Length: 7.4 miles
Located on the edge of the Phoenix Metro Area, just before the Superstition Mountains, Usery Mountain Park provides an environment which most would consider the quintessential Arizona. Although the park is better-known for the challenging Wind Cave Trail (which climbs the park's main feature - Usery Mountain), the lesser-traveled Pass Mountain Trail provides an alternative - and relatively easy - loop hike around the mountain's base.
Beginning from the county-controlled parking lots on the east side of the park, the trail begins by tracing its way through a lush desert landscape. With thousands of saguaro cacti growing from the surrounding sandy mounds, few places could be more stereotypical of the Sonoran Desert. The trail continues along this desert route for the first couple miles with little change.
After about two-miles, the trail turns west and begins a gradual incline. At the hill's summit, a majestic panoramic view of the Superstition Mountain begins to unfold before you! Eventually, a full view of the Superstition Ridgeline is directly before you with the even taller (and often snow-covered) Four Peaks Mountain looming in the background. This beautiful view persist for the next several miles as the trail slowly wraps itself around the west face of Usery Mountain.
Eventually, the trail again turns, leaving the Superstitions, and heading back towards the Metro Valley. The final miles are filled with wide views of the city and a return to the desert floor.
To see more pictures of the the Pass Mountain Trail, click here.