Usery Mountain Park has two outstanding, but challenging, hikes: the Wind Cave Trail and the Pass Mountain Loop. Either one makes a great half-day adventure at this marvelous park. Pass Mountain is challenging because of the distance (it is the longest hike in the park) and some steep sections west of the saddle pass, but it is quite satisfying to circumnavigate a mountain, and the views along the way are magnificent. Most of this trail is within the adjoining Tonto National Forest, but Usery Mountain is a popular starting point for hikers.
The two main trailheads for this trail are the Wind Cave Trailhead and the large parking lot just a half mile south off the main park road. Taking the trail in a clockwise direction is recommended so the elevation gain is more gradual, but either direction is nice. From the Wind Cave Trailhead, the first few miles are a gradual uphill climb with many dips as the trail crosses washes and continues up to a very nice viewpoint at the north end of the loop. This segment makes a nice out-and-back hike for those who don’t want to do the whole loop. From the viewpoint, the trail spirals up the mountain to the high point at the saddle. The section of trail just south of the saddle is steep, rocky and a bit slippery. At the southeast corner of the loop is an alternative access point from North Meridian Drive in Apache Junction, which avoids the park entrance fee. From this point, the trail is a straight, flat (except for the numerous washes) run along the south side of Pass Mountain back to the trailhead.