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Tortuga Trail - Spur Cross, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
2.7 of 5 by 26
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,450 feet
Elevation Gain 154 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.71
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next Tap
8  2018-11-04
Spur Cross Limestone Loop
8  2018-04-01
Spur Cross Loop
26  2018-03-19
Dragonfly Trail - Spur Cross
18  2018-03-18 Yoder
14  2018-03-16
Black Mesa - Cave Creek
20  2018-03-10
Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
7  2018-03-04
Elephant Mountain Summit - Spur Cross
1  2017-12-17
Dragonfly Trail - Spur Cross
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 8
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  7:03am - 5:23pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
23 Linked
Nearby Area Water
Metate Trail - Spur Cross
Metate Trail - Spur Cross
0.3 mi away
0.8 mi
75 ft
Towhee Trail - Spur Cross
Towhee Trail - Spur Cross
0.4 mi away
0.2 mi
6 ft
Elephant Mountain Trail - Spur Cross
Elephant Mountain Trail - Spur Cross
0.4 mi away
2.1 mi
667 ft
Black Mesa - Cave Creek
Black Mesa - Cave Creek
0.6 mi away
11.7 mi
3,100 ft
Skull Mesa - Cottonwood Creek Loop
0.6 mi away
17.1 mi
3,500 ft
Skull Mesa from Spur Cross TH
Skull Mesa from Spur Cross TH
0.6 mi away
12.0 mi
2,850 ft
Skull Mesa Ruins
Skull Mesa Ruins
0.6 mi away
16.6 mi
3,884 ft
Spur Cross Loop
Spur Cross Loop
0.6 mi away
5.5 mi
600 ft
Cave Creek / Cottonwood Loop via Spur Cross
0.6 mi away
24.5 mi
3,950 ft
Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk Canyon
0.6 mi away
9.5 mi
1,657 ft
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Afternoon Delight
by joebartels

Overview: Used to access Elephant Mountain Trail or as a loop with Spur Cross Trail.

Hike: From the northeast junction with Spur Cross Trail you immediately head up a gentle slope. Soon you top out on a small deck with nice views north of Sugarloaf Mountain. On this trip, Sugarloaf was covered in yellow brittlebush blooms.

As noted in the elevation profile the trail soon heads right back down to a usually dry ravine. Here I encountered a Parks & Recreation truck. Signs remind you going off trail is not allowed. Perhaps they were enforcing park law. Maybe somebody tried to shortcut the 250 feet down to the Spur Cross Trail... who knows!

Across the ravine you head up a huffer slope. Even at it's worst it's only a 150 foot climb. Perhaps no worse than the first switchback of Piestewa. All the lower trails up to this point could practically be negotiated in flip flops. Here the footing gets loose. Good news being the old jeep road is beyond Parks & Recreation cruiser negotiable. Especially due to the fact there's a couple boulders lined at the top as a mammoth waterbar.

Soon you'll find yourself at a junction with Elephant Mountain Trail. Take a left and head south onto the ridge-of-views. On this trip the ground was literally covered in green flora and wildflowers. The views are top notch all around. Looking ahead/SSE Black Mountain dominates the horizon. Even in this above average rainfall year the ground sports deep drought cracks.

A half mile down this subtle sloping ridge you come to the southwest junction with Spur Cross Trail. A majority of my late afternoon hike was shaded by New River Mesa. Talk about a bonus!

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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Spur Cross Conservation Area $3 per person

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Spur Cross Trailhead
I-17 North & Exit 233, which is SR-74 the Carefree Highway. Head east on Carefree Highway 9.9 miles to Cave Creek Road. Head North on Cave Creek Road 2.6 miles to Spur Cross Ranch Road. The road jogs a bit here but you go 4.0 miles to the parking lot.

It is a well-graded dirt road. As it nears the parking area, the road leads past a large green house, through a tall gatepost and past a corral. There is a large signed parking area. Along the road about 75 yards northeast of the parking area, there is a self-pay station and a small informational kiosk with rudimentary maps. Pay the fee and carry the stub with you.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 35.8 mi - about 57 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 144 mi - about 2 hours 26 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 133 mi - about 2 hours 10 mins
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