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Go John Trail - CCRP, AZ

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Guide 399 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3 of 5 by 65
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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
Backpack No
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42  2019-04-02
Go John Canyon Loop
17  2019-03-15
Clay Mine Trail - CCRP
5  2019-03-14 Sun_Ray
1  2019-03-10
Overton Trail - CCRP
30  2019-03-08
Spur Cross to CCRA - Maricopa Trail
30  2019-02-16 tibber
6  2019-02-06
Overton Trail - CCRP
45  2018-12-26
Spur Cross to CCRA - Maricopa Trail
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 12
Author ck_1
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 0
Photos 120
Trips 117 map ( 396 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:16am - 6:25pm
Official Route
18 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
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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2001-11-05 ck_1
  • Campgrounds
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  • Cave Creek Map
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    Cave Creek Map
  • Cave Creek Map - Closeup
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    Cave Creek Map - Closeup
  • Cave Creek Map - Print Version
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    Cave Creek Map - Print Version
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.

Most recent of 77 deeper Triplog Reviews
Go John Trail - CCRP
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First time hiking the trails in CCRP and we both enjoyed the trip. We did three loops, first up was Go John where we cross paths with Angela (Tibber), made our introductions and chatted for a bit, then we headed up the Overton Trail and back down the north leg of Go John, seeing Angela again at the switchbacks, then after a short snack break at the TH we headed out on the Slate and Quartz Trails to complete the third and final loop.

I am not sure what a normal day is like in the park but the traffic seemed really light compared to what I have seen at other parks, which I really enjoyed. There was a haze pretty much the entire day but the temps were really nice.

Nice to finally meet you Angela :)
Go John Trail - CCRP
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Subtitle: MISTified by the Marine Layer in the desert :o .

This was a workout hike for me. Mainly wanted to do Overton down rather than up. Wanted an extra mile or two so started with Go John to Jasper to Slate to Quartz (met a couple bikers there), to Go John where on the east side I ran into hikerdw and his son. He says "you look familiar", "Tibber?" and once I looked up and at Dave, I recognized him too. I asked what he thot that dust was in the distance and he thot it was more of a moisture mist. The humidity was 34% this morning so that made sense. The mist also seemed to filter the sun. I heard what route they were planning and said I would probably see them over on the Overton.

I continued on my hike where I saw a couple more hikers and a trio of bike riders in the distance. The mist was all around so I had to stop and take a picture or two as I don't recall seeing such a phenomenon in the desert before. I climbed up the hills of Go John and onto and down the Overton where I indeed did run into Dave and Ryan(?). We said it was nice to have some shade on this side and I told them how they could get to Slate Trail from Go John/Jasper combo.

I finished off the Overton where I started running into a few more hikers and bikers before arriving back at the parking lot. I had a good hike. Trail is nice and I can see where they do some work now and again to keep it that way.
Go John Trail - CCRP
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With Judy. Go John :next: Quartz :next: Slate :next: Jasper :next: Go John
AVE HR:114
MAX HR:139
Go John Trail - CCRP
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Needed to do a little workout hike and check out wildflowers. Mission was successful. About a week to 10 days past prime on the wildflowers but I did get to see quite a few delphinium on the northeast side. I went around 1:30pm and encountered less than 1/2 dozen other people. I went counterclockwise. Trail is in good condition. I paid particular attention to the old trail coming off of Go John saddle. It was a bit wider but came down more directly than the current switchbacks they have. Rather interesting.

Camera took a terrible tumble but seems okay. Certainly due for a new one but doesn't look like Panasonic is going to upgrade the ZS60 this year (I currently have the 50) so I may have to bite the bullet on the 60.

Video, yes. In production... not yet. 4-10-2017 (added 4-24-2017)
Part 1 [ photoset ]
Part 2 [ youtube video ]
Part 3 [ youtube video ]

Brittlebush in certain sections was still cheerful. Poppies, Lupine, Delphinium, Fairy Duster, Hedgehogs, Chuparosa, lots of Globe Chamomile.
Go John Trail - CCRP
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Family New Year's hike with friends. Started out hiking about 11:30 and had cool, overcast conditions all day. My girls were pretty tuckered out by the end of things, but motivated by promises of an ice cream cone on the way home. This hike made my wife officially want to get some hiking boots, hopefully I can start dragging the family out for more regular hikes instead of once or twice a year...
Go John Trail - CCRP
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It was a beautiful morning and 52 degrees when I pushed off at 9:15. It was 62 degrees when I finished just a little under 2 hours later. I hiked this counter clockwise and saw very few people until I was heading back after the intersection with the Maricopa Trail 5.7 miles in 1 hour and 55 minutes with 820 feet of AEG. I need to get my hiking legs back as I was a tad stiff the next morning.....
Go John Trail - CCRP
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I parked at the Overton TH and went left or clockwise. When I hit the Go John Trail junction I went left heading North on the Go John... at the hairpin turn or where the Maricopa Trail brakes off I turned around and went back the same way. Our friend Debra's hybrid Overton hike. With Debra and Judy.
AVE HR:102
MAX HR:133
Go John Trail - CCRP
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With Judy...Go John-Jasper-Slate-Quartz-Flat Rock-Quartz-Go John. Only sample size of two but both of us felt really good after spending 7 days at 7000 feet in Grand Tetons. Only wildlife we saw in the park was mule deer and a coyote running across the road and today we saw a tortoise and a 4 point mule deer! We did see a huge herd of bison and about 20 antelope outside the park on a preserve.

Ave HR:111
High HR: 138
Go John Trail - CCRP
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After meeting a friend in Buckeye, I drove up to Cave Creek to hike Go John. I never hiked it at night. It was okay, nothing special, except the cool glasses that I found which really made me look intellectual. It was very buggy. I experienced gnats in AZ for the first time. They weren't that bad. I saw a lot of sun spiders on the trail, about a dozen. I didn't know they were so common in Cave Creek. Saw a few tarantulas, which was expected, and a diamondback.
Go John Trail - CCRP
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I parked at the Overton TH and went left or clockwise. When I hit the Go John Trail junction I went left heading North on the Go John... at the hairpin turn or where the Maricopa Trail brakes off I turned around and went back the same way. Our friend Debra's hybrid Overton hike.

HR AVE:110, 71%

Permit $$
Maricopa Regional Parks - Fees more info

$7 per vehicle,$85 annual or trade your first born for the life pass

$2 walk, bike or horse ride into park

Map Drive
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.
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