username
X
password
register help

Skull Mesa Ruins, AZ

details
drive
permit
forecast
route
stats
photos
triplogs
topics
location
567 44 2
Guide 44 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
Rated
3.8
3.8 of 5 by 18
 
12
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 16.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,345 feet
Elevation Gain 1,970 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,884 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8-9 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 36.02
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Ruins
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
21  2019-03-23 cliknstik
5  2019-01-12
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon
DixieFlyer
17  2018-12-12 caragruey
24  2018-12-05
Skull Mesa and Chalk Canyon
DixieFlyer
25  2018-03-17 Nightstalker
15  2018-03-04 LindaAnn
7  2017-11-24 DixieFlyer
15  2017-02-11 LindaAnn
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Al_HikesAZ
author avatar Guides 11
Routes 88
Photos 2,643
Trips 241 map ( 2,306 miles )
Age 87 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
Official Route
 
5 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Rewarded with Ruins
by Al_HikesAZ

Overview
Ruins of an ancient Verde Hohokam pueblo and fort reward you for this arduous hike. Skull Mesa is the large, flat mountain north of Cave Creek. It is in the middle of the Cave Creek / Seven Springs trail system of the Tonto National Forest - approximately 31 miles of interconnected trails. This description is for the hike from the Spur Cross Conservation Area at the southwest up to the mesa and on to the ruins. Skull Mesa can also be reached from the northeast starting from the Seven Springs campground. This Spur Cross route is steeper but slightly shorter. For many people, the drive to the Spur Cross trailhead will be shorter and easier than the drive to the Seven Springs trailhead. The Seven Springs route will be described in a separate trail description.


In the Falcon book, Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen, Dave Wilson describes the history and archeology of this site. He also describes proper etiquette when visiting ancient ruins.
The basics of his rules of etiquette are:
1) Do not lean, climb or walk on walls or roofs
2) Do not pick up an artifact then place it somewhere else
3) Do not touch rock art
4) Do not chalk rock art
5) Do not take pottery
6) Do not build fires

Hike
From the Spur Cross trailhead, start north on the old dirt road. You will make your first crossing of Cave Creek on well-placed boulders and then enter the Tonto National Forest. You will cross Cave Creek 3 more times and end up on the east side. The crossings are normally shallow if water is running, but you will need to hop across on some boulders if you want to stay dry. At 2.2 miles you reach the trailhead for Cave Creek Trail #4. (elevation 2,394 feet). Continue on. You will reach Trail 247 in about 200 yards at 2.33 miles 2,425 feet elevation. Turn right. Cross a small creek bed and begin the up & down through the hills, talus & scree. You will climb 250 feet in about 1/3 of a mile. You reach Cottonwood Springs at 3.35 miles. This spring appears to have perennial water. Continue on past the lava flow and the Trail 247 marker until you hit a gate and a junction at 5 miles 3,180 feet elevation. Cottonwood Trail 247 continues on, but you will turn left on Trail #248. The fun begins with a series of steep switchbacks.

You reach the mesa at 6 miles 4,250 feet elevation (33 55'46"N, 111 55'21"W). Follow the well-cairned trail for eight or ten cairns to the east until you get past the rock outcropping and onto the main part of the mesa. If you head due north on reaching the mesa, you will eventually have to climb over the rocks and they get higher as you go out on the mesa. Up until now, the trail has been well-marked and easy to follow. Now you will leave the trail and bushwhack north across the mesa. The ruins are just off the northwest edge of the mesa. Your goal now is the right edge of the mountain range in the distance. During the summer I have encountered rattlesnakes in this area so proceed with appropriate caution. The Cave Creek Complex fire in 2005 charred the mesa. At 6.7 miles (33 55'87"N, 111 55'22"W) you will find an area of black boulders and petroglyphs. Now head northwest to the edge of the mesa. Your goal is the third peak from the left of the mountain range in the distance (see photo). At 7.8 miles you will actually leave the mesa and descend into the first small saddle. Here you will start clambering over the boulders. You will work your way down then back up through another saddle and then down and across the last saddle. Here you will find the ruins of the pueblo. Continue through the saddle, past the pueblo and up a small hill to the ruins of the fort at 8.3 miles (33 56'56"N, 111 55'54"W). Leave anything you find for others to enjoy. Read the Rules for Ruins in the overview above. Enjoy the spectacular views and head back to the trailhead.

There are ruins on Elephant Mountain to the southwest and St. Clair mountain to the east that "should" be visible from here. I could not find them through my binoculars, but I wasn't exactly sure where to look or what to look for.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2006-02-10 Al_HikesAZ
    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 20 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Six intrepid hikers decided to #OptOutside on Black Friday and hike up to the Skull Mesa ruins. The first 2 miles were very easy, and the next 3 miles were fairly "normal" for an Arizona hike on a trail in a national forest. The next 1.2 miles up to the top of Skull Mesa were a bit more strenuous, but not too bad. The hike from the top of the mesa to the ruins was totally off-trail through knee high grass with lots of prickly pear cactus along the way. Thankfully the gps track that I downloaded from HAZ took us right to the ruins. The fort ruins were very interesting and are worth going to imho. I did not see the pueblo ruins, although I did not really know what to look for. I also did not see any of the petroglyphs that are supposed to be there. There were some pottery shards scattered around though.

    I made one deviation from the gps track: as we neared the ruins, rather than going up and over the second peak that you come to, I went around it on the west side. There was a faintly marked trail to follow, and it was much easier than going up and over this peak.

    On a future hike, on the way back from the ruins I am going to explore the feasibility of going from the ruins over to Cave Creek Trail #4. There will be a descent involved, but it should shorten the route back by over 2 miles.

    I have done this hike twice over the past month and saw wildlife both times: the first time I came across a half dozen or so javelina; the second time I saw a tarantula on Trail #247, and I came across a deer leg on top of the Mesa.

    We made good time on this hike, with a moving avg. of 2.6 mph. We spent about 2 hours of 'downtime", mostly on top of the initial summit to Skull Mesa, and at the fort ruins.


    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I’ve always said that every adventure is complete only when you are safely home, sipping a cold drink, admiring your photographic attempts, and reveling in the completion of yet another fun outing. It is a rule with me, never to be broken. This trip put my devotion to that concept to the test.

    The Knifeback on the north end of Skull Mesa with its Indian ruins has long intrigued me. Different routes and scenarios have crossed my mind at different stages. The hike from either Spur Cross or Seven Springs always seemed at the edge of my ability given the amount of water I’d need to carry. Lately I’ve craved a backpacking trip as well. Slowly a plan formed. I’d hike from Spur Cross to the 6L Ranch, overnight, and then assault the Knifeback and return via 6L and Spur Cross. Cave Creek could supply plenty of water.

    Day 1 - 6 Miles

    Mary Jo, the wife, decided to hike in to 6L with me and then return home before sunset. She is not a backpacker, but was good company. We had lunch at 6L and she helped gather firewood for the night before returning to Spur Cross and seeing a nice mule deer doe. She thinks any trip without seeing a large animal is a bust, so I was happy for her.

    We’d been seeing fresh horse tracks on the hike in and sure enough when we arrived at 6L there were eight horses with cowboys and cowgirls taking a break. One horse was standing exactly where I planned to sleep. Luckily he only stood there. These folks were really decked out in well worn authentic western gear. Figured it was some sort of local club. Made some conversation with one of the older gents who told me they were from Washington. He must have seen my facial muscles tense when he said that. I tend to frown pretty bad when someone says Washington. He quickly and emphatically added “STATE” and we were fine. The group of friends have trailered their mounts here for the winter for the last 15 years. Nice folks. Later I noticed wispy horse mane clouds spanning the northern sky. Seemed appropriate.

    Christmas and my impending birthday had provided some new toys for me to play with on this trip. A fancy new knife (Fallkniven Idun), cookpot (Snowpeak Kettle #1), and a Kelty tarp gave me entertainment for the afternoon as I set up camp. When the light turned good I played with the camera some.

    Dinner and then a fire took me into evening. The creek had assembled a nice pile of driftwood from various floods just upstream. This provided most of my firewood. Who would ever think you could have a driftwood fire in the desert? The evening brought a slightly chilled breeze in from up canyon as the slopes shed their cooling air down into my low camp. Just like the hills and mesas drain their water into the springs that feed Cave Creek, so too do they give up their colder air every night. The fire felt good.

    Last thought I remember before drifting away came from my favorite Bon Iver song, Calgary, with its haunting sounds and uninterpretable lyrics.

    There's a fire going out,
    But there's really nothing to the south

    Sold, I'm Ever
    Open ears and open eyes
    Wake up to your starboard bride
    Who goes in and then stays inside
    Oh the demons come, they can subside


    Day 2 - 16.5 Miles

    Awoke from a nice night just before sunrise. A quick breakfast preceded a quick shuffling of packs and gear. I’d brought along an REI flashpack, both as a stuff sack and my pack for the assault on the Knifeback. I’d backtrack to pick up my large pack on the way out. Loaded essential gear, some lunch and 4 liters of water, a bit more than I’d need but who knows what might happen along the trail.

    Headed up the old horse trail and made the bench between Cave Creek and Skull quick enough. Pretty close to where that trail intersect the #4 trail there is an old airplane crash site. Stopped off to check it out for a few minutes and then hurried to the Skull upslope.

    Going up the north end of Skull starts steep and gets worse. By the last few hundred feet there was more exposure than I was comfortable with, but being close urged me on. I’ve been reading Death in the Canyon in preparation for an upcoming rafting/hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. One common thread with deaths inside the Canyon was solo males, off trail, with lots of vertical around them. Looking back down I decided the authors had a point. I wasn’t going to be at all comfortable going down without a rope. Had some paracord in my pack, but ascending or descending on that stuff, while doable, is definitely an emergency procedure in my book.

    Made the ridgeline safely and worked over to the fortress first. The top of the ridge north of the fortress makes the hike to Angel’s Landing in Zion look pretty tame. At least they have chains to hold onto there. The fortress is impressive. The builders of this place had to be agile and strong to get that amount of rock up these steep slopes. Took photos and then worked down to the village remains below. Pottery shards everywhere. Explored around some but the route down was on my mind.

    Stopped for a quick snack and drink and some serious thought. Had to retrieve my pack, yet be home tonight (work tomorrow). Wasn’t going down the way I came up. Other routes off the north and west sides looked possible and I was sure some were, but which? If I cliffed out, then what? If I broke something in a fall, THEN what? I had calculated the mileage and time to go off the south end of Skull via the trail I was familiar with, then Cottonwood to the Creek and then north to 6L and then back down to Spur Cross. If I moved now and with a purpose I had the time and water. If I attempted a direct descent back to 6L and failed then that option was lost to me. Two risky miles or eight fairly safe familiar miles.

    I remembered my prime directive. And what the heck, I was here to hike right? So across the mesa I went, then down to the intersection with the Cottonwood. Managed to get a cell phone call out from the top of Skull. Answering machine at home of course, but at least the new plan was communicated. Kept doing the math. Sunset vs miles to go and how fast I needed to move. Always carry a nice headlamp, but I hate hiking after dark though the last few miles into Spur Cross could be done in the dark, so there was a cushion there. Water and my own energy level were the other factors.

    Cottonwood is all rollercoaster west of the intersection with the Skull ascent. Seems forever and the footing never gets good. Did a little work on my feet where some hot spots were forming. Leukotape P is my replacement for moleskin. It’s inexpensive and fantastic. Stands up to both wear and water.

    Finally made the Creek, turned north and moved. Suck my camelback dry as I hit the first fence at 6L. Changed socks (never anything but smart wool and always a spare pair), reconfigured the packs, filtered enough water to gulp down a liter and carry two more for the hasty exit to Spur Cross.

    A pack of coyotes serenaded my last mile into Spur Cross. Wasn’t sure if they were complaining about me or congratulating me. More likely they had just caught a rabbit dinner and cared not one iota about us hikers. But I liked their tune either way.

    Tossed the pack in the Jeep 30 minutes before sunset and pulled into the garage looking at one of those Arizona Highways sunset scenes. Cold drink, download the photos, tell the wife about the fun I had. Tomorrow is back to the grind. Today is one of those you remember. Done the Knifeback. Hmmm, Sugarloaf looked pretty cool in the afternoon sun.
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Beautiful day for a hike! started off from the Spur Cross TH at about 7:15 and on we go. We saw a few folks at the parking lot, but did not see anyone else until we were on our way down from the Mesa. Very dry out here, this is the first time I have been up here and there has been no water in Cave Creek on the lower stretch. We did find one small, stagnant pool on the Cottonwood trail not long before the junction with the #248, adn that was all we saw that we did not bring. Made good time on the Cottonwood trail and up to the Mesa, but the top had an abundance of tall grasses that were doing their best to hide all of the rocks and snake holes, so we had to slow down considerably once we got up there. We were able to find some nice petroglyphs along the trail up to Skull Mesa, and we saw some on the big Black rock wall too. it is a long traverse to get back to the ruins, but they did not disappoint. The village and fort were well preserved considering how long they had been out there, and there were thousands of pottery shards to be found if you looked around. We saw some of many different colors, even saw a few edge pieces, pretty cool! The magnitude of work that had to have gone into this settlement is astounding. The fort walls were 3' think in most areas, meticulously stacked and even filled in at the middle. I am guessing this was in attempt to stop bullets from the white man! I can't figure how anyone could have stormed these walls considering how there is basically only one decent way up. Had lunch at the fort and started our way back, eyed the scramble down to the #4 trail, but it looked unsavory enough that we just went back the way we came. Long day, but well worth it! I had done the Cottonwood/Cave Creek loop back in the spring, so this was a must after that trip. Can't imagine doing this one when the rattlesnakes are active, the mesa seemed like a minefield.
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I wasn't sure if this plan would work, but I figured if nothing else I'd have an interesting day looking around the flats below the ruins at the north end of Skull Mesa. It turned out that the steep route up didn't look too bad so the loop worked out just fine.

    Coming in on the Cave Creek Trail #4, after ~5 miles I took a detour and passed by an old plane wreck and a few petroglyphs I'd seen before. Eventually I left the trail and picked a path up the side of the steep hill at the north end....it really wasn't too bad. Along the way I did notice one area of stacked stones indicating an old ruin.

    Once past the steep stuff I hit the ridge and took a right. This was a lot of fun as the ridge was narrow with good views on both sides and led directly to the fort at the top of the hill. The fort is very impressive with well preserved massive walls (relatively speaking of course).

    Continuing south you get a great view of the whole mesa ahead of you and then drop to the main Skull Mesa Ruin. Many logs comment that the ruin is disappointing but I thought it was a good one. It covers a wide area with many articulated rooms. I found quite a few large pottery sherds and even a turquoise pebble in one of the rooms. I think the fact that cows and motor vehicles get nowhere near this ruin has kept it in better condition than many of the other mesa top ruins in the area.

    From there I continued south along the mesa top until I hit trail #248 which connected to others to get me back. It made for a nice loop.
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I forgot how unbelievably challenging this hike can be. I started from the parking lot around 11:30am. I flew through the Cave Creek wash area in about :45min. Once I started on Cottonwood trail, I suddenly remembered the rolling staircase stairclimber of a ride that this trail takes you on before finally dumping you out at the Skull Mesa trailhead. Well I made this 2.7 miles of ups and downs in a little over an hour. So now for the approx 1000ft ascent onto the mesa that is called Skull. The rocks here are extremely loose... so be very careful when hiking alone... helicopter rescue only territory. Once I tackled the switchbacks, I landed on the flat mesa. Walking through the brush you can easily find the cairns. I did not have the extrordinary details provided by the author of this hike to find the ruins but I did some exploring to the northeast and parts of the west. After a brief break on the southern facing rim, I headed back for the truck.
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Exciting day, finally can scratch this...more or less, off the bucket list. This one has been on my list even before I started hiking, even before I found out about the Indian ruins, probably as long as the 16 years that I have lived in the Valley. Wendi has been saying no to this one for almost two years now but we have finally run out of challenge hikes in the area so last night when she suggested it I was all over it! :y:

    We promised ourselves that we would at least make it to the top of the mesa and from there decide to shoot for the ruins. Of course by the time we got up there we both knew that despite the amazing views and some beautiful desert hiking that I was never going to convince Wendi to come up this hill again so it was now or never if we were gonna shoot for the Ruins. Luckily Wendi hadn't yet seen the trail or complete lack of it. No cairns, no ducks, no suggestion of one. Just dried just shin high grass hiding rocks and prickly pears forests. The prickly pear were the most deceptive. I often felt like I was in a maze of them. There is a bit of scramble to climb up to the upper level of the mesa but not to bad then its more of the same. After about a mile of this Wendi was ready to quit and just let me go by myself but that seemed like a no-go because still over a mile from the ruins which meant 2 miles which would at the very least be an hour. So we just to a breather under the shade of a pretty cool juniper and soldiered on. We made it on to the peninsula and followed a now visible trail as jinked here and there navigating a maze of rocks. So far nothing really resemble ruins. I told Wendi to wait while I went on to see if I could see anything cool. I got to the next peak and realized that there was still a good 3/4 of a mile of hard walking and we were running out of time. So I just stood there and absorbed the views. It must have been amazing to live here, another example of man's sheer will to exist. This view,walking out on to this peninsula and being able to see at least mile and a half over the open valley below as the crow flies, is one that I hope everyone takes the time to see. Be on notice there is lots of pain, but that's the price of admission.

    I turned back and headed to next bench then turned back to see if I could see any hint of the ruins but couldn't. As went to turn back, to my surprise another couple was coming up the trail. The guy asked if could see anything cool. I gave him the scoop on my adventure and we parted ways. I think they must have went all the way because we never did see them come down the face of the mesa as Wendi and I made our way back to the trail head.

    Not too much for fauna except for spotting a Western Cardinal! This literally came on our radar only this weekend in this months edition of Arizona Highways. Got at least one good pic with our new camera. There were some obvious signs of deer on the top of the mesa. Oh, and we spotted a Gopher Snake sunning himself on the trail.

    Awesome hike maybe next year, shhh. :-$
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Amazing hike in the Spur Cross recreational area. You need to be prepared before this hike! It is lengthy and snacks are recommended. I went early on the day after Christmas so not much traffic. The normal Cave Creek wash area was pleasant. I had a tough time locating the Cottonwood trail as the sign does not make it clear that you are to climb the ridge on the right to get to the trail. After this confusion, the remaining trail is well marked (with a quick stich through some grasslands - watch for cairns). I was alone, so I didn't hang on the mesa for too long with all the paw prints about.
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Dead horse on Bronco Trail, Dead cow on Cottonwood Trail.

    Very little water out there right now. Almost aborted the trip due to lack of finding a good water source until fairly late the first day. Ultimately found 3 good sources in total the entire trip.

    The indian fortress is great. The east half of the Skull Mesa trail is terrible. Cottonwood #247 is kinda boring without water or flowers. China wall was interesting. Jacks spring was in good shape. This area will likely be much nicer in the spring with both these missing factors.


    Ran into a man who worked the ranches in the area at the end, he gave me a bunch of info about sites less seen. Will have to return someday!
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Made my first trip to the ruins with Chris and Larry from the club. Chris organized and also brought a GPS unit with a route from someone's previous trip. This proved a huge help as we navigated to the ruins. It was very easy to veer off the trail. We were constantly route finding and had to back track at times to relocate the trail.

    It was a long and slow hike to the ruins. We made good time reaching the top of the mesa but then it took a while to bushwhack across. I was constantly on the lookout for some petroglyphs but never did find any. As we approached the ruins the going became much more difficult. There are a few challenging sections and we thought we were close but then realized we had one last section. I was pretty wiped out by that point but there was no stopping after we've gone this far.

    We crossed the final saddle and reached the lower ruins. You don't see much at first but as you look around you start to notice more and more. There were a variety of dwellings and pot shards were scattered all over. After a few minutes looking around, we made the final climb to the summit to view the fort. The fort is well preserved. There are several standing walls that are roughly five feet high. It's amazing that they are still standing after hundreds of years of exposure. We had lunch and then returned to the saddle.

    Once back at the saddle, we looked for a safe shortcut that would take us down to Trail 4. Chris and Larry felt that had a doable route picked out. The more I looked at it the more uncomfortable I felt. I could not justify the risk vs reward. After much discussion, the guys agreed to go back the way we came. From there it was a slow and steady pace back to the trailhead.

    It was a long day and a lot of hiking. I doubt I ever return to these ruins but they are definitely worth checking out once. Thanks again to Chris for organizing. It was a great day! One last thing is I'm guesstimating on the mileage and AEG. Both may be a little high but that is how my body feels today!
    Skull Mesa Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Started at 9am from the Spur Cross TH. Went down the Metate trail instead of the FS48 for a more homey feel, to get more creek crossings, to view the huge Saguaros, and to get a view of the lizard on the rock. If I counted right, there are 7 creek crossings before getting to the Skull Mesa Trail head 2.25 Miles after leaving the Parking Lot.

    The creek as of 3/30/2010 was lower and boulder hopping is not be a problem.

    Trail 247 was in good shape and not too much of a workout. Saw a Crested Saguaro in this section of the trail. Through the gate and on 248 the climb begins. It starts out slow and gets to be a pretty good workout to the top of the Mesa.

    Once on top we walked to the south end of the Mesa for some great views! It's 1:15 now and time for some shade and some lunch.

    The walk north across the Mesa towards the Ruins was pretty easy except for one thing. There are many areas of grass that are close to knee high, that are real good at hiding small prickly pear cactus. I found a number of them (Feet, shins, and knees). When the Mesa starts to narrow you will reach a small mound before you get to the Ruins. The easier route here is around the mound, either side, no need to climb the hill.

    The ruins were a bit of a buzz kill. Some rocks piled up maybe knee high, maybe 6 - 10 rooms in a few different locations. We saw some pottery shards but no glyps. We worked our way over to "The Fort". From what I can surmise, they are located on/by the northern most peak (just north of the ruins).

    We went around the West side of the peak, and think we saw the remnants of "The Fort" but for lack of time and water supplies we decided to bushwhack the west side of the hill down to Route #4. If you decide to do this pick you route carefully. It's a little steep, slippery, and has numerous ways to help you let some blood. It was loosing 600ft of elevation in 9/10 of a mile and 53 minutes for us to get down. Please follow a previous hikers GPS route down. If they were able to post a route down, then they made it. Once on route #4, it's just a 5.7 mile march back to your car. All the elevation is gone..... just the march back.

    We got back to the TH and enjoyed an icy cold adult beverage and high fived the great day in the wilderness!

    I really enjoyed this hike. The views from on top of the mesa are spectacular!!!

    Permit $$
    Spur Cross Conservation Area $3 per person


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    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
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
    help comment issue

    end of page marker