadalupe Ridge. And in 2020, I hiked the first segment from Telegraph Pass to Buena Vista Lookout, while looping Corona de Loma.

Unlike Thanksgiving 2010, it was cold on Wednesday, with winds 12-15 mph, gusting up to 20 mph. Instead, I waited until Thursday, when it was slightly “warmer”, with winds much less. After what I went through in January, I didn’t need to get sick again.

Compared to previous segments, there were relatively few Maricopa Trail signs. The singletrack is obvious, but when in doubt, look for metal posts with a white N (National Trail) on purple sticker.

Just before Buena Vista Lookout, to the right, and 50 ft. above the road, is an old helipad with a good view of Chinese Wall.

Two loud tuners drove up—the first dangerously over the yellow line—as I approached the lookout. Thankfully, they did a U-turn and left. Maricopa Trail continues just the other side of the parking lot. As the trail dips towards a saddle, it is spotted with dog 💩 and graffiti. Tagging ugly, out of the way, places like underpasses, is one thing, but besmirching nature is a :pk: move.

I only saw three mountain bikes west of the lookout, but east of it MTBs were quite frequent, most of them making the rugged climb west from Pima Canyn TH. (I saw one guy walking his MTB up the “crazy hard” Waterfall).

I probably should have stayed at the Waterfall, but instead I took a sit down break at a bend just before Fat Man’s Pass. Of course, no mountain bikes rode by for twenty-eight minutes. Geez, that granite made my butt sore!

I squeezed through Fat Man's Pass in 2010, but not 2019, so I approached it with some concern. I had to take off my Camelbak, and empty my shirt pockets, but I made it through. Twice. (The second time on video.) Rather than continue on trail, I continued down wash towards Hidden Valley.

The Hidden Valley diversion is essentially the same distance as the Maricopa Trail, with less foot traffic, and no MTBs. Unlike 2020, there was no crowd at the slick rock crevice, so I was able to slide through. (Webber Mine was a tighter fit.)

Just before the trail turns to road at the stone cabin, three foreign gals -- maybe French? -- stopped on their MTBs. Despite not understanding their speech, I understood what they were looking for, and pointed them up National Trail. 😇

Just a few days ago, I mentioned on Haz I had not seen a roadrunner in probably years. Saw two today, including one who ran right in front of me as I finished my hike. (No, a coyote was not chasing him.)

I've now completed 141.27 of 240 Maricopa Trail miles

Hike Video:

Not sure what they were, but the north slopes of the Gila Range and Guadalupe Range were *dense* with yellow flowers, even in low temps (substantial?). Up top, on Maricopa Trail, flowers were light.
10.79 mi • 2,301 ft aeg
 Explored two more of Mike's possible routes to his spacious hilltop, but still no sign of that enigmatic goat! :?
25 mi • 4,177 ft aeg
Notorious Outlaw Search
 We explored three of legendary Mike's main routes to his airy mountaintop, but the hunt was futile. Either he's hanging out with Billy the Kid, perhaps taking a nap in the soft, abundant grass or has been kidnapped by desperados. Maybe next time...
6.6 mi • 425 ft aeg
Maricopa Trail - I-17 to Bob Bentley
 Started at 7am. Cool (43 degrees) and breezy again, just like yesterday. I'm actually getting smart...was able to park near the midway point of my intended hike. That way I can go both directions. Still doubling my mileage, but this seemed to work better. I suspected this would be a pretty dull stretch of the Maricopa Trail, and I wasn't far off. I hiked first from Pioneer Rd to I-17. There was an area that looked fire-damaged. A lot of rocks and cactus in this section.

Hiked back to the starting point and followed the MT west. Very, very flat, rocky and lots of staghorn cholla. And wind. Steady 15 mph breeze, which kept the temp from warming. Thought I'd lose my hat several times. This section follows the northern edge of the Ben Avery Range, and I could hear shots nearby. Best to heed the warning signs.

After .8 mile, the trail turns south and follows the western edge of the range. Very straight, rocky, flat and more staghorn cholla. The breeze kept things interesting. I followed the trail to the junction with the Bob Bentley trail.

Kind of glad I knocked out this part of the MT. Pretty nondescript, and I only saw one other person at a distance. I have a feeling other sections on the west side are similar to's just walking, without many great views.

Globe chamomile and grass on the east side, staghorn cholla on the west side.
10 mi • 902 ft aeg
 The weather was cooler than usual for late May so we decided to trek from Spur Cross over to CC regional. Toughest part was the car shuttle that morning.. :) Anyways, started from Spur Cross and completed most of the elevation gain within the first 3-4 miles... very gradual. Next, headed over to CC regional... passed by the trail that leads up to Elephant mtn on the way. We saw 2 other people in Spur that morning.. don't think the connecting trail is heavily used maybe by mtn bikes on the weekends. Anyways, finished at the Go John trail and then drove back to Spur to retrieve a car. Nice hike in terms of distance, scenery and solitude and a little bit of gain along the way.

end of page marker