For years, visitors to San Tan Mountain Regional Park near Queen Creek navigated their own way through its mountainous landscape but this week the park got three marked trails.
The new trails coincide with the hiring of a supervisor for the park, which has experienced a significant increase in visitors in recent years because of the area’s growth.
The new trail system includes the 2.5-mile Goldmine Trail, the 1.2-mile Moonlight Trail and the 3.2-mile San Tan Trail, and David Jordan is the park’s new supervisor who will organize new activities for visitors to the park.
“We’re really excited to have a trail system out there,” said Dawna Taylor, spokeswoman for Maricopa County Parks and Recreation. “We’ve been wanting to offer different amenities to the community, and we’re finally pulling things together.”
San Tan Mountain Regional Park has been operated by Maricopa County since 1986 but is in Pinal County. The 10,200-acre park is popular among area residents for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Goldmine Mountain and San Tan Mountain are within the park as is the recently opened Nathan Martens Arizona Memorial honoring Arizona’s war dead.
A challenge in serving the community was getting the park fully staffed, said Teresa Retterbush, regional park superintendent for Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, who noted that both Jordan and maintenance staff have now been hired.
“It’s a real good start,” Retterbush said of the new trails and park supervisor. “It’s getting a lot more use these days with all of the development going on around the park.”
Though she could not provide specific numbers, she said park use has “increased significantly” and is always busy on the weekends.
In fiscal year 2006, there were almost 11,000 visitors to San Tan mountain Regional Park.
“It’s beautiful,” Jordan said of the park. “There’s so much beautiful scenery and areas to hike. There are so many different reasons to come out here.”
Jordan, a hiking enthusiast and self-proclaimed sports buff, will work full-time at the park and develop programming for visitors.
Retterbush said programs will mirror those in other Maricopa County parks including fitness hikes, digital photography classes and stargazing, but San Tan Mountain regional Park will have unique offerings as well.
San Tan Mountain Regional Park is at 6533 W. Phillips Road in Pinal County.
The park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.
A $5 per vehicle entry fee is required. For information, visit www.maricopa.gov/parks/santan.