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December Bird Walks, Hikes and More with Maricopa County Parks

Enjoy the beautiful December Arizona weather with Ranger Eric and others from the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation team for fascinating bird watching, a range of hikes, even Cacti exploration at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Afterwards, stop by Scorpion Bay Grill for lunch on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (The Grill is closed Tuesday and Wednesday for Winter hours.) We’ll be serving all your favorite elevated lake fare – from wings, quesadillas and burgers, to tacos and your favorite adult beverages.

To ensure an intimate hiking experience or event, several events have limited registration, so reach out to Rangers Eric and Kevin as soon as possible to secure your spot. Don’t forget to wear proper footwear and pack plenty of water. Peruse the details at the links below:

Dec. 2nd and 8th: Guided Bird Walk at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, 7-9 a.m.

Learn about a range of Sonoran Desert and migrant water birds on this captivating walk with Ranger Eric. Scan the lake with a scope and binoculars in homes of seeing ducks, loons, grebes, and gulls out on the lake. Then, for those up for a hike, enjoy the Cottonwood trail for a 0.5-1 mile one-way hike, which is rated easy, but may have some uneven ground. Bring your own binoculars, water, and wear sturdy footwear. Ranger Eric will provide a scope.

Where: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Meet and park at the Four-Lane (Castle Creek) Boat Ramp at the North Entrance to Lake Pleasant.
Registration: Registration Required (limit 10 attendees)
To register, please email Ranger Eric at eric.hough@maricopa.gov.

Dec. 2nd: Cactus Curiosity Discovery Station, 10 a.m. – Noon

Interested in learning more about cacti? Ranger Eric will host a Sonoran Desert discovery station table at the Lake Pleasant Discovery Center. Nearby there are live examples of a variety of cacti to see on the trail next to the center.

Where: Lake Pleasant Regional Park Discovery Center
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Registration: No registration

Dec. 8th: Desert 101 Hike to Yavapai Point, 10a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ranger Eric is back to lead a moderate three-mile round trip hike up to Yavapai Point and back. Enjoy stunning views of the Sonoran Desert and Lake Pleasant, as well as talk about the local flora and fauna. The hike is rated as moderate, with some rocky and uneven surfaces. Bring plenty of water and wear sturdy footwear. Hike will take 2-3 hours.

Where: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Meet at the Cottonwood Day Use Area accessed from the North Entrance and taking the Pipeline Canyon and Yavapai Point Trails.
Registration: Registration Required (limit 10 attendees)
To register, please email Ranger Eric at eric.hough@maricopa.gov.

Dec. 17th, Flora and Fauna Nature Hike, 9-11 a.m.

Enjoy a delightful morning hike along easy/moderate terrain with some elevation change, guided by Ranger Kevin. Be sure to bring water, closed-toe hiking shoes, hats and sunscreen. The group size is limited to 20 participants and advance registration is required. Restrooms are available at the trailhead. No pets please.

Where: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Meet by the Cottonwood Trailhead near the north entrance to Lake Pleasant
Registration: Registration Required (limit 20 attendees)
To register, please email Ranger Kevin at kevin.thorson@maricopa.gov

Visit the December Park’s Event page for more details on engaging and informative events and activities sponsored by the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation team: https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/events/.

Scorpion Bay is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering everything from daily pontoon and ski boat rentals to slips for harboring your yacht (or dinghy). Come for the fishing or come for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services await less than an hour out of Phoenix. https://www.scorpionbayaz.com/

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