Views · Wildlife
This is a nice long run with a good amount of variety in terrain. It is mostly graded for mountain bike riding, but makes a great run, too. Note that shade is sparse and there is nowhere to get water or hit the bathroom anywhere along the way, but the views are nice, especially on the hills overlooking the road near the last few miles.
There is a little parking at the Bulldog Trailhead, and a very crowded spot for parking at the Granite
Reef Recreation area (Tonto forest pass required here). Another option is starting at the Wind Cave Trail
trailhead within the Usery Mountain Regional Park (park access fee). Starting at Wind Cave Trail
trailhead and running out to Bulldog and back is a nice and typically uncrowded route that covers about 10 km.
Carry adequate water. There is not much shade and there are not a lot of options for exiting this trail without following it to the end. Cell service becomes really spotty as you get closer to the base of the mountains, and even once you exit the system and get down by the river.
This trail is segment 27 of the Maricopa Trail. It is a connector/spur that joins Usery Mountain Regional Park to the rest of the Maricopa Trail.
This segment connects the Granite
Reef Recreation Area on Bush Highway via the Wild Horse Trail
and continuing to portions of the Hawes Trail
system's Granite Trail
, Saguaro Trail
and the "Twisted Sister
" (social?) trail through the Forest Service’s trail network, then about 1km along Usery Pass Road to the Bulldog Recreation area parking and into the Usery Mountain Regional Park.
There is a portion at the end of this track that runs behind a guard rail on the north side of N Bush Hwy for about 1 km from the Hawes System trail exit to the Granite
Reef Recreation area (parking lot and river access) where this track currently terminates.
Signage is sparse, being limited to the essential trail junctions. Follow the small but colorful "Maricopa Trail" signs and their accompanying arrows.
The trail on the west side of Usery Pass Rd is groomed for mountain bikes, which seem to be most of the traffic on this trail. The typical route for them seems to go from west to east.
Flora & Fauna
Saguaro, ocotillo, prickly pear, various other desert plants. Birds, lizards, ground squirrels and snakes. There are wild mustangs in the area. The portion of the trail from Usery Pass Road west is called the Wild Horse Trail
for this reason.
Shared By: Doug Baer