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Go John Trail - CCRP, AZ
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The Go John Trail made Sweat Magazine's best hike list in last year's reader's poll. That proclamation made me want to check it out. If you're reading this, you are interested also. Coming from the East Valley, this was quite a haul for a short hike. The Cave Creek Recreation Area is located off the Carefree Highway north of Phoenix.


As you reached the trailhead parking lot, you can't help but notice the wide trail headed virtually straight up to a pass. This is the trail. Starting from the Trailhead sign at an elevation of 2,120 feet, head north. More appropriately, head up. The trail is an old jeep road that is quite eroded. It doesn't really switchback. It just heads up for about 3/4 of a mile until you come upon the pass. At an elevation of 2,470 feet the views into Tonto National Forest are beautiful. Catch your breath. Carefully check out the abandoned mine shaft to your left. Continuing north, you descend at almost the same degree as you ascended. The trail is a steep downhill for about a quarter mile. About this time you will encounter a junction with the Overton Trail. It is signed. From this point until the mile and a half mark you will cross and follow a series of washes. The trail is easy to follow.

At just under a mile and a half the trail leaves the old jeep road and ascends to the right. (If you continue to follow the jeep road, you run into the park boundary and state land. Last time I checked, you needed a permit to continue.) Follow the trail for the next mile or so. You will come across another trail junction on the left; it too heads toward state land. Stay right. After about 100 yards, the trail becomes very eroded as it climbs toward a false pass. As you continue along the trail, watch to your right for a short spur trail. I did not pay attention to the exact location, but there is an abandoned mine at the end of this trail. Taking a breather to peer into the mine, we encountered an enormous owl. He was just hanging out in the mine. It was cool. At about the 3-mile mark, you will have reached Gunsight Pass and an elevation of 2,530 feet. The views are excellent. The old trail continues ahead and the new trail heads to the right. Follow the new trail up the valley. After about 3/10ths of a mile the old and new trails rejoin. You will be heading southwest. Just before the 4-mile mark, you'll skirt alongside a quartz field and then come to another excellent viewpoint.

For the next section of trail, you'll be hiking along the side of the hill. When I did this hike, it must have been horse day, for we encountered more than a few riders heading in both directions. The remaining half-mile is hilly, with several short rises. You will be able to see the picnic area. Just past the four and a half mile mark, the heads right although the jeep road heads left and south. At 4.88 miles you return to the trailhead parking lot. My hike took 2 hours.

This trail is multi-use. There were mountain bikers as well as riders on the trail. Take caution and be aware of your surroundings. Also be wary of the mineshafts. This area was mined extensively. There are shafts everywhere. Although I enjoyed the hike, I'm not sure why it was voted to the best trail list.
Description 366 Triplogs  1 Topic
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 9
 Region
 
0
0
 Phoenix NE
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,130 feet
Elevation Gain 800 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,260 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.7
Author ck_1
Descriptions 9
Routes 0
Photos 120
Trips 117 map ( 396 miles )
Age 44
Location Mesa, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
33  2017-04-02 tibber
13  2017-03-11
Maricopa Trail - Anthem to CCRP to Spur Cross
topohiker
14  2017-02-04 xthine
5  2017-01-02 Droog
3  2016-09-17 gummo
7  2016-08-21 gummo
24  2016-04-28 rrshort
26  2016-04-07
West Boundary Cave Creek Regional
Widowmaker
15  2016-03-13
Overton GoJohn Quartz Slate
tibber
13  2016-02-18 Bradshaws
3  2016-01-10 tibber
7  2016-01-02
Overton Trail - CCRP
Crzy4AZ
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Backpack   No
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:18am - 7:42pm
Route Scout
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Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Slate Trail - CCRP
0.2 mi away
2.0 mi
157 ft
Jasper Trail - CCRP
0.3 mi away
0.2 mi
66 ft
Cave Creek Recreation
0.4 mi away
Clay Mine Trail - CCRP
0.5 mi away
0.8 mi
385 ft
West Boundary Cave Creek Regional
0.6 mi away
0.2 mi
118 ft
Overton Trail - CCRP
0.8 mi away
4.2 mi
385 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Arizona Blister Beetle
Black-Throated Sparrow
Cactus Wren
Common side-blotched lizard
Curve-billed Thrasher
Desert Cottontail
Desert Tortoise
Flower Crab Spider
Gila Woodpecker
Gilded Flicker
Gopher Snake
Honey Bee
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Mule Deer
Phainopepla
Praying Mantis
Scorpion
Speckled Rattlesnake
Sun Spider
Tarantula
Unidentified Fauna
Velvet Ant
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Patch-nosed snake
Zebra-tailed lizard
Flora
Barestem Larkspur
Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus - Compass Barrel
Blackfoot Daisy
Bladderpod Mustard
Blue Dicks
Brittlebush
Broad-Leaved Gilia
Buckhorn Cholla
Chia
Christmas Cholla
Chuparosa
Coopers Paperflower
Coulter's Lupine
Creosote Bush
Delphinium
Desert Anemone
Desert Bell
Desert Chicory
Desert Globemallow
Desert Mariposa
Desert Rose Mallow
Desert Trumpet
Engelmann Prickly Pear
Fairy Duster
Fiddleneck
Flat Top Buckwheat
Globe chamomile
Goldeneye
Hedgehog Cactus
Ironwood
Jojoba
Lesser yellowthroat Gilia
Mexican Gold Poppy
Miniature Wool Star
Mormon Tea - E. fasciculata
Narrow-Leaved Popcorn Flower
Ocotillo
Owl Clover
Pencil Cholla
Purple Prickly Pear
Red Maids
Rough menodora
Saguaro
Saguaro - Crested
Scarlet Bugler
Scorpionweed
Slender Janusia
Spiny goldenweed
Staghorn Cholla
Strawberry Hedgehog
Teddy Bear Cholla
Triangle Bursage
Velvet Mesquite
Whispering Bells
White Ratany
Wild Buckwheat
Wild Heliotrope
Woolly Daisy
Geology
Quartz
Meteorology
Moon
Named place
Black Mountain
Elephant Mountain
Go John Mountain
Sugarloaf Mountain
Culture
Aerostat
Balloon
HAZ - Hike HAZard
HAZ - Selfie
Horseshoe
Informational/Interpretive Trail Sign
Memorial
Military Aircraft
Mine Shaft
Trash Hauled Out
easy day hike
by ck_1

The Go John Trail made Sweat Magazine's best hike list in last year's reader's poll. That proclamation made me want to check it out. If you're reading this, you are interested also. Coming from the East Valley, this was quite a haul for a short hike. The Cave Creek Recreation Area is located off the Carefree Highway north of Phoenix.


As you reached the trailhead parking lot, you can't help but notice the wide trail headed virtually straight up to a pass. This is the trail. Starting from the Trailhead sign at an elevation of 2,120 feet, head north. More appropriately, head up. The trail is an old jeep road that is quite eroded. It doesn't really switchback. It just heads up for about 3/4 of a mile until you come upon the pass. At an elevation of 2,470 feet the views into Tonto National Forest are beautiful. Catch your breath. Carefully check out the abandoned mine shaft to your left. Continuing north, you descend at almost the same degree as you ascended. The trail is a steep downhill for about a quarter mile. About this time you will encounter a junction with the Overton Trail. It is signed. From this point until the mile and a half mark you will cross and follow a series of washes. The trail is easy to follow.

At just under a mile and a half the trail leaves the old jeep road and ascends to the right. (If you continue to follow the jeep road, you run into the park boundary and state land. Last time I checked, you needed a permit to continue.) Follow the trail for the next mile or so. You will come across another trail junction on the left; it too heads toward state land. Stay right. After about 100 yards, the trail becomes very eroded as it climbs toward a false pass. As you continue along the trail, watch to your right for a short spur trail. I did not pay attention to the exact location, but there is an abandoned mine at the end of this trail. Taking a breather to peer into the mine, we encountered an enormous owl. He was just hanging out in the mine. It was cool. At about the 3-mile mark, you will have reached Gunsight Pass and an elevation of 2,530 feet. The views are excellent. The old trail continues ahead and the new trail heads to the right. Follow the new trail up the valley. After about 3/10ths of a mile the old and new trails rejoin. You will be heading southwest. Just before the 4-mile mark, you'll skirt alongside a quartz field and then come to another excellent viewpoint.

For the next section of trail, you'll be hiking along the side of the hill. When I did this hike, it must have been horse day, for we encountered more than a few riders heading in both directions. The remaining half-mile is hilly, with several short rises. You will be able to see the picnic area. Just past the four and a half mile mark, the heads right although the jeep road heads left and south. At 4.88 miles you return to the trailhead parking lot. My hike took 2 hours.

This trail is multi-use. There were mountain bikers as well as riders on the trail. Take caution and be aware of your surroundings. Also be wary of the mineshafts. This area was mined extensively. There are shafts everywhere. Although I enjoyed the hike, I'm not sure why it was voted to the best trail list.
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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 $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info


$6 per vehicle or $85 annual

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Take 17 North to the Carefree Highway (Exit 223). Head east on 74/Carefree Highway. Turn left (North) onto 32nd Street. About a mile and a half up the road you enter the Cave Creek Park area.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
stay out of the scorching sun
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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