The trail starts at the northwest end of the Meridian Trailhead parking lot. From here, the goal is to cross over from the Tonto National Forest land to the Usery Mountain Park boundary. This section is the hardest route finding of the hike, but there is a clear (but unmarked) trail going down into and out of the ravine that will put you on the Pass Mountain trail. You can see the twin Cat Peaks southwest of the Meridian Trailhead so you will know that you want to keep veering to the left after the ravine and not make the mistake of going right and ending up on a 7-mile trek around Pass Mountain -- no no! I took a picture of the trail as it looks just a short distance from the Meridian Trailhead as it descends down into the ravine to cross over:
Once across the ravine, go left on the clear trail that you intersect with, and you will be on the Pass Mountain trail. Here's a park map to help you out: http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/usery/pdf/2012maps/usery-11x17-3d.pdf Along the Pass Mountain trail, there is a fence on your left. When you get to the Cat Peaks, you will finally see some signage. There will be a break in the fence on your left, and you will be staring straight up at one of the Cat Peaks. You have a choice to go clockwise or counter-clockwise around these peaks. Either way is scenic -- we went clockwise this time, and then included the Cat Peaks Pass section so we could take in the views from the top. Wandering around these peaks looking for spring flowers isn't too much work because there are less than two miles of total trail mileage around and over them. After the peaks, we returned east along the Meridian Trail, and we turned north on Meridian Road to head back to the parking lot. Someone else clocked the hike for me with a GPS, and even with all of our wandering, we still came in at 4.4 miles of easy and beautiful spring hiking.
Length: 4.4 miles
Elevation gain: 300 feet
Time it took us: 2.2 hours
Dogs okay: yes
Fees: suggested $2 per hiker upon exit of the Meridian Trail at the self-pay station