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<November 2014>
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Trail Rating Guide

During the hotter months when the temperatures and/or humidity is high, trails will be rated at least one level higher.

Rating Symbol Brief
Definition
Surface Grade Obstacles/
Steps

easiest
Paved Accessible Trail Paved or hard and smooth
None


easy

Mostly smooth and wide Dirt with occasional unevenness
2" or less, rocks and ruts

moderate
Mostly smooth, variable width Dirt with occasional unevenness
<8" rocks and ruts, loose material

moderate difficult
Mostly uneven surfaces Dirt and rock
<12" rocks and ruts, loose material

difficult
Long rocky segments with possible drops and exposure Dirt and loose rock with continual unevenness
12" or taller, loose rocks, exposure to drops

extremely difficult
Long rocky segments with possible drops and exposure Dirt and loose rock with continual unevenness
12" or taller, loose rocks, exposure to drops and excessive heat >90F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Trail Rating Card
/ Black and White Trail Rating Card

Know your ability and choose the right trail

Every year, more than 200 people have to be rescued while hiking in parks and preserves. Make an informed decision on which trail to hike. Choose a trail that is within your ability and your hike will be more enjoyable.

Be sure to ALWAYS:

  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Tell someone where you are hiking and when you expect to return.
  • Carry plenty of water for your entire hike. Remember water for your dog.
  • When your water is half gone, turn around and return to the trailhead.
  • Carry a cellphone.
  • Don't hike alone.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking.
  • Use maps, know where you are going and what kind of terrain you are hiking on.

In addition to the tips above, here are a couple of basic safety refreshers to keep in mind when recreating outdoors:

  • Carry a bandana in your pack. They are light-weight and can be used for numerous situations. If you are beginning to suffer from excessive heat, wet the bandana and place on the nape of the neck and/or the forehead. This will help to cool you down quickly. Seek shade under a tree or bush.
  • Map miles are not the same as effort miles. On good trails, hikers can go up to 2.5 MPH. On most trails, count on no more than 1 or 1.5 MPH, especially if admiring the views, cooling off under Palo Verde trees, taking pictures, etc.
  • Going uphill takes more time. A 1,000’ climb equals a mile of effort and adds 10 or 20 minutes. Downhill is no faster if the trail is bad.
  • Be wary of rattlesnakes, particularly at night and when it is relatively cool.
  • Carry something to signal with – a police whistle, signal mirror, and matches for a fire, a colored panel – to make you visible.
  • Be considerate – leave no trace.

 

 

Rocks and Streams Walk - Spur Cross
Beginning Desert Hiking - Usery Park
Taste the Desert: Mesquite - San Tan
**Time Change** Sonoran Desert Simplified - San Tan

Take Your Walk to the Desert - Spur Cross - 11/24/2014
Backyard Birding - Usery Park - 11/26/2014
Night Shredders - San Tan - 11/26/2014
Thursday Bird Walk - Usery Park - 11/27/2014
Trail Blazers: Fitness Hike - San Tan - 11/28/2014
Fridays Fitness Hike- McDowell - Sonoran Trail- DIFFICULT - 11/28/2014
"Just for Kids" - Little Desert Explorers - Usery Park - 11/28/2014
Introduction to Desert Plants - Usery Park - 11/28/2014
The Geology of Arizona - Usery Park - 11/28/2014
Progressive Fitness Hike #5 - Usery Park - 11/29/2014
Basic Geocaching - McDowell - 11/29/2014
Saturday Bird Walk - Usery Park - 11/29/2014
Clay Mine Adventure! - Cave Creek Regional Park - 11/29/2014
Wildlife Safari - Usery Park - 11/29/2014
Shoreline Fishing Talk @ Visitor Center - Lake Pleasant - 11/29/2014
Lunch with the Critters -Estrella Park - 11/29/2014
Man on the Mountain: Historical Hike - San Tan - 11/29/2014
Things to Do At or Near Lake Pleasant - Lake Pleasant - 11/29/2014
Campground Nature Walk - Usery Park - 11/29/2014
Animal Flashlight Walk - San Tan - 11/29/2014
Stargazing For Everyone -Estrella Park - 11/29/2014
New to Arizona? - Usery Park - 11/30/2014
Become a Jr. Ranger - McDowell - 11/30/2014
Kids Series: The Saguaro Cactus -Estrella Park - 11/30/2014
The Desert Tortoise and Friends - McDowell - 11/30/2014
more...


General Park Hours
Sun-Thu: 6am-8pm
Fri-Sat: 6am-10pm
- 365 days a year 

Headquarters Admin Hours
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm
except holidays 

Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Dept.
The Headquarter Administrative Offices are located at:
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Unit Operations Center

Morristown, AZ 85342
Ph: 602-506-2930 or (928) 501-9200
Fax: (602)372-8596
maricopacountyparks@mail.maricopa.gov

 
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Main Parks Homepage  

To visit a city website, click on the link below...
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