Pass Mountain Trail
ElevationAscent: 963' 294 m
Descent: -964' -294 m
High: 2,634' 803 m
Low: 1,885' 574 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
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“A 7 mile (11.7 km) loop trail that offers nice elevation gains and scenic views.”— Doug Baer
The trail gets really rocky as you turn north to begin your ascent. The trail becomes less rugged once you climb to the saddle and wind around the backside of the mountain. I think it is pretty flat up there, with maybe a small elevation loss over a couple of miles. The views there are excellent, and it is worth stopping a few times to check them out, especially in the spring.
The trail becomes pretty narrow at some points, and you do need to share with mountain bikers, but this trail is nowhere near as crowded as Wind Cave. You can hear the gunshots from the nearby rifle range as you round the northern edge of Pass Mountain, and there are signs warning you about the archery range as you start heading south. It is always a good idea to stay on the trail and your side of the fence. The western side of the trail is more sand and gravel than the rocks of the eastern side, so watch your footing as you descend into some more washes. I've seen people slip down a hill and run into a barrel cactus. It isn't pretty.
The trail is pretty obvious and well marked, although, in my opinion, not as well marked as the rest of the trail system in this park.
Carry plenty of water and plan to either do the whole loop or turn back at a given point. There are no shortcuts back to the parking area. Along its southern edge, this trail does connect to the Cat Peaks Pass Trail, so you can access the rest of the trail system from there, and it connects on the northern edge to the Maricopa Trail (look for the signs).
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Land Manager: Maricopa County Parks