Find
Map
Post
Find
Aa
username
X
password
register help
Skull Mesa from Spur Cross TH, AZ
details
drive
permit
forecast
route
stats
562
69
1
active
topic
nearby
Skull Mesa is a prominent feature of the landscape north and east of Cave Creek. Rising 4426 feet above sea level, it appears from the Spur Cross Trail Head much closer than one finds once the hiking begins. The rewards of this long and roller coaster ride, however, are considerable. The solitude of the high Sonoran desert....Cottonwood Spring, a hidden oasis...a few Petroglyphs, and the view from the summit make the day worthwhile.


Hike: You begin your hike at the TH of the Spur Cross Ranch conservation area. The trail goes northward past two restrooms and an administrative trailer then drops into the Cave Creek watershed. There are four creek crossings, the final of which takes you to the east side of the creek. At this point, some 2.2 miles into the trip, there is a large sign of the trail system of the area. At the sign go straight ahead, following Cave Creek trail #4 for 300 yards, then take a right onto trail Cottonwood Trail #247. Follow Cottonwood trail #247 past Cottonwood Springs to the junction of the Skull Mesa summit trail. There is a fence here... the Skull Mesa trail #248 turns sharply left. Pass some Petroglyphs on your left (within several hundred yards of the fence) and climb 1.1 miles (1100 feet elevation gain) to the summit.

At the summit we immediately turned left off the trail and walked about 300 yards to our lunch spot, a rocky outcropping on the edge of Skull Mesa, with magnificent views of Sugar Loaf, Black Mesa, Elephant Mountain, and the distant Valley of the Sun.

We noted that this year (November, 2005) the trail had deteriorated considerably due to heavy rains in the area, and a flash flood had climbed the banks of Cave Creek in October.
Description 69 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 7
 Region
 
0
0
 Phoenix NE
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,325 feet
Elevation Gain 1,942 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,850 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 26.25
Author TerrySwicegood
Descriptions 5
Routes 0
Photos 52
Trips 4 map ( 35 miles )
Age 72
Location Litchfield Park, AZ
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
30  2017-04-23
Skull Mesa - Cottonwood Creek Loop
rcorfman
15  2017-02-11
Skull Mesa Ruins
lindaagm
12  2016-12-31 lindaagm
9  2016-12-10 BiFrost
39  2016-12-10 tibber
16  2016-04-15 JasonCleghorn
3  2016-03-05 lwbenso
12  2016-02-13
Skull Mesa - Cottonwood Creek Loop
rcorfman
1  2015-12-19 oceanwithin
12  2015-11-22 trekkin_gecko
9  2015-11-10 Oregon_Hiker
5  2015-10-08 JuanJaimeiii
Page 1,  2,  3
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Forest Tonto
Backpack   Yes
Preferred   Oct, Nov, Feb, Mar → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:21am - 7:29pm
Route Scout
import queue
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Black Mesa - Cave Creek
same trailhead
11.7 mi
3,100 ft
Skull Mesa - Cottonwood Creek Loop
same trailhead
17.1 mi
3,500 ft
Skull Mesa Ruins
same trailhead
16.6 mi
1,970 ft
Spur Cross Loop
same trailhead
5.5 mi
600 ft
Cave Creek / Cottonwood Loop via Spur Cross
0.0 mi away
24.5 mi
3,950 ft
Cave Creek Indian Ruins at Chalk Canyon
0.0 mi away
9.5 mi
1,657 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna
Canyon Tree Frog
Cardinal
Coyote
Desert Cottontail
Flame Skimmer
Gila Monster
Javelina
Mallard Duck
Mule
Mule Deer
Phainopepla
Queen Butterfly
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Flora
Albert's Buckwheat
Chia
Christmas Cholla
Chuparosa
Common Sunflower
Cottonwood
Desert Honeysuckle
Desert Marigold
Desert Rock Daisy
Fleabane
Globe chamomile
Owl Clover
Perezia
Pincushion Cactus
Prickly Pear
Saguaro
Saguaro - Crested
Wild Cucumber
Geology
Basalt
Tuff
Meteorology
Moon
Sunburst
Named place
Black Mesa
Cave Creek
Cave Creek - SPRCA
Continental Mountain
Cottonwood Creek
Cottonwood Spring
Dirt Trough Creek
Elephant Mountain
New River Mesa
Rock Tank Spring
Skull Mesa
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
Sugarloaf Mountain
Culture
Aircraft
Cactuscat Pose
Gila Petroglyph Style (Abstract)
Gila Petroglyph Style (Anthropomorphic)
Gila Petroglyph Style (Zoomorphic)
HAZ Food
Hohokam Mano and Metate
Hohokam Rock Slick
Intrepid Back Shot
Spring Box
Stone Dwelling
Strenuous and Rewarding
by TerrySwicegood

Skull Mesa is a prominent feature of the landscape north and east of Cave Creek. Rising 4426 feet above sea level, it appears from the Spur Cross Trail Head much closer than one finds once the hiking begins. The rewards of this long and roller coaster ride, however, are considerable. The solitude of the high Sonoran desert....Cottonwood Spring, a hidden oasis...a few Petroglyphs, and the view from the summit make the day worthwhile.


Hike: You begin your hike at the TH of the Spur Cross Ranch conservation area. The trail goes northward past two restrooms and an administrative trailer then drops into the Cave Creek watershed. There are four creek crossings, the final of which takes you to the east side of the creek. At this point, some 2.2 miles into the trip, there is a large sign of the trail system of the area. At the sign go straight ahead, following Cave Creek trail #4 for 300 yards, then take a right onto trail Cottonwood Trail #247. Follow Cottonwood trail #247 past Cottonwood Springs to the junction of the Skull Mesa summit trail. There is a fence here... the Skull Mesa trail #248 turns sharply left. Pass some Petroglyphs on your left (within several hundred yards of the fence) and climb 1.1 miles (1100 feet elevation gain) to the summit.

At the summit we immediately turned left off the trail and walked about 300 yards to our lunch spot, a rocky outcropping on the edge of Skull Mesa, with magnificent views of Sugar Loaf, Black Mesa, Elephant Mountain, and the distant Valley of the Sun.

We noted that this year (November, 2005) the trail had deteriorated considerably due to heavy rains in the area, and a flash flood had climbed the banks of Cave Creek in October.
© 2005 - 2017 hikearizona.com

-
    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


    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    stay out of the scorching sun
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
    About
    FAQ
    contact
    Shop
    © 2017 HAZ