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Central Arizona Project National Recreation Trail, Arizona

Vision is to create a recreational trail stretching the entire 336 miles of the Central Arizona Project canal.

Photos from the City of Scottsdale

central Arizona Map

A big concept in the planning stages would use the right-of-way of the Central Arizona Project from the California state line to Tucson. The 336-mile route is a major water supply from the Colorado River near Lake Havasu to farms and homes across urban Arizona. The canal is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Officials in Pima County have begun work on a master plan for a 55-mile section of the CAP Trail. Other jurisdictions will be looking at the plan as a model for their own stretches of the trail.

photo of canal through desert

Recently the City of Scottsdale held a public meeting to discuss the trail system, bringing together representatives of several cities, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, Arizona Dept. of Transportation, and Maricopa and Pima Counties.

Photo at right: Dual-path segment of the CAP Trail in Scottsdale. The paths can be seen on the right side of the photo. The Horizon Park Bridge is in the background.


  photo of paved trail

Adjacent land uses have also been cooperators in developing the CAP Trail. For instance the Sanctuary Golf Course in Scottsdale has developed a multiuse trail system along the golf course which borders the CAP canal. Pathways totaling three miles are maintained by the golf course staff and regulated by the city's trails department.

Photo at right: A segment of the CAP Trail in Scottsdale, Arizona developed to a dual-path configuration (concrete and compacted earth) to serve all nonmotorized trail users.


  photo of dirt trail through desert

Photo at right: Another view of the singletrack segment of the Central Arizona Project Trail in Scottsdale, Arizona between 124th Street and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation.

Facilities along the CAP Trail include the Sandario Trailhead has spaces for 18 cars and 5 horse rigs, and was constructed by Pima Counting using funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Arizona Trails Heritage Fund grant program. Pima County maintains the trailhead.

  photo of hitching post

Photo at right: An equestrian hitching rail at the Sandario Trailhead. The Tucson Mountains are visible in the background, and provide a scenic complement for more than 15 miles of the CAP Trail.



The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035


Photo of boardwalk in swamp
Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest (photo: Mark Musselman)

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