By Don Price
Photo by Loren Worthington
I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s an accessible trail right in our backyard that has some of the best views in the Valley, as well as a babbling stream (some days) and a reservoir that is a surprise to almost everyone. It’s the Crosscut Canal Trail – a trail known to very few people – and now you’ll be one of the few enjoying this little gem located only a few miles east of the Disability Empowerment Center.
I discovered Tempe’s Crosscut Canal Trail by accident as I explored some trails around Evelyn Hallman Park (formerly Canal Park). I was intrigued by a path I hadn’t noticed before, so I followed it. A half mile later, I was standing next to a reservoir I never knew existed watching ducks splash and enjoying a panoramic view of the Phoenix skyline. I also found great views of the Phoenix Zoo – spotted bighorn sheep on the butte – Hunt’s Tomb and Papago Park. What a great find this trail was!
The Crosscut Canal Trail, opened in 2011, may be only two miles long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in style and functionality. This short path links two other, larger, trail systems, Tempe Town Lake and the Scottsdale Grand Canal.
Residents of Scottsdale can now bike south along the canal and use the Crosscut Trail to reach Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue shops and even connect with the light rail. Hikers and bikers from Tempe can access Old Town Scottsdale through the scenic Papago Buttes.
The Crosscut Trail can be a bit tricky to find; it can be accessed from its south side near the northeast corner of Mill Avenue and Curry Road in Tempe. It can also be negotiated starting at Evelyn Hallman Park (1900 N. College Ave., Tempe). From the parking lot at Evelyn Hallman, head west and then follow the paved trail that branches south.
There is one significant hill to be negotiated, but the trail features concrete paving and some nifty wheelchair switchbacks near the reservoir. Be sure to pack water and sunscreen, as the desert provides very little shade. Now get out and enjoy the beautiful desert, and remember, it’s our secret!
Early Intervention Coordinator
Don Price is Ability360’s Early Intervention Coordinator. As a person living with a spinal cord injury–sustained in a diving accident at age 18—Don mentors those with new disabilities by offering information, resources and an empathetic ear. Don lives in Tempe and enjoys fishing, reading, writing, listening to music and spending time with friends. He’s also a proud Sun Devil.