Maricopa Trail + Park Foundation

Trail Town Program

Trail Town Program

Over the next year, the Maricopa Trail + Park Foundation is partnering with Maricopa County Parks & Recreation and Southwest Decision Resources to initiate a Trail Town Program for the Maricopa Trail (Trail). The Trail Town Program will be developed in collaboration with outdoor recreation experts and community members to create a program that celebrates the Trail and the communities it traverses. We’ll update this page as things progress, so stay tuned!

Trail Town Development Process


Advisory Committee

MOUs Signed

Town Advisory Group Development

Program Initiation

What is a Trail Town?

Trail Towns are connected by the Trail. The Trail Town Program enhances these connections by supporting participating communities in embracing and celebrating the Trail. Members of the Trail Town Program instill a sense of community pride and promote the Trail to their residents, while providing safe and welcoming experiences for visitors by providing goods, services and amenities to Trail users that support local trail-related businesses. Community-centric support extends throughout the regional landscape of the Trail Town Program, connecting chambers of commerce, municipalities and businesses to a larger trail-based community.

Why have a Trail Town Program?

Trail Towns are portal communities along the Trail, providing access to the Trail and amenities for Trail users. They provide a welcoming environment for Trail users, and they benefit from that visitation. Trail Towns are part of a regional network to support business and tourism initiatives, with an enhanced ability to convey key messages about responsible recreation to ensure that visitors act as good stewards while recreating in the area. Residents are instilled with a healthy sense of place and are connected to the Trail with program benefits and opportunities.

First Step: Visioning

On June 28, 2023, 18 community leaders attended the Maricopa Trail Town visioning session. The group began by identifying many of the things that make the Maricopa Trail special to them and the places they live.

Visioning participants see the value the Trail brings to the Valley. Building on what makes the Trail unique, the group began digging into the opportunities a Trail Town Program has to offer. The following themes and sub-themes were identified as possibilities to pursue as the Program develops.

If you’d like to learn more about the visioning session, please see the meeting notes.

A huge thank you to our visioning session participants! Not only did they exceed all expectations, but laid the foundation for a successful Trail Town Program for the Maricopa Trail.

Maricopa Trail Town Visioning


Community Outreach

Increased awareness of local recreation and park opportunities near the Trail.

Signage & Maps

Add trail signs like the Prescott Circle Trail with maps showing trail overview.


Develop a “Guide to the Maricopa Trail” app or book that includes maps, things to see, day trip recommendations, places to stay and eat, etc.

Events & Programing

Host more “getting to know the trail” events to introduce trail users to the diversity of the route

Trail & Business Marketing

Regional Initiatives

Develop a “trail passport” that can be stamped by local businesses & attractions, possibly earn discounts or other benefits.

Local Connections

Opportunities to provide directional signage to local businesses and centers.

Marketing Partnerships

Partner with Sky Harbor Airport to promote the Trail to visitors on signage.

Maricopa Trail Branding

Work together to provide a unified Maricopa Trail experience across all Trail Towns.

Working Together


Opportunities to partner with more groups like Pinal/Maricopa Master Gardeners, Audubon Society, and Arizona Game and Fish Department for restoration days.

Educational Program

Programs aimed at school field trips (public, charter, home school)

Community-Powered Stewardship

Increase opportunities for stewardship events along the Trails.

Leverage Resources

Motivation for enriched partnerships

Health & Wellness

Transportation Alternative

Promote alternative transportation and not just a recreational trail

Activity Alternative

Provide healthy activity alternatives for individuals and families.

Healthcare Partnerships

Link in with healthcare providers to promote the physical and mental benefits of outdoor activity

Resource Protection

Cultural Awareness

Create/promote cultural awareness

Biological Conservation

Highlight the Maricopa Trail’s role in preserving wildlife corridors

Open Spaces Preservation

Protecting and maintaining open spaces, even among urban growth and development

Access & Regional Connection


Make it easier for neighbors to get to the trail.

Community-Powered Stewardship

Promote more community involvement with maintaining our trail system

Leverage Resources

Share money and people-power to get work done.

Next Step: Advisory Committee

So what will we do with all of this? The visioning session produced a number of important ideas and themes to pursue with the advisory committee. It provided a starting point (not to mention some amazingly detailed ideas) for the committee to evaluate as potential program elements. The advisory committee will assist with drafting partnership agreements, implementation process steps and key benefits for communities who wish to take part in the program, as well as identify how these benefits will be incorporated at a regional scale.