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Name: Casa Grande Mountain Park (Spine trail) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Hike Difficulty: (Beginner based on difficulty, not length)
Time: 4 - 6 hours (or as long as you want) Region: Central Arizona
Length: 7.0 miles (roundtrip), but you can make it as long or as short as you like Elevation gain/loss/change: +430 / -430 ft / +0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 1500 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Medium Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: Low
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: November, 2010
Short Description: A trail system that offers a variety of difficulties.
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Dolphin LX; Smokey's Throne; On the Trail
References / Contact Information: MTBikeAZ.com; City of Casa Grande
Points of interest: Nice semi-urban trail system.
Special Considerations: Extremely hot and dry in summer. Rocky.
How to get there: The unofficial trailhead (Waypoint 001) is at the end of W. Tate road. From I-10, take exit 198 to Hwy 84 (Jimmie Kerr Boulevard) west for about 2.5 miles, turn left (south) on Pert Rd. Go under I-8 and take the left curve onto Tate road, then right. The "Unofficial" trailhead (Waypoint 001) is straight ahead a couple hundred feet where you can park on the east side of the dirt road (notice all the old picnic tables down in the wash on the right). You access the official Pert Rd trailhead, take a left on the dirt road just after you leave pavement. Follow this road for about 1/2 a mile until you reach a large formal parking area with port a-potties and signs (Waypoint 015). Click here for directions. You can also access the trail system from the Arica trailhead (though Google Maps doesn't do this correctly). Click here for directions and a map.

Trail Description

Note: This trail was originally done as a mountain bike ride but is a great hiking trail. Many of the pictures and video are from my original ride. This is a nice trail half way between Phoenix and Tucson. Located at the I-10 and I-8 junction at Casa Grande Mountain Park, this trail skirts the eastern foothills of the Casa Grande Mountain Range. Since my first ride here in 2010, they've done a lot of great work on the trail system. There's a nice official trailhead parking area, complete with trail maps and bathrooms. They've also put some signs up along the trails and made some nice new ones.

The Spine Trail is one of the easier trails and stays low in the valley for the most part. More difficult trails are cut along the side of the mountains.

General Information and History

In 2007, the City of Casa Grande decided that creating biking and hiking trails were critical to the city of Casa Grande. This decision has started the development of over 10 miles of trails in the Casa Grande Mountain Park. This park is 1,025 acres and is described on the Casa Grande Mountain Park Project website as:

... a variety of choices including long or short loop trails, easy to challenging experiences, short and long range views and views of the city and of the desert. The Casa Grande Mountain Park Trail System promises to be a spectacular local and regional attraction for trail enthusiasts, wildlife watchers, and those looking for a natural respite from the City's growing urban environment.

This project was started in April, 2010 and I'm not sure they are there yet, but it has potential. The city supposedly hired trail builder Mark Flint to help design some of the mountain trails. I have only been on the intermediate portion of the trail. There is also an easier section that stays down in the valley floor and a more advanced section if you keep going when I turned around (see PDF from MTBikeAZ).

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The Trail

Since I went on this trail system in 2009, there's been lots of updates. Please see Ridge Trail for more information.

From the parking area, take the singletrack east as it start its slow climb up the northeastern side of the Casa Grande Mountain Range. You will notice a dirt road to your left. This goes to the official Pert Rd trailhead. There are NUMEROUS side trails that intersect the main trail. Take these if you want to explore or make it a longer ride. I kept on the main trail.

At Waypoint 002, go straight through the dirt road. You will intersect many of these. We always went straight across (never traveled along the road), keeping on the singletrack.

Climb up to the saddle (Waypoint 004) at approximately 1.34 miles. You get a nice view from here, then it’s down to the flats. You’ll cross through a couple of rocky washes here.

You’ll intersect another road at Waypoint 005 and a gate in the fence line at Waypoint 006 (2.7 miles into the ride). At Waypoint 007 you’ll ride up a small hill that’s called “Bucket of Skillz” due to the blue bucket at its base. I’m not sure why it’s called this.

After about 3.5 miles of hiking (and topping another saddle at Waypoint 008) you get to a nice place to turn around. The walk up the short hill to Waypoint 009. This was a nice spot with beautiful views.

Have fun and be safe!