There are no rails to trails here in the Mesa/Apache Junction area—really none in the entire Phoenix area. However, there are very well groomed bike trails along the numerous canals that bring the precious water into the region. Our favorite is the Eastern Canal Bike Trail that can be accessed from the Riparian Perserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert AZ, only about 15 minutes from where we are staying.
We have visited the Water Ranch before and I wrote about it here. There is also another blogger calling herself the Dragonfly Woman who also visited and wrote an interesting article about it here. Here is a screen shot of how the Ranch looks on a map.
The lines between the water are bike and walking trails. Not all the ponds are full at the same time. All the water is reclaimed except the water in the fishing pond, which is filled with fresh, clean water pumped up from the natural resevoir below the other ponds. It is an interesting concept.
To the right of the picture is the Eastern Canal trail. We rode ten miles total with probably eight on the canal trail. We took our time and enjoyed the beautiful day.
Here are three birds of interest spotted on various ponds.
This place fascinates us because it seems so out of place in this urban desert setting. There are always lots of things to watch including birders with sophisticated listening devices and cameras along with young mothers with children in tow watching for the numerous bunnies.