Monday, January 6, 2014

Hiking at Usery Mountain Regional Park

A day in the desert

Our friends, Debbie & Ken, who we had volunteered with in Florida last year, have been staying in Scottsdale for the last couple of weeks, so we made plans to do some hiking together before they leave town and head down to the Everglades.

Usery Mountain Regional Park, in Mesa, has a lot of hiking trails to choose from, so we met them there, in the staging area, where most of the trails originate.










Blevins Trail


The Blevins Trail is a 2.9 mile loop through the desert which covers a wide range of landscape, crossing washes and getting close to the base of Pass Mountain.  It’s a fairly easy, level trail with lots of interesting views, so we decided to start out with that one.


desert trail

It was just after 11am when we started out, and the day was already beginning to warm us into the mid-70s.  It was a beautiful day for a walk in the desert.  The boys were wishing that they had brought bikes, because the trails here at Usery are great for mountain-biking, but they were good for walking, too . . . you just had to watch out for the cactii!



Prickly Pear



Most of them we know to stay away from, but some look so pretty and tempting . . .

They look soft and fuzzy!











the boys just couldn’t resist trying to touch them!

It's so tempting!

We found out later why they call them “jumping cholla” . . . we had stepped to the side of the trail while we talked to some folks on horses,

One huge horse - he was not standing on a hill!

and I felt a stabbing pain in my heel . . . a piece of cholla cactus had embedded in my foot!  Bryce was able to pull it out, but after a warning that they could go right through the soles of shoes, we all checked the bottoms of our shoes.  Almost all of us had spikes stuck in our shoes!  Luckily, Ken had a pair of pliers that we could use to pull them out.  After that, we made sure to stay on the trail – no shortcuts!

Cholla Cactii


Cholla Cactus

We continued on along the trail, enjoying the diversity of the desert landscape, sometimes looking at Pass Mountain,


Pass Mountain

and at other times we were looking at the Superstition Mountains in the distance.

Desert Trail











I’m not sure what Tom and Ken were talking about,

Tom & Ken - Solving world problems

but they just kept walking and talking, and soon we were making the turn that would take us back to the picnic area.

Blevins Trail











It was such a great day for a hike, and the desert offers more beauty than we expected!

Beautiful day in the desert


Ocotillo & Saguaro

Pass Mountain

Desert Landscape











We arrived back at the staging area after about an hour & a half, and claimed a picnic table for our lunch.

Picnic & Staging Area

After lunch, we were all feeling pretty well rested and it was early yet, so we decided to tackle another trail.  we refilled our water bottles and headed out again.     Filling up water bottles








The boys wanted to tackle the Wind Cave Trail, a 1-1/2 mile trail up the side of Pass Mountain, but the rest of us weren’t quite up to that challenge.  We decided to try the Vista Trail, which involved climbing over a smaller mountain,

Vista Trail

and offered some great views of the surrounding area.

Desert & Mountains










Where's Phoenix?


Overlooking the parking lot










While Nicolas, Ken and I took our time and enjoyed the view,

On the vista trail

Ken enjoying the vista, from vista trail










Bryce and Debbie made a bee-line for the top of the mountain,

Deby & Bryce waiting for the rest of us

Peace Cactus


and Tom found an interesting cactus!









These rocks looked like a nice spot to stop for a group picture!


Our hiking group

We finished the hike to the top, stopping for a 360 degree view,


before making our way down the other side, and back to the Meridian Trail which circled the base of the mountain.

Superstition Mountains in the distance


Almost back

By the time we got back to the staging area, we had hiked a total of about 4.5 miles and were ready to call it a day.  We were all pretty tired, but it was a great day and we really enjoyed it!

Debbie and Ken had invited us back to their buddy’s house in Scottsdale for a BBQ and swim in the heated pool and hot tub, so we followed them back to his house.  What a great way to finish off the day!  Thanks guys!


  1. The desert is really beautiful...your photos are wonderful!! Great way to spend time with friends, especially friends with a heated pool and hot tube:o))

  2. Oh, looks like home..;) I wonder how many miles we racked up on those trails while camphosting there last year. If you go back for mountain biking do the Moon Rock stretch - it's swoopy and fast. The trails with Wash in the name are too sandy. Blevins to Moon Rock to Blevins to Cats Peak and back to Blevins is a good route.


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