After a day of rest, Carolyn and I jumped right back into another day of hiking returning to the beautiful Usury Mountain Regional Park managed by Maricopa County. We had previously hiked Pass Mountain and this time we decided to tackle Wind Cave Trail that is listed as strenuous. For a Monday late morning hike, the park has many visitors. The day is beautiful.
The hike is about 1.5 miles to the “Wind Cave” that really isn’t a cave and the desert views are fantastic. Our elevation gain is around 800 feet and the trail is in excellent condition and not very rocky so easier on all the joints and extremities. The views are great and even though the hike is short, you still get plenty of aerobic exercise. With our later start, there were fewer hikers encountered on the most popular trail in the park.
You can extend your hike from the “cave” by scrambling up and over rocks but I’m not so fond of scrambling in my hikes these days so we passed on extending our hike up the rocks.
On our return we decided to take on another short hike in the park and knock another trail off our list of trails to do in the park. Our decision is to combine two short trails into a figure eight type of hike by doing the Merkle Trail and the Vista Trail. The total hike is only about 1.75 miles but we were once again rewarded with some beautiful desert scenery and views of the Superstition Mountains. Our total gain in elevation is only about 230 feet but the views from the Vista Trail are very nice.
Every hike deserves another brewery exploration, so Carolyn and I head to Queen Creek to the Old Ellsworth Brewing. Our Recoupon book from Arizona Craft Brewers Guild takes us to a new destination and we were happy to discover it. As an added bonus, the food was really good. Their beer menu constantly changes per our server and we just do the samplers and enjoy their selections. Good beer, good food, and great service. It was worth our time to go to this gem in Queen Creek and it appears that they have a pretty good following.
Our January has started off with some great hikes that are easy to access. Carolyn and I have purchased an annual pass for the Maricopa County Park System so we intend on getting out and exploring more of the county parks. Usury is a great example of what a county can do in the way of parks. Many different features that include camping, archery, biking, hiking, playgrounds, picnics, and so on.
Our tradition continues of hiking and having a craft beer from a local brewery. If you ever are in the Queen Creek area, check out Old Ellsworth Brewing. You won’t be disappointed. Next stop on our journey is Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.