Join us for a hike along portions of the Moonlight, San Tan and Littleleaf Trails. The Moonlight Trail begins at the San Tan Trailhead near the Visitor Center and guides you along the base of a mountain located in the central valley of the park and connects to the San Tan Trail at the west end. We will return back to the starting point on the Littleleaf Trail, named for the Littleleaf Palo Verde tree which is prevalent in the park. The Littleleaf Trail was used years ago by General Motors for testing vehicles.
This hike is suitable for all levels of hikers. There are a few moderate hills, but all are well within the capabilities of beginning hikers. It's an easy and enjoyable hike, well suited to our warming weather.
Bring at least 2 litres of water, sun protection and wear appropriate hiking attire. The hike will take approximately 1.5 hours at a moderate pace.
After the hike, we can all head over to the Eatery at Queen Creek Olive Mill for breakfast (25062 S Meridian Rd, Queen Creek, AZ 85142).
Type of trail: Loop.
Trail Rating: Easy - Moderate (see trail rating guide below).
Use: Multiple (all non-motorized access authorized).
Distance: 4.2 mi.
Elevation Difference: 131 ft. (difference in elevation between low and high points).
Fees: $6 vehicle day use fee (or Annual Pass (http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/PDF/AnnualPassMtnPark.pdf)). For those who wish to carpool to park meet up at the Starbucks parking lot (1757 W Hunt Highway Ste 101, Queen Creek, AZ 85143 ) at 7:30 AM.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park Printer Friendly Trail Map - 8 1/2 x 11 (http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/santan/pdf/2013/san-tan-8x11.pdf)
San Tan Mountain Regional Park Trail Rating Guide (http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/santan/Trails.aspx)
Consisting of 10,198 acres, this southeast valley park is a fine example of the lower Sonoran Desert (http://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php). 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 resources.
The Visitor Center has restroom facilities, souvenir items, wildlife displays and local artifacts. The Nathan Marten's Arizona Memorial, located at the park, honors the Arizona fallen from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
Queen Creek Weather - AccuWeather Forecast for AZ 85142 (http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/queen-creek-az/85142/weather-forecast/346863)
Road Conditions (http://www.az511.gov/adot/files/)
Directions: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road south to Hunt Highway. Travel east on Hunt Highway to Thompson Road south. Turn west on Phillips Road to the San Tan Mountain Regional Park entrance.