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<October 2015>

Welcome to the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department!

Maricopa County is home to one of the largest regional parks systems in the nation with over 120,000 acres of open space parks that include hundreds of miles of trails, campgrounds, nature centers and the Desert Outdoor Environmental Learning Center at Lake Pleasant.

Currently, there are 10 regional parks in the system which we're happy to report were visited by over 2.1 million people In 2013. Whether you're planning on hiking along a barrier-free trail, enjoying the scenic Sonoran Desert views on horseback, or peddling rigorously up a trail on a mountain bike, the parks offer a variety of opportunities for all types of users, ages and comfort levels. Best of all, Maricopa County's regional parks are all within a 45-minute drive from downtown Phoenix! Our pristine Sonoran Desert park system includes the following parks:

The department is staffed by a team that is passionate about what they do and dedicated to our mission and vision which are:

Vision: Our vision is to connect people with nature through regional parks, trails and programs, inspire an appreciation for the Sonoran desert beauty and natural open spaces, and create life-long positive memories.

Mission: Our mission, through responsible stewardship, is to provide the quality parks, trails, programs, services and experiences that energize visitors and create life-long users and advocates.

While the park system itself is vast, we operate with a lean crew of 79 full-time employees and utilize a multitude of park hosts and volunteers in every aspect of our operations to keep operating costs low. This allows us to allocate the funding generated from park entry fees towards capital improvement projects such as our new nature centers and quality programs and services. Our organizational structure is comprised of five divisions:

The park system continues to evolve as we strive to improve the facilities, programs and services we provide the community and feedback from visitors plays a large role in helping to shape that process. This year, in an effort to understand and appreciate how our operational and visitor spending benefits Maricopa County, the Department, in partnership with Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, sponsored Arizona State University to perform an economic impact analysis on eight of our 10 parks. Below are the results of the study:

If you have a question, compliment or concern, please don't hesitate to contact us at

Thank you for your patronage!

R.J. Cardin, Director
Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department


Fall 2012: Valley Forward presented Maricopa County with its prestigious Award of Merit at the 32 nd Annual Environmental Excellence Awards Banquet on September 29, 20012. The Parks and Recreation Department was recognized in the category of Livable Communities: Public Policy/Plans for the Vulture Mountains Cooperative Recreation Area Master Plan.  The Plan was recognized for its outstanding regional, cooperative vision of resource conservation, sustainability, innovation and contribution to fostering livable communities.  EPG Consulting, Maricopa County Supervisor and Chairman Max Wilson, Park’s staff, BLM, the Nature Conservancy, Arizona Game and Fish, MCDOT, residents and officials from Wickenburg and a host of others have contributed to making this an outstanding plan.

Summer 2012: A Maricopa County parks program giving home-schooled children outdoor science educational experiences was selected as a top national winner and one of 33 Maricopa County excellence awards announced by the National Association of Counties (NACO). The Usery Mountain Regional Park Home School Program received a Best of Category award, the highest award, in the parks and recreation category. The program is a partnership between the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department and the Arizona Science Center that focuses on meeting the needs of the home school community by combining traditional classroom instruction with outdoor interpretive programs. Programs are geared towards youth between the ages of six and ten years old and consist of a wide variety of topics, including desert plants, rocks, the water cycle and other natural phenomenon. To date, more than 400 students have attended these programs




Exploring the Dragonfly Trail - Spur Cross - 10/14/2015
Homeschool: Owls - San Tan - 10/14/2015
Sonoran Story, Craft, and Play Time - White Tank Mtn. - 10/14/2015
Hiking the Grand Canyon - Usery Park - 10/14/2015
Night Shredders - San Tan - 10/14/2015
Sunrise Hike - White Tank Mtn - 10/15/2015
Beginner Desert Bird Walk - McDowell - 10/15/2015
Fitness Thursdays -Estrella Park - 10/15/2015
Fall Fitness Hike - Cave Creek Regional Park - 10/15/2015
Cottonwood Trail Exploring - Lake Pleasant - 10/16/2015
Fridays Fitness Hike- McDowell - Wagner Trailhead - 10/16/2015
Black Rock Archaeology Walk - White Tank Mtn. - 10/16/2015
All About Scorpions - San Tan - 10/16/2015
Movie Night in the Park: “Desert Animals: Outlaws and Skeletons” - Usery Park - 10/16/2015
Nocturnal Animals Night Hike -Estrella Park - 10/16/2015
Scorpion Scavenger Hunt: Final - San Tan - 10/16/2015
Ranger-led Hike on the North Trail - McDowell - 10/17/2015
Elephant Mountain Fortress Hike - Spur Cross - 10/17/2015
Bird Walk with Joe - Cave Creek Regional Park - 10/17/2015
Petroglyph Hike -Estrella Park - 10/17/2015
Birds of the Night! - Cave Creek Regional Park - 10/17/2015
Arizona Wildlife Mythbusting -Estrella Park - 10/17/2015
Desert Edibles: Delectable Desserts - San Tan - 10/17/2015
Family Movie with a Message - Bambi - White Tank Mtn. - 10/17/2015
STARGAZING for EVERYONE - 10/17/2015

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

Our Parks:  
Adobe Dam  |  Buckeye Hills  |  Cave Creek  |  Desert Outdoor Ctr  |  Estrella Mtn  |  Lake Pleasant  |  McDowell Mtn  |  San Tan Mtn  |  Spur Cross  |  Usery Mtn  |  White Tank
Main Parks Homepage  

To visit a city website, click on the link below...
Apache Junction | Avondale | Buckeye | Carefree | Cave Creek | Chandler | El Mirage | Fountain Hills | Gila Bend | Gilbert | Glendale | Goodyear | Guadalupe | Litchfield Park | Mesa | Paradise Valley | Peoria | Phoenix | Queen Creek | Scottsdale | Surprise | Tempe | Tolleson | Wickenburg | Youngtown



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