Maricopa County's Parks and Recreation Department now features the nation's largest county park system, with 10 regional parks totaling more than 120,000 acres.
The park system began in 1954 to preserve the mountain areas for future generations to enjoy. A federal act in the 1970 called the Recreation and Public Purposes Act allowed Maricopa County to acquire thousands of acres of parkland from the Bureau of Land Management at $2.50 an acre. A combination of leased and purchased land has allowed this department to develop a regional park system that preserves open space and will forever provide the residents of Maricopa County with an opportunity to visit "Natural Arizona."
In 1992 Maricopa County entered a 50-year management agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage the newly enlarged Lake Pleasant. At 10,000 surface acres Lake Pleasant is the second largest lake entirely within the state and far and away the largest lake within easy driving distance from central Phoenix.
Today, more than 1.2 million park visitors each year enjoy affordable recreation available year-round.
Each county park has its own unique characteristics offering recreation to Valley residents and visitors alike. Some parks offer boating, picnicking, golf, archery and shooting ranges. Others have camping and recreational vehicle camping facilities. Most offer hiking, picnicking and mountain biking.
Welcome to McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the 21,099-acre park is a desert jewel in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. Visitors enjoy a full program schedule, over 50 miles of multi-use trails, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. A stroll through the park will allow visitors to likely see deer, javelina, birds, and coyotes.
20304 W. White Tank Mountain Road Waddell, AZ 85355 Phone: (623) 935-2505 Fax: (602) 372-8596 Park hours: 365 days a year Sun-Thurs: 6 am - 8 pm, Fri-Sat: 6 am - 10 pm White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Nearly 30,000 acres makes this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valleys west side.
Located on the Valley’s east side, this park takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. The park contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Along the most popular feature of the park, the Wind Cave Trail, water seeps from the roof of the alcove to support hanging gardens of Rock Daisy. The Wind Cave is formed at the boundary between the volcanic tuff and granite on Pass Mountain. Breathtaking views from this 2,840-foot elevation are offered to all visitors.
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. The newest addition to Maricopa County's Regional Parks System, the conservation area encompasses 2,154 acres of diverse, rugged upper Sonoran Desert. The north Valley location contains fascinating archaeology sites and lush riparian areas along Cave Creek, which flows throughout the winter months. Remnants of early mining and ranching, from which the park gets its name, are still apparent in the park. This area is a must see for all wildflower lovers in the spring. The abundant vegetation present in the conservation area provides a rich habitat for a diverse assemblage of wildlife.
Consisting of over 10,000 acres, the southeast Valley park is a fine example of the lower Sonoran Desert. The park ranges in elevation from about 1,400 feet to over 2,500 feet. Goldmine Mountain is located in the northern area, with a spectacular San Tan Mountain escarpment in the southern portion of the park. The vegetation changes from creosote flats to dense saguaro forest. Various types of wildlife may be observed, including reptiles, birds, and mammals. San Tan Mountain Regional Park also has a Visitor's Center. Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor's Center to pick up educational tidbits, purchase souvenir items, visit with park staff, and see the wildlife exhibits or tortoise habitat. Restroom facilities are available and additional amenities are slated for future development.
Linking communities with pathways to the parks throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
One of the most scenic water recreation areas in the “Valley of the Sun,” this northwest Valley park is a recreationist’s dream. The park offers many activities, such as camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
These 19,840 acres of desert and mountains became the first regional park in the Maricopa County Park System in 1954. Located near the meeting of the Gila and Agua Fria Rivers in the southwest Valley, the park includes a large wetland, or riparian, area. The majority of the park remains pristine desert, very similar in appearance to the landscape seen by the first settlers and explorers. The Sierra Estrella range, or Star Mountains, was once within the Mexican border, and remained so until the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. Today, many amenities are available to visitors, including the only grass picnic area (65-acres) in the Maricopa County Park System.
Consisting of 4,474 acres of natural desert, the park is located in the southwest Valley. Enjoy the rolling hills of pristine Sonoran Desert, with beautiful views of the Gila River riparian area. The park has restrooms but currently there is no running water or electricity available in the park.
Sitting at the base of the Hedgepeth Hills in north Phoenix, this 1,526-acre park offers recreationists the opportunity to participate in activities that require ample space. The land is used by many clubs, including: Arizona Model Pilots Society R/C Airport, Airfield Saguaro Central Maricopa Live Steamers Arizona Model Railroading Society Phoenix Kart Racing Association Race Track Arizona Karting Association Kart Racing Track Fort Adobe Paintball Complex Adobe Dam is also home to: 500 Club Championship Golf Course Victory Lane Sports Complex Ball Fields Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix - for general information, contact (623) 201-2000.