“A mostly flat loop that covers the southern part of Usery Mountain Regional Park.”
— Doug Baer
This combination of trails is a bit over 10 km. It is pretty flat and takes you through the SE part of the park, which tends to be much less crowded than any other place in the park. It is mostly frequented by people on horseback or MTB'ers. There are some wash crossings and some of the trail is sandy, but nothing that would even require gaiters most of the year. The Channel Trail
is full of water after rainstorms, and you can substitute the parallel and upper Levee Trail
if that is the case.
Need to Know
It is $7 to enter the park and park where I began this hike. Alternatively, you can park on the SW of the park and begin/end the hike at the gate near the Channel Trail
and Levee Trail
intersection and just pay $2 as a "walk-in".
I start and end this hike at the "Area 10" trailhead because parking is usually pretty simple, and they've got a restroom (not a port-o-john). Head south and then west (right) on the Blevins Trail
, following that until it joins with the Moon Rock Trail
the second time. From there, make a right onto Moon Rock Trail
and follow it a bit until you meet up with the Levee Trail
and head south until that meets up with the Channel Trail
(or stay on the Levee Trail
if Channel Trail
is wet/muddy/full of water).
This is a pretty easy hike across the width of the park. When you meet up with the Spillway Trail
, head left onto that and hike until the first branch, which will be the Ruidoso Trail
on the right. This trail will wind around the eastern side of the park, and you may even see planes flying around from the nearby model plane airfield.
Continue on this trail (again, mostly flat desert trails with a few easy wash crossings) until it meets the County Line Trail
and head north (left). This will be mostly flat with a bit of uphill grade until it meets with the Meridian Trail
. This trail is a bit more on the rocky side than the previous trails, but not too bad.
Once the Meridian Trail
joins with the Blevins Trail
, take the right fork and follow that back to the Area 10 Trailhead spur you came in on. There is a parking area with port-o-johns about 2km from the start —good to know in case you can't make it back to the beginning!
Flora & Fauna
Typical Sonoran desert plants and animals: coyote, jackrabbits, deer, squirrels, lizards, etc.
History & Background
There is a popular model airplane airfield in the SE corne,r and planes are frequently visible on the Ruidoso Trail
. Interestingly, "ruidoso" means "noisy" in Spanish... I'm not sure whether that was named because of the airfield or if that is merely coincidental, but when there are a bunch of planes, it sounds like a swarm of bees!