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Quien Sabe Trail #250 - 13 members in 36 triplogs have rated this an average 2.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Nov 12 2020
LJW
avatar

 Photos 658
 Triplogs 186

26 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2020
LJW
Hiking21.18 Miles 3,920 AEG
Hiking21.18 Miles   8 Hrs   44 Mns   2.57 mph
3,920 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Last year I did a loop with Skull Mesa and Quien Sabe from Spur Cross, and this year I tried to come up with a truer loop. Ended up with this route from Seven Springs to the Skull Mesa Ruins and Quien Sabe Peak that is shorter and has less elevation gain.

Started at sunrise, which was probably too early. Freezing cold and the sun wasn't high enough to light the yellow trees of Cave Creek or the canyon below Cramm Mountain. Water running the whole way down CC4. Too many cows have made waste of the middle stretch of the trail north of Skull Mesa.

Climbed up the side of the mesa to the higher ruins first then down to the lower. Mostly enjoy the ruins area for the views. Spent the next leg of the trip walking the entire length of the Mesa. Didn't bother to look for the trail. Tall cairns are around, but there's more or less no trail from the top of the Mesa to Quien Sabe Trail. There's a short switchback portion descending into the Matty's Fork drainage, but it's in rough shape and doesn't last long.

Quien Sabe Trail to east of Skunk Ridge. Up to Quien Sabe Peak where I saw the only people on the day. They had binoculars looking south, but we just exchanged waves, and I never got to ask what they were looking for. Descended south from Quien Sabe toward Skull Mesa Trail. Again didn't trouble with the trail that isn't there and climbed down to where it reappears on the ridge toward Cottonwood.

Took Cottonwood east from Skull Mesa. That half of the trail is much less scenic than the western half. Lots of cows. If I were to do this again I would skip this corner of Cottonwood and come down the ridge that leads away from Sabe to the northeast. Makes for an easier, shorter, more scenic hike.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Cave and Bronco Creeks within a mile of Seven Springs
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
5 archives
Feb 16 2020
ShatteredArm
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 99
 Photos 456
 Triplogs 102

37 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Matty's Fork loop, AZ 
Matty's Fork loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 16 2020
ShatteredArm
Hiking14.86 Miles 2,337 AEG
Hiking14.86 Miles   6 Hrs   12 Mns   2.42 mph
2,337 ft AEG      4 Mns Break
 
1st trip
A couple years ago, while bushwhacking down from the Skull Mesa ruins, one of my adventure buddies and I decided it would be fun to try bushwhacking all the way up Matty's Fork from Trail 4 to Quien Sabe trail. We finally decided to make it happen.

To get to where Matty's Fork crosses Trail 4, it's about 5.5 miles from Seven Springs, or about 6.5 from Spur Cross. We decided to start from Seven Springs, since it's more scenic up there anyways. Saw some cattle down in the narrow part of Cave Creek, which is a shame. More on that later.

Heading up Matty's Fork, the flow in the creek was light at first, with algae. Saw some nice ponds in some areas. Some areas were dry, but there was flow in most of it. Farther up, the water started to get colder (and clearer).

Things got interesting about half way up, where there is a narrow section with some small waterfalls, and one very refreshing-looking pool that you have to do some very light scrambling to bypass. It was really a nice little stretch of creek, and a little unexpected considering I had never heard anything about this place.

Upstream from the narrows, some faint paths appear, some of which seemed like trail that was at one point actually built. Shortly after that, we ran into what seems like an old homestead (or grow op) with a picnic table and a shack that is about to fall over. It has been around since before the early 90s, based on dates carved into the wood. Really interesting, but slightly eerie, place.

Past the cabin the creekbed starts to narrow, resulting in more plants to navigate, but still nothing terrible. Eventually we hit Quien Sabe trail, and took a break before the grunt up the hill.

Half way up the climb on Quien Sabe, we hit a section of the old Jeep road that has been cleared very recently. From there all the way down to the Cartwright Ranch, you can now drive a car on it. It's also cleared down towards Skunk Tank, and there's a cleared road down to a tank higher up the canyon from Skunk Tank, where there was heavy equipment. Someone is obviously doing something out there - my guess is it's cattle-related, and the fact that I saw cattle for the first time down in Cave Creek is not a coincidence. What a shame.

Aside from learning about the recent pillaging of a beautiful area, it was a pretty fun day, and I'll definitely visit Matty's Fork again. It was very pleasant as far as off-trail desert hiking is concerned.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mattys Fork Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow in most of the creek. A few dry stretches.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Quien Sabe Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Plenty of water at trail crossing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Skunk Tank Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
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Dec 28 2019
trekkin_gecko
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 370
 Photos 4,512
 Triplogs 2,993

62 female
 Joined Nov 17 2008
 phoenix, az
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2019
trekkin_gecko
Hiking12.20 Miles 2,400 AEG
Hiking12.20 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   2.22 mph
2,400 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Dave1
joebartels
johnlp
LindaAnn
The_Eagle
Tortoise_Hiker
got to tag along on bruce & denny's new year's hike
plan a was lime creek cabin, but weather dictated a change to plan b
hadn't done either hike, and always like to get a new peak - this one had been on my wish list
met up at 0600, piling in with linda and bruce for the drive up to seven springs
plenty of rain had fallen, and all washes had running water
got going around 0700, just barely light enough to see without a headlamp
37 degrees and it didn't warm up much from there
temps were best experienced crossing cave creek only 3/4 mile into the 12 mile hike :lol:
feet and hands were cold most of the day after that, but enough of an ascent to keep the core temp warm
skunk tank and quien sabe trails were new to me
muddy trail, low clouds and fog
started seeing snow on the ground at the turn off for the peak
easy enough off trail, except for actual snowfall as we reached the summit
unique conditions made up for missing views, but we didn't hang around beyond the 2020 photo shoot
a little slow dropping down off the peak
back on trail, the sun almost came out
uneventful return, and the creek crossing didn't seem as cold
fun hike with a good crew in spite of conditions
thanks for the invite, guys, and thanks to linda for driving us from north scottsdale - we owe you a car wash
_____________________
Dec 28 2019
LindaAnn
avatar

 Guides 44
 Routes 384
 Photos 3,692
 Triplogs 1,235

40 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2019
LindaAnn
Hiking12.12 Miles 2,562 AEG
Hiking12.12 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   2.22 mph
2,562 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Dave1
joebartels
johnlp
The_Eagle
Tortoise_Hiker
trekkin_gecko
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
I think today’s weather may have been custom ordered just for me—cloudy, foggy, and snowy—I loved it. Nobody else seemed to be quite as thrilled with the cold and soggy conditions, but then again, I may have been the only one with dry feet. Thank you to everyone who piggybacked me across the creek...

Got started from the trailhead just before light. Water in various forms was the theme of the day right from the start. Got across the creek without incident. Muddy trail beyond that. The low clouds and fog obscured most landmarks, so much of the trail was kind of a blur.

The off trail portion to the summit was much easier than I had anticipated, which was a welcome surprise. We started seeing snow on the ground through here, which steadily as we climbed. Thanks to the fog, having a preloaded track was a huge help. As we stood around the summit, snow began to fall. Since we were all cold, we didn’t spend much time up there. The snow trailed off as we descended.

Easy hike down once we were back on trail, mostly just a matter of staying upright in the mud. There were a few short uphill portions on the return, and I made sure to whine about every one of them. There were a few flurries of snow just before we finished.

Temps at the trailhead were 36 at the start and 41 at the finish, and felt at least 5 degrees colder at the summit. Fun hike with a great group of hikers!
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1 archive
Dec 28 2019
The_Eagle
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 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,890
 Triplogs 1,386

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2019
The_Eagle
Hiking12.65 Miles 2,642 AEG
Hiking12.65 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   2.26 mph
2,642 ft AEG      13 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Dave1
joebartels
johnlp
LindaAnn
Tortoise_Hiker
trekkin_gecko
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
This was the 10th installment
of the Turtle and Eagle New Years-ish hike.

Weather this week forced us into Plan-B mode.

A cool pre-dawn start and an early cold wet Cave Creek crossing set the mood.

The steady climb up Skunk Tank and then Quien Sabe trails got us into thicker and thicker fog.
This made the off trail to the peak a bit more challenging than usual. We could not actually see the peak, until we were about 30' away. We took our usual group photo at the peak, as the light snow, turned into large flakes, coming down quite heavy. A quick snack, in lieu of lunch and we retreated off the peak.

Partway down, the snow stopped, the fog began to subside and we were treated to some incredible views.
[ youtube video ]

Back at the saddle and trail, we enjoyed the warmth of a bit-o-sun.

The rest of the return was uneventful. Even the creek crossing seemed warmer.

Good hiking with John, Kelly, Dave, Denny again and with Linda for the first time.

Happy New Year All!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Seven Springs Wash Medium flow Medium flow
Flowing well after recent rains
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
Dec 28 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
avatar

 Routes 78
 Photos 7,395
 Triplogs 2,791

59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking12.65 Miles 2,642 AEG
Hiking12.65 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   2.26 mph
2,642 ft AEG      13 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Dave1
joebartels
johnlp
LindaAnn
The_Eagle
trekkin_gecko
Another end of the year/ 🥳New year hike with my buddy Bruce and some other top notch Hazers 😀. All the rain this week made this one a little muddy. A lot more energy spent trying to stay upright. Views on the way up were limited. We did see a whitetail and a couple cottontail. We made it to the summit and were greeted by a Sabe blizzard 😳🤣. It got cold but was kinda cool. Took our New Year pic and headed down. We still had to slip and slide on the way down but the skies opened up a little and we got some nice views. We had some cold feet but the temps were bearable. Fun group! Thanks to Bruce for planning this one and along with Linda doing the driving. Thanks to The whole group. Like HAZ you rock! Happy New Year to you and the whole HAZ community! 🥳😁
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Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
Nov 02 2019
ShatteredArm
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 99
 Photos 456
 Triplogs 102

37 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Nov 02 2019
ShatteredArm
Run/Jog14.46 Miles 2,697 AEG
Run/Jog14.46 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   2.89 mph
2,697 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I've jogged and hiked around the Cave Creek trail system quite a bit (my favorite in the general Phx vicinity), and when one of my friends suggested we summit Quien Sabe Peak, I did not oppose. One member of our group had the GPX route that has you going all the way up the ridge as soon as Quien Sabe trail crosses (the route on the guide). I suggested we take Quien Sabe all the way to the saddle before where it drops down to Mattys Fork.

Started at the gate on the road leading out to the old ranger station, and headed for Skunk Tank trail. I've done the Skunk Tank loop before, so knew what to expect... It was in the mid 40s at the start, but quickly heated up on the exposed trail. Headed south on Quien Sabe all the way to the saddle. It looked like the best way up would be up the draw, in a grassy area, instead of on the ridge. Turned out to be a pretty easy bushwhack to the summit. I think this route is probably far superior to the one that follows the ridge the whole way up; you can make much better time on the old Jeep road.

On the way down, we decided to take a detour and complete the Skunk Tank loop, with Cave Creek flowing. Stopped at the swimming hole for a bit (turns out the water is really cold, even in the desert), and then proceeded back to the car. Trail 4 is one of my favorites, and the leaves were popping a mile or so from the TH.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Still green a couple miles from the ranch, and a lot of fallen leaves in the Seven Springs area. Some good yellow foliage in between.
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2 archives
Oct 23 2019
LJW
avatar

 Photos 658
 Triplogs 186

26 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 23 2019
LJW
Hiking25.02 Miles 5,005 AEG
Hiking25.02 Miles   9 Hrs   39 Mns   2.98 mph
5,005 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Seems most people add Quien Sabe from the CC4/Skunk Tank loop. That seems like the more enjoyable option compared to adding it to the Skull Mesa/Cottonwood Loop. I had thought it would only add a little mileage and elevation, but that was wrong. This one turned into an ordeal.

Decided that fall colors could wait, and that I would rather hike in the last of summer's residual heat down around Phoenix. Started around 6:15am. Was in the dark or shade until the Skull Mesa turn off. Trail to the top is good, but once on top the trail is harder to follow the closer to Quien Sabe it goes. Plenty of cairns but still easy to get off route. The eastern side of Skull Mesa was alive with wildflowers. The route down on the east side is lost the lower it goes. Pretty well eroded the whole time it's there.

Headed to the pass between Skunk Ridge and Quien Sabe because it looked like the least steep approach. Took off up hill and it was very easy going. Wildflowers were pretty extreme. Stained my boots a bright yellow. Impressive views on the peak, especially of the Mazatzals to the east.

Once off of the Quien Sabe Trail and back onto Skull Mesa, after a while the trail more or less disappeared. Much of the stretch between the Quien Sabe junction and Cottonwood is overgrown, very faint, or gone. Ended up spending a lot of time walking cross country in search of the route. Would not be comfortable doing this part without GPS. Once on the descent to Cottonwood the trail is pretty solid.

The more I do of the Cottonwood Trail the more I like it. Really enjoyable stretches in the creek with a lot of shade in the hottest part of the day. Ran out of water at Cottonwood Spring around the Skull Mesa junction. Last six miles were pretty arduous. Saw a baby rattlesnake in the last thirty yards of the Cottonwood Trail. Only people I saw all day were in the last mile.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Heavy on Skull Mesa, pretty extreme on Quien Sabe Peak


water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Dripping Dripping
Small pools

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dirt Trough Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Puddles
1 archive
Oct 19 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 335
 Photos 7,051
 Triplogs 529

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking11.10 Miles 1,944 AEG
Hiking11.10 Miles   5 Hrs   43 Mns   1.94 mph
1,944 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The first time I did this hike, it was June 2002. It was the first time I hiked in this area, so I didn't realize how long the drive was to get out there. I saw the hike in the 100 Classic Hikes in AZ book and it said 8 miles. It's more like 11. I mistakenly thought it would be a casual Sunday afternoon hike. I remember driving home in the dark and having to get up early for work the next day.

This time I got a much earlier start, and decided to hike it in October, when the weather is cooler and the 7 Springs area has a lot of fall color. It was pretty cool in the morning, but it warmed up quickly once the sun hit, as usual. The Cave Creek Trail is nice in the level spot, and then as it climbs and descends, the rockiness starts to wear a bit. Nice pools of water to be seen below.

Quien Sabe gives the best vista views on this hike. Got a glimpse of the Skull Mesa ruins just at the bottom of the trail. It's a big climb, but it doesn't seem too bad since it's not really steep at all.

Skunk Tank Trail is a pain. Loose potato sized rocks everywhere. For a trail that loses all that elevation from the high point of this hike (going counter clockwise), there sure are a lot of uphill sections. At Quien Sabe spring I got sidetracked off the main trail, which added about a total 0.4 miles to the hike.

On my 8th mile, Route Scout glitched out on me and didn't record for nearly a mile. It suddenly started again on its own and gave a much longer reading of 44 minutes for that mile, which was really 1.5 miles. After that it was fine. the route is posted so I could measure my sidetracked portion to get my total mileage.

Packed a lunch but ate at the car when I was done, then had to manage my way through detours on the way home since the 101 south was closed until about 2 pm.
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Feb 10 2019
chumley
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 Guides 80
 Routes 681
 Photos 15,058
 Triplogs 1,549

47 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Quien sabe peak loop, AZ 
Quien sabe peak loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2019
chumley
Hiking9.48 Miles 2,298 AEG
Hiking9.48 Miles   4 Hrs   3 Mns   2.46 mph
2,298 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Needed a quick fix of outside, and having never mountaineered in this area, I decided that today would be a good day for it. Late start, on purpose. Early done. On purpose. A chilly wind made me get the long sleeves out up top.

There was a cairn and a register over on the "wrong" peak just east of the high point. Well, either that or contour lines on topo maps are drawn incorrectly. I generally bet on contour lines over the guy who says "that one looks higher" -- who is usually also the guy who builds the cairns. :sweat:

In any case, I lobbied for an off-trail route down the northeast ridge toward Bluebird spring and the Cottonwood Trail. Once we passed the spot marked "USLM 318" with no sign of a survey marker of any kind, we opted to skip the steep-looking drop to Bluebird and just made a beeline down for Cottonwood. Some pinball with catsclaw, but not much blood was shed and it was quick back to the truck.

Plenty of water in the drainages, (and some icy spots in sheltered areas), soft, muddy trail conditions, and some patches of flowers on the sun facing slopes. Good day!
_____________________
Tonya Harding's triple lutz
Feb 10 2019
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,634

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Quien sabe peak loop, AZ 
Quien sabe peak loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 10 2019
John9L
Hiking9.48 Miles 2,298 AEG
Hiking9.48 Miles
2,298 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
We were interested in a moderate hike within an hour of town and this one was a good choice. We left Scottsdale around 10:30am and headed for the trailhead. It was a beautiful day out and the road was busy. We arrived at the trailhead and started in by crossing the creek and headed up. It was a consistent climb as we made a steady pace. With some effort we connected on the Quien Sabe Trail. We would parallel the ridge leading to the peak and this worked well. After a mile we headed off trail and climbed for the summit. The going through here went well but careful footing was important. The rock is loose and the area is loaded with lots of unforgiving cacti. We topped out and enjoyed the views. Chumley relocated the summit cairn while I ate lunch.

After we had our fill on the summit, we opted for an off trail route leading to the NE. This turned out to be a good option. It was a shorter route and mostly straightforward. We had to dodge a lot more cacti and dealt with annoying desert scrub bushes. The ground was saturated and this helped with footing. We eventually connected onto the Cottonwood Trail and were back to the car soon after. This was a nice hike and didn't take a all day. Good to get out.
_____________________
1 archive
Nov 28 2018
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 45
 Routes 424
 Photos 5,648
 Triplogs 384

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 28 2018
DixieFlyer
Hiking15.50 Miles 3,150 AEG
Hiking15.50 Miles   8 Hrs   22 Mns   2.46 mph
3,150 ft AEG   2 Hrs   4 Mns Break
 
1st trip
I haven't hiked in the Cave Creek area in a while, so Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I decided to make our first ever hike to Quien Sabe Peak.

We started and ended the hike at the Cave Creek TH. We did an inverted lollipop loop hike. The loop was a CCW loop starting at Cave Creek Trail #4, then Skunk Tank Trail #246, then Cottonwood Trail #247 for a short distance, and then back to Cave Creek Trail #4. While on the Skunk Tank Trail, we went on the Quien Sabe Trail #250 for about a mile, and then went off-trail for about a mile to Quien Sabe Peak.

I followed the GPS track posted by Hansenaz. The GPS track that I posted pretty much mimics Hansenaz's track, although on the way back I went over to see if I could find Quien Sabe Spring. About all I found was a lot of catsclaw and a deer antler.

I really enjoyed this hike, particularly the first stretch on Cave Creek Trail #4. Most of that section of the hike was in a riparian area along Cave Creek. There was quite a bit of water running in this section of Cave Creek.

The Quien Sabe Trail was in better shape than I thought it would be. The off-trail section wasn't bad -- it was similar to hiking on Skull Mesa, although it was easier than hiking on Skull Mesa. There were some prickly pear cactus and other pleasantries to deal with while hiking offtrail up to Quien Sabe, but the cactus were easy to spot and just walk around. The worst part of the off-trail portion was all of the lava rock that you had to deal with -- it wouldn't be too hard to twist an ankle if you weren't careful.

There were actually 2 summits on Quien Sabe, and I am not certain which one is the highest. The first one that you come to has some large, waist-high rocks on it. Just to the east is another summit that has a summit cairn on it and a logbook inside the cairn. My GPS recorded the first summit as being about one foot higher, but the altimeter in my GPS is not precise enough for me to say for sure which of the 2 summits is the highest. The summit logbook was just in plastic sandwich bag, and something -- most likely a rodent -- had eaten through the bag and chewed a corner off of the logbook.

There was quite a bit of fall color along Cave Creek. There were also quite a few wildflowers blooming in various sections of the hike.

It was cooler at the TH than I thought it would be. It was 31 when we started the hike, and was 59 when we got back. This was on a day when the high was about 75 in Phoenix. The weather was close to perfect for the hike though.

Culture
Culture
Cairn
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
There were some fairy dusters still in bloom, but they were past their prime. I also saw quite a few other wildflowers blooming, but I do not know what they are.
_____________________
I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
3 archives
Nov 03 2018
Zort
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 23
 Photos 94
 Triplogs 18

51 male
 Joined Aug 12 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Rustic 7 Springs Ride from Bronco TH, AZ 
Rustic 7 Springs Ride from Bronco TH, AZ
 
Mtn Biking avatar Nov 03 2018
Zort
Mtn Biking21.13 Miles 3,355 AEG
Mtn Biking21.13 Miles   8 Hrs   10 Mns   3.00 mph
3,355 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Having a more positive experience than expected the previous weekend on Bronco (247), on Saturday 11/3 I decided to go back out, add some mileage and up the ante with a ride from Bronco TH, pursuing a very rustic CCW loop on: Trail 4 south from the TH :next: Cottonwood (247) south :next: Skunk Creek (246) south and west :next: Quien Sabe (250) south with a jog west through Matty's Fork then south again :next: Skull Mesa (248) west then south :next: Cottonwood (247) east/northeast :next: Bronco (245) east then northeast with a nice downhill bomb back to the Bronco TH. See the GPX.

8:56 AM - Rode from Bronco TH to Trail 4 TH. The road is in decent shape. Passenger cars will have no problem. Things are drying a bit, so it's pretty dusty again.

9:13 AM - Started on Trail 4. Riparian loveliness down along the creek. Nice photo ops.

9:25 AM - Crossing the creek was easy, though I didn't find the cairn marking the Cottonwood trail on the other side quite as easily as the previous week. It's a steep grunt up from the creek, but then the trail becomes a fun challenge of water bar step-ups and climbing. Cartwright Ranch - location, location, location!

9:35 AM - Junction of Cottonwood and Skunk Creek. Skunk Creek is generally too steep and full of baseballs and baby heads to ride many of the climbs, but the scenery is rugged, remote and totally worthy. Steep uphills lead to steep downhills, and things can become eye-popping and hilarious if you let gravity have her way with you. Keep off the front brakes and out of the deep ruts, and you could be just fine. Wow, this trail has a ton of elevation gain! Oh look, a tarantula tiptoeing down the trail.

10:22 AM - Junction with Quien Sabe. Hmm... Before long the machete came out of its sheath and extra time was spent in several places hacking cat claw and prickly pear from the wreckage that was perhaps a trail once. There appears to have been no work done and very, very little foot traffic on Quien Sabe since the Cave Creek Complex Fire in '05. Several skeletal trees crossed the trail. Some were cleared, but plenty of cat claw, prickly pear, tall grass, ruts, holes, dead-fall and general mayhem remain to entertain adventure seekers.

12:30 PM - Matty's Fork stopped me cold. What a stunning little gulch! What a welcome bit of shade! There was simply no resisting a quick explore down the creek bed on foot. Noshing and extra hydrating was done. Water was not flowing in the stream bed, but there may have been some under the sand. From Matty's, finding the remnants of Quien Sabe required patience, GPS and a huge cairn. Even then I repeatedly lost it in the high grass, or did I? Who knows? ;) Nearing the junction with Skull Mesa, there was a short section of trail utterly choked with Desert Holly (or something similar) that required more hacking to pass.

1:18 PM - Skull Mesa Trail east of the mesa is really sketchy, eroded, and a tricky thing to follow. A pair of red-tailed hawks circled and screamed above Quien Sabe Peak. As a boy growing up in the rain forest of the northwest, I dreamed of being a bald eagle. Now, in the desert southwest, the dream soars on tawny wings and super-heated updrafts. Uh-oh, all the route finding, daydreaming and playing with the machete were putting me way behind schedule. No mechanical issues with the bike though, so things were sure to get better. They didn't - at least not yet. Finding the cut where the trail drops off the shoulder of Quien Sabe Peak down to Cottonwood required wandering, backtracking, GPS and a few extra minutes. The downhill section of this trail is a nasty gutter. Being solo, I dared not attempt riding down the steep, loose-powder, jumbled garbage chute sections. Further down, off in the weeds (literally) I abused a prickly pear with my front tire and had to futz with the tire to get it to seal up. Yep, getting further behind schedule.

3:05 PM - Finally, I made it down off the mesas and into Cottonwood Creek. Yesssssss!!! Thank you, Jesus and praise to Allah! Just upstream from the trail junction was a shady spot where two arms of the drainage came together and the creek flowed strong. I dug a small depression, and the silt quickly cleared leaving a pool of clean, cool water. I treated a couple liters, and snacked on some Dukes sausages and an RX bar. And there was a great rejoicing. After that, riding in the creek and sometimes alongside it on the Maricopa Trail was much more enjoyable than the chossy and choked mess I'd been through to this point. In fact, it was downright pleasant.

4:15 PM - Junction with Bronco Trail. Climbs too steep to climb were attempted, and when that didn't work there was pushing the bike uphill. And there was *lots* of this lung-busting fun. Not to worry, the trek was nearing its end. Good thing, too - the shadows were growing taller than my, uh...metaphors. Or something.

4:42 PM - Tank in the East Fork of Bronco Creek. Really, seriously, there was just One. Climb. Left. A nice little seep partway up the trail darkened the soil and gave off that unmistakable water-on-the-desert smell of life and salvation. Then it was smooth sailing down the ridge to Bronco Trailhead.

5:10 PM - Bronco Trailhead. 21.6 miles all wrapped up in a tidy 8 hours and 10 minutes overall. Moving time was 5 hours 29 minutes, and the moving avg was just about 4 mph. That's a solid day's work, and great solo adventure.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Hike HAZard
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

dry Quien Sabe Spring Dry Dry
Dark soil but no flow from the spring at the trail. I did not explore up to the spring itself
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Zort
http://instagram.com/zort_the_beholder
Dec 19 2017
KBKB
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 22
 Photos 2,169
 Triplogs 233

59 male
 Joined Apr 22 2012
 Fountain Hills,
Seven Springs Inner LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 19 2017
KBKB
Hiking15.33 Miles 2,844 AEG
Hiking15.33 Miles   8 Hrs   58 Mns   1.92 mph
2,844 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
I did the Seven Springs Inner Loop as a scouting trip for a point-to-point hike that I'll be doing later in December. I was not familiar with most of these trails, though after starting, I realized that I had been on Cave Creek #4 and Skunk Tank #248 before.

In any case, I decided to do it in a CCW direction, specifically:

Starting from Cave Creek TH, I went south on Cave Creek #4, south on Cottonwood #247, south and then west on Skunk Tank #246, south on Quien Sabe #250, east and then south on Skull Mesa #248, east and then north on Cottonwood #247, and, finally, north back to trailhead on Cave Creek #4.

The short section of Cave Creek #4 was straightforward, though it was cold starting off. I was feeling sluggish from not sleeping well the night before - one of our cats woke me up shortly after falling asleep. It was cold enough that I saw frost on the ground.

Cottonwood #247 crosses Cave Creek; fording the creek was easy, but I (initially) missed the spot where it headed uphill out of the creek. There was a sign and there were cairns; I just wasn't observant enough. #247 headed uphill for a while which warmed me up and got me to feeling better.

Soon thereafter, I was at the intersection with Skunk Tank #246. There was even more hiking uphill along this stretch, but it felt good because even more cobwebs were cleared away from my brain. It started looking familiar to me and I realized that I had hiked here many years ago.

Quien Sabe was scenic and easier to follow than I expected. I only referred to my GPS watch once to find my way back to the trail after a side path led me the wrong way.

Skull Mesa was probably the most fun due to the challenging route finding. I probably wouldn't have been able to figure it out without the GPS track. That said, there were cairns, but they weren't spaced closely enough to be able to walk from cairn to cairn. I think that cows might have grazed this area in the past, because there seemed to be an abundance of faint trails. I would follow one for twenty yards or so and then check my watch to see that I was off route. With the aid of my watch, I'd get myself back on route, sometimes finding a cairn along the way. I'd proceed a ways further along a likely looking path (or sometimes just wandering across the desert along no path), get off route, get back on route, etc, etc.

After a while of doing this, I found myself on a hillside wondering if the trail followed the contour that I was on - which sort of looked like a trail - or headed downhill or even back uphill. I consulted the map on my phone and found that it went downhill. When I got to the bottom, I located a well trodden trail and wondered how I ever missed it. That said, the trail wasn't visible from where I had been on the hill.

The Skull Mesa Trail started heading steeply downhill w/ switchbacks. Route finding got easier here, but the footing was less certain. I used both hiking poles to make it down some sections. The views were absolutely stunning here.

When I got to the Cottonwood Trail, I expected the going to be easy due to that section now being part of the Maricopa Trail. Shortly after leaving the intersection with the Skull Mesa Trail, the Cottonwood Trail entered Cottonwood Creek. The trail is routed to repeatedly cross the creek, going in a fairly direct fashion through islands of brush and trees. It's somewhat overgrown in this area, which means some amount of bushwhacking if you actually intend to follow the trail. I did two bushwhacking sessions between creek crossings before deciding to just walk in wide open dry creek bed. This was somewhat longer, but was a lot easier and quicker too. I suspect that it added somewhat to the overall distance that I hiked that day.

The Cottonwood Trail left Cottonwood Creek and went over a ridge. Soon thereafter, it crossed Bronco Creek and, shortly thereafter, I came to the intersection with the Bronco Trail. I continued on Cottonwood #247, walking in Bronco Creek for a while. The trail then headed up high the right (east) bank for a good while. I got slightly confused at the point where it turned to go up the bank because there was another path which continued onward for a short way lower along the bank. But, once I got up high on the bank, #247 was easy to follow.

It eventually headed back downhill and dumped me into Bronco Creek. Once in the creek, I checked the track on my GPS watch and saw that I (somehow) should have been high on the left (west) bank at this point. There didn't seem to be any obvious way to achieve this from where I was, however, since the bank was very steep and also densely vegetated. In retrospect, I should have probably backtracked south along the creek to figure out where the trail crossed over, but I didn't... Instead, I continued northward in Bronco Creek, keeping an eye on the diverging track that my watch showed. Shortly before reaching the Cartwright Ranch boundary, I noticed a faint trail heading up out of the creek; better still, there was a 247 trail marker! I headed up the faint trail and, after some amount of bushwhacking, encountered a much better trail, which I took to be the newer and rerouted 247 trail that I should have been on. This diversion undoubtedly added a bit more distance to my route.

At this point, it was fairly straightforward to get back to #4, and from there back to the trailhead. I did mess up slightly after getting back on #4, probably due to fatigue.

I really enjoyed this hike; winter seems like a good time to do it. I brought two 3L water reservoirs with me and drank about 4L of the 6L that I brought. The only water that I saw (that could be filtered) was in Cave Creek. There were a few spots in Cottonwood Creek which were damp. It may be that digging a short ways would have yielded water.
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Jan 08 2017
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,187
 Triplogs 451

55 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Spur Cross TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 08 2017
toddak
Hiking21.50 Miles 3,500 AEG
Hiking21.50 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   2.05 mph
3,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Always a good area to kick off the new hiking year, despite the punishment of the rocky terrain. Saguaros in abundance. CW loop, used The Eagle's 1/31/15 GPS track to visit 6L ranch.
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Jan 23 2016
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,634

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2016
John9L
Hiking14.26 Miles 2,844 AEG
Hiking14.26 Miles   6 Hrs   10 Mns   2.54 mph
2,844 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
We wanted a moderate hike relatively close to town. We set our sights on Cave Creek. I remember FOTG posting a hike to Quien Sabe Peak and thought it looked fun. The drive to the TH took about an hour and we were off.

We decided on a CCW loop with Quien Sabe Peak. The first few miles flew by as we hiked along Cave Creek. This is a really nice stretch of trail. From there we made the climb up Skunk Tank Trail and saw some wildflowers blooming. There were several patches along this stretch.

From there we connected on Quien Sabe Trail and then headed off trail for the peak following FOTG's route. The going was slow as we fought dense vegetation with a mixture of sharp cacti. Our pace was really slow through here. Along the way we found a ruin marked with a cairn. It's a pile of rocks in the shape of single building. I found a few pot shards. FOTG would like this but not many others. :) We continued on and hit the peak where we took a break and looked over the route. I had Joe's route in which they drop off the west side of the peak. This would significantly shorten the off trail portion. We decided to give this route a go and were glad we did. There's a variety of game trails and the vegetation is light. We were back on trail within 30 minutes.

Once back on trail we flew back to the trailhead completing the loop. This hike took more effort than we anticipated. I'm really glad we got it done. Take the western route you'll save some time and effort.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Patches of wildflowers blooming at the higher elevations of the Skunk Tank Trail
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2 archives
Jan 23 2016
clairebear
avatar

 Photos 178
 Triplogs 158

38 female
 Joined Oct 26 2011
 Tempe, AZ
Quien Sabe PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2016
clairebear
Hiking14.26 Miles 2,844 AEG
Hiking14.26 Miles   6 Hrs   10 Mns   2.54 mph
2,844 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
With a name like Quien Sabe Peak what can one expect?
The trails in Cave Creek are so immaculate that we made excellent time and therefore decided to bag the peak since it was right there. I was unprepared for off trail since I was wearing some new trail runners that didn't really offer much in protection against tough terrain and especially cactus. Naturally my foot made impact with a prickly pear and 9L was kind enough to pull the spines out while I wigged out -- mostly in frustration with my choice of footware for this part of the hike. It was about 1.6 miles of off trail to the summit had slowed us down considerably. The summit view was really nice 360 views for miles and the usual prominent landmarks in the distance - Weavers Needle and the Superstition Ridgeline, nice view of 4 peaks ETC. After we bagged the peak we dropped down quickly to the Quien Sabe Trail and made our way back to the trail head in good time.
Quien Pinche Sabe Peak? Fun times- I'm glad we did this ^
Oh. And 9L found some ruins and pottery chards near the summit too, so thats pretty neat! ;)
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Jan 31 2015
The_Eagle
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,890
 Triplogs 1,386

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Skull Mesa Loop, AZ 
Skull Mesa Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2015
The_Eagle
Hiking19.52 Miles 3,612 AEG
Hiking19.52 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   2.05 mph
3,612 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break16 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
It's been far too long since I've hiked out of Spur Cross. Especially since I live so close to it. There was a 70% chance of rain on the day, and with rain for two days previous, Cave Creek was sure to be running decently.

7:30 in the morning, and we were the first vehicle in the lot. We kept our feet dry by rock hopping the 1st and 4th crossings and going off trail to bypass crossings 2,3 5 and 6. I'd forgotten how steep it was in sections of Cottonwood #247 trail, just to get to the steeper Skull Mesa #248 trail. It was a temperate 55 degrees, but I was wringing wet and glasses fogging up from all the humidity.

Once on top of Skull Mesa, we made our way on the Skull Mesa "Trail" to the east side. The western portion is cairned and easy to follow. The eastern portion, not much to follow there. Still the rain held off, but we had periods of fog on top, and then rising fog from below as we started down.
35 seconds of sheer excitement :next: http://youtu.be/xii8-a...
The top of the mesa was pretty muddy, our shoes picking up extra weight along the way.

On the Quien Sabe #250, we decided to take a short cut to Cave Creek #4 down a wash. There some sweet geology and flora along the way. On Cave Creek #4, we got our first sprinkles of the day. Not enough to to put on the coat or break out the chrome dome.

We cut off Cave Creek #4, down to the 6L ranch area, on a spur trail. I'd never been here or read too much about the area. This is a nice area the I need to come back and check out. We stumbled upon some Glymps and Metates and it looks like there much more to see here.

Getting back from here was easier, since we no longer had to try and keep our feet dry, we just walked on through all the creek crossings

The Metate Trail and Towhee Trail are always fun to hit when in the area. Some of the biggest Saguaros in the state, mixed with all sorts of greenery
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cave Creek - SPRCA Medium flow Medium flow
Cave Creek had a nice flow going.

dry Chalk Canyon Dry Dry
Observed dry where it meets Cave Creek
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There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Dec 14 2014
hikerdw
avatar

 Routes 165
 Photos 2,665
 Triplogs 449

61 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
 Mesa,AZ
Quien Sabe Loop, AZ 
Quien Sabe Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 14 2014
hikerdw
Hiking15.10 Miles 2,781 AEG
Hiking15.10 Miles   6 Hrs   38 Mns   2.59 mph
2,781 ft AEG      48 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Great loop hike. Highlights were the Quien Sabe Trail which I really enjoyed, and the Cottonwood Trail. The route finding on the Quien Sabe Trail was pretty straight forward, the trail is a little overgrown but the tread is well defined and the route takes a very logically path. The area where we did have a little challenge keeping on track was on the Skunk Mesa Trail, between Quien Sabe and before you make the decent down to the Cottonwood Trail. We would be on trail then at a blink of an eye we were off trail, repeat, repeat, repeat. After a bit of this, at Ryan's request, we picked a landmark and just headed straight for it. It worked out, got us to where we needed to be, and stopped the retracing we were doing.

The road to the TH was in really good shape, even with the recent storm. Saw no other hikers the entire day, but we did run into a camp set up in the creek bed of Cave Creek, right at the crossing of the Skunk Mesa Trail, so we had to walk right through their camp at 7 AM, while they were sleeping. IMO, not the best choice for a camp.
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Mar 20 2014
rehlers
avatar

 Routes 5
 Photos 58
 Triplogs 44

45 male
 Joined Apr 18 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek / Cottonwood Loop via Spur CrossPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2014
rehlers
Hiking17.50 Miles 3,950 AEG
Hiking17.50 Miles   9 Hrs      1.94 mph
3,950 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
I've wanted to do the loop of trails in the middle of Seven Springs are for awhile, but 24 miles in a day from spur cross was a bit much for me. Instead, I drove in an alternate route from the north and cut the distance to around 17-18 miles total. Photo set includes rattlesnake, gila monster, and dead fox or coyote (not sure) on trail.

Just north of the cave creek campground along FR24 is another dirt road, FR468. Turning left onto this road and following it to the very end, you stop on the side of the hill overlooking Cave Creek and the Cave Creek Trail #4 (almost exactly where it intersects with Skunk Tank trail). With about .25-.5 mile of off trail effort to the bottom, you can reach the cave creek trail. I then did a clockwise loop as follows:

Trail Conditions
Skunk Tank Trail #246 - mostly easy to follow and in good shape, with little to no overgrowth.
Quien Sabe Trail #250 - trail is faint in parts, but usually cairns help you along and the early parts are along an old road. Not much overgrowth either.
Skull Mesa Trail #248 - fairly faint in many parts, generally cairns available to help. A few spots where cairns were widely spaced. Not much overgrowth. Great views on top of skull mesa. Quite steep coming down.
Cottonwood Trail #247 - easy to follow and well marked. No overgrowth
Cave Creek Trail #4 - easy to follow and well marked. No overgrowth.

Road Conditions
FR24 - passenger car should be able to make it ok
FR648 - Pretty decent, except the last mile or so. Definitely need 4x4 for that section and at least high clearance for the rest.
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average hiking speed 2.39 mph
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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.

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