Park Program Guides
*Please note that the department will no longer be offering the newsletter-style park program guides after January 2020. All program offerings may be found online at www.maricopacountyparks.net/events/.
Maricopa County's regional park system attracts thousands of visitors each year. With over 120,000 acres in the park system, there is plenty to see and explore. However, sometimes visiting a new place can be a little overwhelming when you don’t know what’s available. To make sure your visit to Estrella Mountain Regional Park is a pleasant experience, we’ve pulled together a couple of basic itineraries to get you started on your journey.
|I have this much time available
||Here's what I can experience
|1 - 2 hour visit:
- Take a walk on the barrier-free Gila Trail for a quick and easy overview of the desert. There are interpretive panels to give you information on our region of the Sonoran Desert. This wide smooth half-mile trail is ideal for side by side strolls to discuss whatever comes to mind.
- Take a birding stroll down to the Gila River bottom. Small ponds and plentiful vegetation attract birds and a variety of animals that are fun to spot along your walk.
- The Nature Center is a great place for any age visitor to explore. There are live animal displays and interpretive panels or photos to stimulate the imagination. Souvenirs, snacks and drinks will offer comfort and fun for the visitors as well. The volunteers and staff would be glad to see you!
- The Horseshoe or Quail Trails are easy one-mile trail hikes (one-way) to get the Sonoran Desert experience. Do an out-and-back hike at your own pace and level of experience for a safe, enjoyable outing.
- Attend one of the many programs and hikes presented by the Park Interpretive Ranger.
|2-3 hour visit:
- Enjoy the view from the Baseline Trail. There are several connector trails to allow a gradual gain in elevation to the Baseline Trail. A walk on this rolling perched trail will allow several nice mountain and valley views and then a gradual downhill walk back to your vehicle. This is a great option if you want a little cardio workout and great views!
- Break away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax at one of our many picnic areas. Individual tables, shaded tables or ramadas and group locations accommodate a variety of picnic, reading, socializing and relaxation needs.
- Many bike riders and runners enjoy our Competitive Track. There are three main loops, Beginner (1.65 miles), Technical (5.35 miles) and the Long loop (9.75 miles) that offer a great way to exercise in the desert.
- Take a guided horseback ride with Corral West Stables. This is a great way to see the desert without working up a sweat!
|3 hour visit:
- Combination visits are a fun way to enjoy Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Stop and explore the Nature Center, take in a program with the Interpretive Ranger and wrap-up your visit with a picnic or hike.
- Take a variety of hikes and multiple options on the many connected trails like the 4-mile loop, Quail Trail to Rainbow to Toothaker north to Baseline around the peak to Saddle and back down the Quail Trail.
- Take a hike out of the Rodeo Arena Parking area out to the Coldwater or Rainbow Trails for a good 3-hour hike in the desert (using the Rainbow, Coldwater, Toothaker or Butterfield Trail combinations).
|4-5 hour visit:
- Play a ball game on one of the two park Ball Fields. Take time with a small group or organized play and enjoy playing ball in a mountain park setting.
- Take a hike into the back country. Estrella Mountain Regional Park has nearly 40-miles of track and trail! Challenge your skills on a longer walk in the Sonoran Desert back on to the Pederson, Homestead or Gadsden Trails.
- Organize your own or come and watch a horse program or Rodeo at the Estrella Park Rodeo Arena.
- Watch for special events and festivals like the Tres Rios Festival or a Mud and Obstacle Run.
- Have you ever wondered what a tarantula or rattlesnake eats? Join the ranger for one of the many "Critter Feeding Programs" offered in the park.
- During the cooler season, treat your family and friends to a horseback ride on one of the scenic trails in the park. Trail ride times start at one hour or longer, depending up the package chosen. The vendor on site can also accommodate impromptu rides.
- Join a guided bird walk with knowledgeable guides from the Sonoran Audubon Society on a weekend bird walk down to the Gila River. Check park web site for program details.