The Maricopa County Regional Park System is a real beauty – a well planned system of conservation areas comprising 10 parks encircling the Phoenix metropolitan area with more than 120,000 acres in all. The County’s Parks and Recreation web page is a great source of information on the parks including facilities, events, and locations. The parks offer a variety of recreation opportunities, including water recreation at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park. As you might imagine, there are also innumerable opportunities for hiking of all sorts, ranging from easy and interpretive trails to challenging hikes requiring some scrambling or climbing. Many lead to rewarding views of the valley.
The parks listed here are those with special hiking opportunities.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park
White Tank Mountain Regional Park is 29,572 acres of rugged mountain and foothills terrain, and is the largest regional park in Maricopa County. There is something here for everyone, with hikes ranging in level from easiest to extremely difficult.
Cave Creek Regional Park
2,922 acre park in the upper Sonoran Desert with mostly easy to moderate hikes.
Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Another really big one, the Estrella Mountain Regional Park is 19,840 acres. There are around 40 miles of trails for hiking here, ranging in level from easy to moderately difficult.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Located in Fountain Hills, and partly adjacent to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park is made up of 21,099 acres of desert landscape in the lower Verde River basin. Hikes range from easy to moderately difficult.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
Over 10,000 acres and hikes ranging from easy to moderately difficult.
Usery Mountain Regional Park
Adjacent to the Tonto National Forest, this smaller regional park of 3,648 acres has a lot to offer. Several trails exist within the park itself, but there are also trailheads here for longer and more challenging hikes that are largely within the Tonto National Forest.
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
Spur Cross Ranch is the Maricopa County Regional Park System’s most recent addition, and contains 2,154 acres of rugged upper Sonoran Desert eoncompassing Elephant Mountain. Trails here range from easy to extremely difficult.