register help

Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North, AZ

no permit
264 31 0
Guide 31 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
3.3 of 5 by 4
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.88 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,766 feet
Elevation Gain 190 feet
Accumulated Gain 554 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.73
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
7  2019-08-17
Esplanade Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
12  2019-03-29 RowdyandMe
17  2019-02-09 RowdyandMe
8  2018-02-05 RowdyandMe
10  2016-11-28
Cliff Walk-Esplande Loop
15  2016-09-30
Badger Brawl-Esplanade Loop
10  2016-09-26
Cliff Walk-Esplande Loop
11  2016-06-30 RowdyandMe
Page 1,  2,  3
Author RowdyandMe
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 358
Photos 14,257
Trips 1,600 map ( 9,901 miles )
Age 65 Male Gender
Location Deer Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Nov, Jan, Mar → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:35pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Not your Cliffs of Dover
by RowdyandMe

From the Apache Wash Trailhead you need to start on the Apache Wash Loop Trail. Hike for a half mile then connect to the Badger Brawl Trail for the next 1.55 miles where you will reach the Cliff Walk Trail. The Cliff Walk Trail is 2.88 miles one way.

Once you are on this trail it is easy to figure out where the name came from. The trail follows the Cave Creek river bed for its entire length. The trail has some great views of the area and is well marked all way.

I did not see any other hikers on trail but did see about a half a dozen bike riders. It seems like a great place to ride bikes too. Lots of birds and butterflies witnessed on my February hike.

My hike started at Apache Wash Trailhead. I hiked to the end of the Cliff Walk Trail which ends at a bridge on the E. Carefree Hwy. From there I retraced my route back to the Apache Wash TH for a 10.15 mi out-n-back hike. There may be unofficial places to park near the north end of the trail along the E. Carefree Hwy. Which in theory would allow you to do a 6 mi out-n-back hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2015-02-22 RowdyandMe
  • Sonoran Preserve - North Map
    area related
    Sonoran Preserve - North Map
  • SPN - West Side Map
    area related
    SPN - West Side Map
  • SPN - East Side Map
    area related
    SPN - East Side Map

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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Badger Brawl-Esplanade Loop
Last hike of the Monsoon Season. I was a really nice afternoon for a hike. We never seen anyone one the trails and the cloud cover and breeze were most welcome.
During the first six miles of the hike I drank 1 liter of water and Rowdy drank two. The last four miles neither one of us drank water until we were back at the trailhead.
My ankle was really bother me since my fall at Windgate in the McDowells. I fed Rowdy some smoke pepper sausage. I decide to take a double dose of Oxycodone and washed it down with a five hour energy and it worked well.
I was able to pickup my pace with less pain. And when things started really going good I ran into a really awesome sunset and it slowed me down and it kept getting better and better.
It really was a great way to end the Monsoon Season.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
The first 5 1/4 miles was awesome as it was cloudy a sweet breeze and it sprinkled lightly and we really never got wet. We took a nice little break under the bridge and when we got up and started again it was clear skies.
It did not take long to warm up as there was really no shade for the next three miles and Rowdy needs his shade.
Tomorrows hike should be sweet as we head to the Mogollon Rim.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Esplanade-Cliff Walk Loop
Linda met me at my house from there we headed over to Apache Wash Trailhead. This was Linda's first time on this side of the preserve. The weather was really nice out today.
Once we started on the Apache Wash Loop I heard a Cardinal singing so we looked around and found it. As we got out to the Esplanade Trail it seemed like it got some much needed rain. Linda got to see the owls nest which she liked seeing. I did spot another bird sitting on a Saguaro that was pretty far from us. I really wasn't sure what it was until I uploaded it and realized it is a hawk.
As we traveled on the trail Linda got a surprised from a big Rattlesnake. We finally reach the bridge and went under it to the other side to check out the third owls nest. From here we jumped on the Cliff Walk Trail where we encounter another Rattlesnake which was larger than the first one. I was really hoping to get a better picture of it but wasn't able to convince Linda to grab its tail and pull it out.
Oh well it was really nice enjoyable hike and myself I love hiking after it rains as everything seems cleaner and I like the smell of rain.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Well I was glad to get this hike in today. I had another doctors appointment today and it took longer than I thought it would. I also had an 7pm appointment to see my granddaughter perform in the Wizard of Oz in Ahwatukee and it was great.
Anyway I started out on the Esplanade Trail and just started watching my time as I wanted to check out the Northside of Cave Creek Hwy. I had notice that Chris did some trails on the Northside but where he parked is posted no parking. As I hiked under the bridge and came out the other side I spotted my third Great Horned Owl Nest. I had just enough time to hike about a half mile out before I had to head back.
On my way back I did see a few signs that said trail but no name. And then I notice another sign to the left of me and checked it out and it read trail head parking. And really it looks like it has never been used so next week I'll have to check it out. I should be able to access Go John Trail from here and maybe make it a nice 10 mile hike or so without the $6.00 entrance fee.
All and all it was a really good hike with lots of cactus blooming. I just wish I had more time to explore.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Strung together a bunch of SPN trails to create a longer than normal workout. Swung back by the trailhead for lunch under the ramada, changed socks and shoes and took off again. Not much breeze, but intermittent cloud cover helped.

Saw two Western DBacks along the trails in the afternoon. The first was the largest and most polite -- a soft gentlemanly rattle at about 5 feet. The last one was smaller and far more agitated. Gave them both a wide enough berth and pressed on.

Nice day to be on the trails. Now off to soak the dogs. They are certainly tired.

Just the normal smattering of color.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Badger Brawl Trail-Cliff Walk Trail Loop
Well I decide to get Rowdy out early this morning. We got to the Apache Wash Trailhead about 4:45am and there were 11 cars already waiting. By the time the gate opened there were at least another dozen cars behind me. It was really nice and cool when we started about 79 out.
We headed out on the Apache Wash Loop Trail which was really a good idea, as no one followed. We did see a hiker coming from 40th street I guess because no one passed us.
The weather was great for the first 3 hours then it started warming up. and on the way back we did see a really beautiful Diamondback Rattlesnake laying across the trail. Hopefully I can get up early again for another hike.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Esplanade-Cliff Walk Loop
Used Widowmaker's track and ran it clockwise. I was looking for something today and this really fit the bill. For whatever reason I ended up with a NASTY blood blister on my pinky toe that was KILLING me for the last 4 miles! Hit the lot at 5:02 AM and there were already a couple of cars in the lot before me. Went all the way out to Carefree Hwy on Esplanade and came back on Cliff Walk trail. Lots of hot air balloons floating around and some military helicopters flew over. Saw my first saguaro cactus blossoms of the season, finally!

Saguaro, buckhorn, sunflower
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Cliff Walk- Esplanade Trail Loop
:y: A very nice hike. I met a park ranger on my hike we talked for a little bit. He also gave me a map with the new trails listed on it. Rowdy seem a lit on the hot side today,extra breaks.
It was really great to see a couple of Great Horned Owls nesting on the trail and a Horned Lizard.
I did go to REI after our hike and bought Rowdy a swamp cooler dog vest and a new pair of boots. Tomorrow could really be interesting.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Cliff Walk/Badger Brawl/Apache/Esplanade Loop
Coolest afternoon in a while, so why not hike? Parked off Carefree Highway just west of the Cave Creek Wash bridge. Pulled out the phone and hit the HAZ Tracks app. My first hike using the app. Love it.

Hadn't hiked Cliff Walk yet, so that was new. The cloud cover made it possible to move fast, well fast for me. Not much color, just some bright hedgehogs, the yellow of the creosote blooms and the smallest globe mallow I've ever seen.

Hit the intersection with Badger Brawl quick enough. BTW, this name isn't just random. A couple of years ago I ran into two badgers up near the official trail head on Dove Valley Parkway. Had no idea there were actually badgers around here.

Turned onto Skunk Wash to link over to Esplanade. Up ahead a biker was waving wildly. Got close enough to hear him yelling rattlesnake. A 2-and-a-half foot Western was stretched across the trail between me and the biker who was a good 40 feet from the snake. Apparently the biker and the Dback had been engaged in a long range standoff for about 20 minutes. I am far less patient, but sympathetic to the biker. Rolled a rock or two at the snake thinking he'd move off the trail. No luck, he was gonna stand his ground. I took a photo and walked around the little bully. Discussed snakes a few minutes with the biker (no, the don't strike 3 times their length, nor are they as speedy as a horse). Headed on down the trail. I didn't look back to see if either had budged. My second rattler this year and both on this trail.

Got some very very light sprinkles on the way back to the Jeep. Just enough to make everything feel even better. Was nice to get some trail time.
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve North
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Well I got a late start as usual but I was just happy to get Rowdy out this weekend. He has been really sick and didn't go with me last week. This was a 10 mile hike that crossed the Cave Creek dry river bed which is pretty wide. This trails follows along the creek the whole way and does have some nice drop offs. I would definitely be careful as some of the edges look like there is no support underneath. :scared:
This trail seems to be popular with bike riders. It is really nice this time of the year. So much green and birds and butterflies just a great day for Rowdy and me.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix take the 101 east and exit on N Cave Creek Rd. Head North until you reach E.Sonoran Desert Dr. Turn left and drive about five miles and turn right on Apache Wash Trailhead. There are restrooms at the trailhead but no drinkable water.
page created by RowdyandMe on Feb 21 2015 8:53 pm
3 pack - loud whistle
safety first
help comment issue

end of page marker