The weather is finally cooling down and Arizonans are getting outside to walk, hike and bike. If you are making a destination list, you might want to add the CAP Trail to your list.
The vision for this multiuse trail, which was planned since CAP construction began in 1973, is that it will run the entire 336-mile length of the canal. CAP’s entire system is fenced to protect the public’s safety, the water is moving more quickly than it looks and can be deadly if someone falls in. So, as land was acquired for the canal construction, CAP placed the security fence 10 to 20 feet from the property boundary to allow for a multi-use trail. In June 2003, the “CAP Trail” was designated as a National Recreational Trail.
As time has gone on, the focus has primarily been on urban areas, particularly those where the trail could be built in conjunction with adjacent development. CAP requests that each city and/or developer provide an additional 20 feet of trail width to allow for proper grading, drainage and landscaping enhancements. The trail is planned for multiple recreational uses – walking, jogging, equestrian, cycling, roller blading – but public motorized uses aren’t allowed.
Where You Can Find the CAP Trail
Generally speaking, the trail is on the downhill side (south or west) of the canal in the Phoenix area, and switches sides through both Pinal and Pima Counties. View a map of the CAP Trail here.
How the CAP Trail Has Been Developed
CAP does not have legal authority to build or maintain the trail, in fact cooperation and partnerships among municipal, county and tribal agencies determine the outcome of the trail. There are more than 30 organizations that have been or will be involved in getting the trail constructed, each sponsoring a portion of the trail that runs through their jurisdiction. CAP facilitates these recreation agreements between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and city or county sponsors, to help with the prospective sponsors’ councils or boards, planning commissions and trail committees.
CAP Trail Today
Currently, the trail is open for use in the Phoenix metro area from 67th Avenue to just past 124th Street in Scottsdale. In Pima County, the trail starts at Tangerine Road and runs north to the County Line Road Bridge crossing the CAP canal. The Pinal County portion starts at the County Line Road Bridge and runs north to the new trailhead at the end of Nona Road, which is off Park Link Road.
Future plans in Pinal County are still under design, but will begin at the Red Rock Trailhead and run north to another future trailhead that will be constructed at the end of Brady Road. Pima County is putting together a grant proposal to fund a bike and pedestrian bridge over I-10 and the railroad tracks near Tangerine Road, similar to the one that currently exists over the I-17 in north Phoenix.
So lace up your shoes, grab your water bottle and hit the trail…the CAP Trail!