Visiting Usery Mountain Regional Park – Mesa, AZ

Usery Mountain Regional Park

We recently visited Usery Mountain Regional Park during our Spring Break trip to Arizona.  Part of the impressive McDowell Mountain Parks system, Usery Mountain Regional Park offers a myriad of outdoor activities to include hiking, mountain biking, camping, and more.  The nature center even offers yoga classes and wildlife talks.

Only a few minutes from the crowded Phoenix metropolitan area, Usery Mountain Regional Park offers a nature sanctuary close to town.  Whether you have a few hours to go explore, or a few weeks, there is plenty to keep you entertained.  We loved the four days that we spent there, and will be back again during “our year on the road.”

Hiking

The most popular activity at Usery Mountain Park is hiking, and for good reason—the park’s Wind Cave Trail is one you will remember.  This out-and-back 3-mile hike is visually stunning, and leads you to a large cave on the side of Pass Mountain.  There’s a fair amount of climbing on this hike, but the trail is wide and well-defined and anybody with a decent level of fitness and plenty of water can do it.

More adventurous hikers can continue on to the summit beyond the Wind Cave Trails or attempt the backcountry-style hike around Pass Mountain.  Both hikes provide expansive views of the Goldfield and Superstition mountains.

View from the top of Pass Mountain

Mountain Biking

Usery Mountain Park offers something for all levels of mountain bikers.  The Pass Mountain Trail provides plenty of challenges for advanced mountain bikers, and the smooth, non-technical trails in the flats are perfect for beginners and kids.  The best place to ride from is the Horse Staging Area.  You can get a good trail map from the entrance station, and all the trails are well-signed.  Avoid trails with “wash” in the name (too much sand), but beyond that feel free to explore and play.  Our favorite kid-friendly, beginner-friendly trails are Moon Rock and Blevins.

Camping

During our recent visit, we spent four nights in the park’s campground.  Most spots have great views of Pass Mountain and the desert.  We appreciated the clean showers and flush toilets.  In addition to the regular campground, there are also a couple of large group campgrounds that were very nice and would make a great spot for a family reunion or other event.

The park’s 73 camp spots are reservable and offer water and electrical hook-ups.   They cost $30 per night which is a bit more than we usually like to pay, but the views and clean facilities make up for it.

Camping at Usery Mountain Regional Park

Picnic area and Playground

Even if you’re not up for a strenuous hike or bike ride, Usery Mountain Park still has plenty to offer.  The day-use picnic area is really nice with plenty of spots, and includes a small but lovely playground.  We spent a rainy morning during our trip at the playground and had to drag our son away when it was time to go.

Playground at Usery Mountain Regional park

Usery Mountain Regional Park Visitor Center

The visitor center is located right before you pass the fee station.  They offer lots of events and activities here including stargazing, outdoor yoga and informational talks.  You can find their schedule on their website.

Know Before You Go

  • To enter the park, you must pay a $6 entry fee. If you plan on visiting often, or using other Maricopa County parks, consider buying an annual pass.
  • During the summer, temperatures in the park soar. Go early in the morning or late in the evening, and bring plenty of water.
  • Download and print a map of the park before you go, or ask for one at the fee station when entering the park.
  • The parking lot for Pass Mountain gets really busy on the weekends. Go early in the day to find a spot.
  • Learn more: http://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/usery-mountain-regional-park/