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Sunday Morning Nature Walk: Sonoran Desert 101 - San Tan

How much do you know about the Sonoran Desert? Do you want to learn more? This 1.3-mile nature walk is sponsored by San Tan Mountain Regional Park and will focus on the common plants and animals living here and the adaptations that allow them to thrive.  This is a lush, diverse desert with lots of interesting residents. (And we’re not just talking about the animals!)

This is an easy walk, well suited for the beginning hiker (and anyone who wants to learn more about the desert we live in).  The walk will take approximately one hour.

Bring water, wear a hat, sunscreen and appropriate hiking attire.

Fees: $6 per vehicle day use parking fee (or Annual Pass). Carpooling to park can be arranged.

Gila monster, one of only two known species of venomous lizards in North America.  Sluggish and slow moving, it poses no threat. Photo: Jeff Servoss - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

About the Park:

Located just south of the Maricopa/Pinal County line near the Town of Queen Creek, San Tan Mountain Regional Park has been used for decades for various recreation activities, such as hiking, equestrian riding and mountain biking.

Consisting of 10,198 acres, this southeast valley park is a fine example of the lower Sonoran Desert. The park ranges in elevation from about 1,400 feet to over 2,500 feet. Goldmine Mountain is located in the northeast area, with a spectacular San Tan Mountain escarpment in the southern portion of the park. The vegetation varies from creosote flats to dense saguaro forests. Various types of wildlife may be observed, including reptiles, birds, mammals and arthropods. The park is rich with unique historical, cultural and biological resourses. The Visitor Center has restroom facilities, souvenir items, wildlife exhibits and local artifacts.

After the walk we can head over to the Queen Creek Olive Mill (25062 S Meridian Rd, Queen Creek, AZ, US, 85142 ·[masked] ) for coffee and breakfast.

IMPORTANT  NOTE:  HUNT HIGHWAY WILL BE CLOSED AT THOMPSON ROAD THIS WEEKEND DUE TO ONGOING ROAD CONSTRUCTION.  MUST ACCESS PARK VIA GARY ROAD.  RITTENHOUSE RD BECOMES GARY RD.  IF COMING IN ON ELLSWORTH ROAD, TAKE EMPIRE TO GARY.  GIVE EXTRA 15 MINUTES TO GET TO PARK.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppYgnNo_yvY


Gathering Saguaro fruit. Three Maricopa Indians with baskets, seated in front of cactus in 1907. The fruit of all cactus can be eaten. Photo: Library of Congress.

Collared peccary or javelina, also known as the "skunk pig" due to the animal's scent glands.  Photo: Benjamint444.

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  • Gene

    Those that wish to carpool or drive in as a group should meet at Starbucks parking lot at Gary Rd. & Hunt Hwy (1757 W Hunt Hwy, Queen Creek) by 6:30 AM. Please note that Hunt Hwy is closed at Thompson Rd this weekend due to ongoing road construction.

    June 28, 2014

    • Pamela J W.

      how far is Starbucks from where we are to meet up? Cant reach friend so don't think we will make it there until after 7am - starbucks is 30 mins from my house...

      June 29, 2014

    • Gene

      About 5 miles or maybe less.

      June 29, 2014

  • Vicki T

    Do you know if dogs are allowed on the trails? I have a friendly Beagle who'd love to come too :-)

    June 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Is anyone needing a ride from Northeast Scottsdale? If so, I have room for 3.

      June 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'll need to cancel due on this outing. Sorry.

      June 29, 2014

  • Tricia G.

    I think i signed up to go but i am not going to make it. Its just to hot for me. Enjoy!

    June 28, 2014

  • Gene

    Recommended route due to road construction: Park advises to take Gary Rd. across Hunt Hwy to San Tan Heights. Turn right on San Tan Heights to Mountain Vista. Turn left on Mountain Vista to Thompson Rd. Turn left on Thompson Rd. to Phillips Rd. Turn right on Phillips Rd. to Park.

    June 28, 2014

  • Pamela J W.

    picking up friend at 6:30am - pls wait for us if we are late since I have never been to this park! Is there someone I can call if we get lost? thanks!

    June 28, 2014

    • Gene

      Best place to call if you are lost is the Park (480)[masked] They can get you on the right track.

      June 28, 2014

  • Hella B.

    Hello,
    I would like to car pool with someone who knows the way. I have tried to find the park on another occasion and wasn't successful. Hella

    June 28, 2014

Gilbert, AZ

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