This past November, I was fortunate enough to travel with my club soccer to the National Tournament in Mesa, Arizona. While my team did not play as well as we had wanted to, our early elimination had one silver lining: we got to stay an extra day and go on a really cool hike!
Just a heads up – these are all iphone photos so they won’t be as great as quality of usual, but I think you can still get a good idea of the hike.
Wind Cave Trail is an easy, 3 mile, out and back hike in Usery Mountain regional park. The trail is fairly flat for most of the hike until the end where it gets moderately steep. The views from the tops are not the best I’ve ever seen, but the hike itself is really enjoyable, and there are a ton of interesting plants to see.
Our team’s goal while we were in Arizona was to see a lot cactuses, and this hike really delivered on that. Some of these cactuses were 15 plus feet tall and it was really cool. One of the girls brought along her polaroid camera and we had a lot of fun posing with cactuses and playing with her camera.
As I said earlier, the first part of the hike is pretty flat. You’re walking on a twisting path between a lot of cactuses. On a couple occasions, the trail dips down into a dried out creek bed. The trail is flat like this for about a mile.
Next, the trail begins to climb. It’s not that steep, but it climbs steadily. Sadly, the cactuses are not as frequent as you get to a higher elevation. The trail sort of follows the edge of the mountain until it wraps around and you make it to the caves. I was told by fellow hikers that the caves make a whistling sound when its windy out. From the caves, you get a view of the trail you just climbed, and a big sign made out of rocks on the side of the mountain that says Phoenix, Arizona with an arrow pointing towards downtown, Unfortunately, it was too far away to get a great picture of it.
If you keep climbing up past the caves, you get a cool view looking out over the park. This is a good place to take a quick break and maybe eat lunch or some snacks.
The climb down is fairly quick. I think the whole hike took us about 2.5 hours, but we were messing around and taking pictures and took a long break at the top. Even though we didn’t move on at Nationals, I’m still had a ton of fun in Arizona and I’m really glad we got to do this hike. If you’re ever in Mesa and looking for something to do, I would definitely recommend this hike!