Maricopa County is dedicated to enhancing lifestyles, managing cultural resources, and providing a legacy for future generations. In February 2000, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors formed the Maricopa County Trail Commission and unveiled their plans to develop a Regional Trail System. The trail system plan was compiled in three stages over a period of nearly five years. It represents a comprehensive system of non-motorized trail corridors that will help guide the planning process as Maricopa County moves through the 21st Century. The plan establishes the Maricopa Trail, recognizes the importance of the Sun Circle Trail, and identifies future trail corridors throughout the County.
A project team was formed with staff from the Maricopa County departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Development, and Flood Control District. They began with a pilot project centered on Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Their task was to identify the best trail corridors linking White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, and Cave Creek Regional Park. This pilot project became Phase One of the Maricopa County Trail System Plan and was adopted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) on September 4, 2002.
Phase Two began with the hiring of two full-time trail planners and a trail program manager. The planners’ task was to identify trail corridors from Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and Cave Creek Regional Park to San Tan Mountain Regional Park. The route would include McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Usery Mountain Regional Park. While the planners were working on corridors, the program manager began the implementation process identified in Phase One. After much public input, Maricopa Trail was chosen as the name for the primary trail loop connecting the regional parks. Phase Two of the Maricopa County Regional Trail System was adopted by the BOS on October 22, 2003.
The main task for Phase Three was to complete the primary loop incorporating Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Buckeye Hills Regional Park, and Phoenix’s South Mountain Park into the system. Secondary tasks included identifying connections to external trail systems, prioritizing the proposed corridors, and looking at future trail corridors throughout the County. The Phase Three document, the Maricopa County Regional Trail System Plan, supercedes all previous plans. This stand-alone, comprehensive trail plan includes the Hiking and Riding Trails Plan adopted by the BOS in June 1964, the Maricopa County Regional Trail System Plan: Phase One and the Maricopa County Regional Trail System Plan: Phase Two.
The Maricopa County Regional Trail System Plan was adopted by the BOS on August 16, 2004.