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<December 2015>
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
Surface Grade Obstacles/

Paved Accessible Trail Paved or hard and smooth


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

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

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.



Desert Walk 'n' Talk - San Tan

Ranger-led Walk from the Campground - McDowell - 12/2/2015
Rock Art of Spur Cross - 12/2/2015
Night Shredders - San Tan - 12/2/2015
Fitness Thursday -Estrella Park - 12/3/2015
Sunrise Hike on Lousley Hill - McDowell - 12/3/2015
Friends and Fitness Hike - NEW SERIES (White Tank Mtn.) - 12/3/2015
Three Mile Thursday - Usery Park - 12/3/2015
"We're All in This Together!" Desert Plant Walk - White Tank Mtn. - 12/3/2015
Discover the Desert Hawk Trail - Usery Park - 12/3/2015
All about Gila Monsters - San Tan - 12/3/2015
Friday Fitness Hike-Horse Staging Area/4 Peaks - McDowell - 12/4/2015
Hike the Wind Cave Trail - Usery Park - 12/4/2015
Cottonwood Trail Exploring Hike - Lake Pleasant - 12/4/2015
Tiny Tumbleweeds: Toddler Stroll - San Tan - 12/4/2015
Amazing Desert Plants - Usery Park - 12/4/2015
"Just for Kids" - Storytime in the Desert - Usery Park - 12/4/2015
Hiking 101 - San Tan - 12/4/2015
Lake Pleasant and It's History - Lake Pleasant - 12/4/2015
Snake Feeding - White Tank Mtn. - 12/4/2015
*DATE CHANGE* Hike Into History - Willow Springs - White Tank Mtn. - 12/5/2015
*NEW LOCATION* Early Bird Walk with Sonoran Audubon - White Tank Mtn - 12/5/2015
Progressive Fitness Hike #5 - Usery Park - 12/5/2015
Hohokam Houses - the Ruins of Spur Cross - 12/5/2015
NEW! - Strike a Pose, Sonoran-Style! (Family Yoga) - White Tank Mtn. - 12/5/2015
Passport Estrella: The Hike Every Trail Challenge! Day 6 - 12/5/2015

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

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