Best Place to Go Camping Without Leaving the Valley (2000)

Usery Mountain Recreation Area
3939 North Usery Pass Road, Mesa

It's just eight miles north of U.S. 60 on Ellsworth Road, but this county park lets those short on time or thin on camping experience get away from it all. Usery Pass has 73 desert campsites, clean restrooms and showers and hiking trails for every experience level. (We recommend the Merkl Memorial Trail for a quick, easy walk, and the popular Wind Cave Trail for the heartier souls.)

Lesser known than the Lost Dutchman State Campground just to the east, Usery Pass is usually less populated. It offers advantages that come with being close to civilization, but all the amenities you enjoy while camping out: starry skies, scenic vistas, the smell of campfires and the howling of coyotes at night.

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