username
X
password
register help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross TH - 22 members in 66 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
1, 2, 3, 4  Next
66 triplogs
  All Months
66 Triplogs
Jan
19
Feb
8
Mar
7
Apr
5
May
3
Jun
0
Jul
0
Aug
0
Sep
1
Oct
3
Nov
9
Dec
12
 
Dec 08 2020
LosDosSloFolks
avatar

 Photos 1,766
 Triplogs 141

65 male
 Joined Feb 10 2019
 Cave Creek, AZ
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ 
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2020
LosDosSloFolks
Hiking7.49 Miles 890 AEG
Hiking7.49 Miles   3 Hrs   18 Mns   2.52 mph
890 ft AEG      20 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Solo hike today, and I wasn't wanting another trek in the CCRP so I went north through Spur Cross into the Tonto National Forest. I knew the creek would be dry so I wasn't expecting much but I was mistaken. This area never disappoints me. Things were greener than I was expecting and all the Cottonwood and Sycamore bosque areas were golden with fall color. Hard to believe this is just 10 minutes from my home. :)

There were only a handful of cars in the lot at 9am and I didn't see a another soul until the very end of the hike as I neared the TH. More on that later. Everyone else must have headed west towards Elephant Mountain. North is way better...but don't tell anyone. :-$

I've done this lollipop loop a couple of other times but this time I went CW for a change of pace. Route shown in photoset. [ photo ] I went a little farther north than shown to take my break and turn around near Chalk Canyon. There's about a 3/4 mile section of ankle busters on the north end of FR 1533. I'm undecided if going up was any improvement over coming down through this area. Gotta watch your step for sure.

After the 400' climb the views were the payoff. Easy goings on the way back with a short section of Trail 4 on the return route. There was a cool view and photo of the Cottonwood Trail 247 on the way back. That trail is a workout from east to west but from west to east I consider it a real a$$ripper. I suggest east to west for anyone doing the Maricopa Trail @PhxRiles. :)

As I neared the parking lot on the return a solo woman hiker approached me and I yielded 15' well off of the trail as she was coming uphill. She promptly pulled up her mask and then lowered a plastic full face and head shield. She looked at me as if I was Quasimodo and scowled. I said "hello" and she said nothing but might as well of made the sign of the cross at me. ](*,) If you are that nervous about the virus I suggest maybe staying home.

On a positive note, I had a great hike on a beautiful day. Now...if only the rain would come. :pray:
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Lots of yellow and gold with touches of orange.
_____________________
Stop dreaming about a better yesterday.
1 archive
Nov 15 2020
kaiboxer
avatar

 Photos 3
 Triplogs 25

46 male
 Joined Sep 12 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 15 2020
kaiboxer
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   23 Hrs      0.26 mph
1,700 ft AEG31 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Third time taking kids into this area. A great hike to find out if they will like backpacking. Relatively flat, nicely shaded, a number of places to make camp, and water in the creek all three times.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
There were cottonwoods and oaks changing still.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Big Maggie May Light flow Light flow
The creek here is flowing.

dry Little Maggie May Dry Dry
I've never know what Little Maggie May is, but the creek is flowing nicely right now.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Seven Springs Wash Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
There was water along the western side of the CCC Campground, and flowing over the road.
_____________________
Sep 25 2019
LosDosSloFolks
avatar

 Photos 1,766
 Triplogs 141

65 male
 Joined Feb 10 2019
 Cave Creek, AZ
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ 
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 25 2019
LosDosSloFolks
Hiking7.49 Miles 890 AEG
Hiking7.49 Miles   4 Hrs   35 Mns   1.91 mph
890 ft AEG      40 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routes
Partners none no partners
This is a redux of a lollipop loop hike we did this past March in which I forgot my camera. [ popup triplog ] The Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and this section of the Tonto National Forest to the north were hit on Monday by a tornadic maelstrom and several inches of rain. Camera in tow we set out up Cave Creek which is now flowing thanks to the aforementioned rain to check out the carnage.

After hiking NOBO through SCRCA and entering the Tonto Forest the loop we took starts at the Skull Mesa Trailhead. All the trails we used were washed out to some degree and had lots of damage. Round ankle roller rocks were almost everywhere so we got to utilize all those "fast twitch" muscles to stay upright. Lots of MUD too, the kind that is very slick, sticky, and deep. We bush wacked ourselves around when we could but sometimes there was no room or we were fooled by the ground appearing dry. After one step in this stuff your boots pick up about 3 pounds! This really slowed the SloFolks down even below our normal pedestrian pace.

At our fourth water crossing Mrs.SloFolk had a misstep on the bank and went down in the mud. I probably shouldn't have laughed but it really was funny to witness. DOWN GOES FRAZIER! :lol: The loop takes you up 400 feet in gain to a ridgeline overlooking the creek. Great views in all directions. This is on "Forest Road" 1533. Road is a misnomer as most all of it is a single track as is "Road" 48 which is the trail that follows the creek north of Spur Cross. Modern maps have it as FR1053 but I'll go with the Carsonite trail markers which read 1533.

Good overhead view of the old gold mining operation on the west bank before dropping back down to creek level to complete the loop. Just to the north is Chalk Canyon and then a little farther lies the defunct 6L Ranch. Both places are great destinations on their own with lots of ancient and pioneer history.

Even with the mud, humidity, and falls this was a fun little hike as this area never disappoints. We feel so lucky to have this in our figurative back yard.
Named place
Named place
New River Mesa
_____________________
Stop dreaming about a better yesterday.
Apr 13 2019
rayhuston
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 84
 Photos 3,931
 Triplogs 678

63 male
 Joined Mar 09 2012
 Gilbert, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2019
rayhuston
Hiking7.07 Miles 708 AEG
Hiking7.07 Miles   4 Hrs   10 Mns   1.92 mph
708 ft AEG      29 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A college buddy, Reed, is in town this weekend. We had one day to make the most of it. I think we did.

We had breakfast at 8am at Butters in Scottsdale, close to his hotel, then headed for the Cave Creek trailhead. My first time on this trail so I hoped to enjoy it just as much as I knew he would. The goal was to see a couple of crested saguaros. We saw one, but not without the assistance of three other hikers we came across.

My buddy is a talker. At the 3 mile mark, he wasn't as talkative as he was earlier so I decided to turn us around. He didn't argue. A short while later, we ran into the three hikers, Annie, Paula and Judy, who were on their way to the saguaro. Annie said it was less than a quarter mile away. We both wanted to see it, so we decided to join them.

Glad we did. It was a wonderful sight to see and four of us were seeing it for the first time. Amazing. We turned around there and hiked back with our new acquaintances, whereupon we came across a Gila monster. A bonus!

The trail is in great shape. There is some tall grass that covers the trail in one spot. Light flow along most of the creek. Two wet crossings along the way, but plenty of rocks to hop across. Lots of wildflowers along the trail. The weather was perfect. A slight breeze kept us cool all day.

We finished up with Nachos at the Mountain View Pub in Cave Creek. Great day to be out. Great to get out my good friend after so many years.
Fauna
Fauna
Gila Monster
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 18 2019
LosDosSloFolks
avatar

 Photos 1,766
 Triplogs 141

65 male
 Joined Feb 10 2019
 Cave Creek, AZ
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ 
Trail 1533 Loop TNF, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2019
LosDosSloFolks
Hiking7.09 Miles 757 AEG
Hiking7.09 Miles
757 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 no routes
Partners none no partners
This is a surprisingly beautiful and scenic loop just north of the Spur Cross Conservation Area in the Tonto National Forest. We did it CCW. There is a picture of the route in the photoset but unfortunately no photos. One mile into the hike I realized my camera was still sitting at home plugged into the charger. Aarrgghh ](*,)

Heading north on Road 48 from the Spur Cross parking lot you proceed to the Skull Mesa Trailhead. Good water flow in Cave Creek with half a dozen boulder hopping crossings. From the SM trailhead the loop begins by heading east on Trail 4 passing the 247 turnoff. As you round the hill to the north Trail 4 forks to the northeast but take the trail to the left or north. This trail number is a bit of a mystery. On the newest waterproof "Green Trail" map sold at the Spur Cross VC it is labeled 1053.(nice map BTW) The fiberglass markers on the trail have it as 1533 so I am going with that in my title. If anyone in HAZland can shed some light on the proper trail number let me know.

About 3.2 miles in you reach the high point of the hike, in more ways than one. Besides the elevation crest there is a view from a small overlook area (you will know it when you get there) that enables you to look south and have a nearly unobstructed view of 3 miles of the creek. From this spot you also get the best view (other than Google Earth) of the huge mining operation that once existed on the west side of the creek. What made it even more special was the late morning sun was overhead and at the perfect angle to reflect off the water. It looked like a bright silver snake all the way back to the Jewel. Did I mention that I forgot my camera? I'm thinking this phenomenon lasts for several hours every day during these months. Now I have a legit reason to go back up there!

Trail 1533/1053? descends from this point and wraps around to the west and south returning you to the creek about 1/2 mile south of Chalk Canyon. Just head south to get on Road 48 and back to the lot. Bring your camera!!!
_____________________
Stop dreaming about a better yesterday.
4 archives
Jan 21 2019
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 33
 Photos 2,277
 Triplogs 1,131

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 21 2019
mazatzal
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,120 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles
1,120 ft AEG
 no routes
A little chilly when the breeze kicked up. Only saw a couple of people on our way back along trail 4
Good flow in Cave Creek.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
2 archives
Apr 01 2018
Yoder
avatar

 Routes 20
 Photos 1,293
 Triplogs 103

55 male
 Joined Oct 07 2017
 Chandler, AZ
Spur Cross LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2018
Yoder
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,608 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles   3 Hrs   47 Mns   2.31 mph
1,608 ft AEG      30 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Full moon on the 31st, so we decided to do a night hike. We decided combine the Spur Cross, Elephant and Limestone segments along with a little dirt road walking to make a 7.4 mile loop.

Generally I like to do hikes I have done before when doing night hikes, and I had already done Elephant, and Tortuga before, and these are very well marked trails. I figured that the Limestone Trail segment would be similar in nature. That proved wrong, the Limestone segment proved to be a bit less traveled, and sections were not nearly as defined. Also the terrain was a bit more work.

3 or 4 times we lost the trail, but thankfully we had our GPS, and we quickly re-found the trail. The Limestone segment is odd in that many parts are well defined, while some areas, it seems to fade. Of course hiking at night may make finding the trail a bit more challenging! what made things a little harder is that it just seemed darker than normal with a full moon. Seems the clouds weren't helping in this respect. The Limestone trail is a bit more hazards than the other trails, short steep sections with lots of "rollers" - Stones about 1/2 fist size that like rolling out from under your feet when you step on them. Took my first fall-on-you-butt fall I have had in years on this trail. :( But didn't suffer to much. Conclusion - Keep to the trails you have done before when night hiking. That being said, I think the Limestone trail may have some excellent views. I want to go back during the day to get some real photos, didn't get very good ones this time, I took the mono-pod instead of the tripod, so my exposures were limited to less than 2 seconds and even then they weren't great.

All-In-All I think this hike has great potential, and expect there is a lot less traffic on the Limestone section of this hike. For some reason this hike just seems like it covers alot more terrain than the other loops I have make in this area.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cave Creek - SPRCA Light flow Light flow
At the corral area and going south for a while
_____________________
J. Yoder
1 archive
Dec 29 2017
KBKB
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 22
 Photos 2,169
 Triplogs 233

59 male
 Joined Apr 22 2012
 Fountain Hills,
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 29 2017
KBKB
Hiking12.50 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles   6 Hrs   24 Mns   2.37 mph
1,700 ft AEG   1 Hour   8 Mns Break26.5 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
On Friday, Dec 29, I led a party of five, counting myself, from the Cave Creek Trailhead to the Spur Cross Trailhead.

After doing this one, I now realize why I don't do more hikes requiring a shuttle - there's a lot of driving involved. Our hiking time was around six and a half hours and my driving time was over four and a half hours. Just driving from Spur Cross to Cave Creek takes about an hour - and you (or someone in your party) has to do it twice.

But, driving aside, it's a great hike.

We chose to follow Cave Creek #4, then hiked Road 48 which eventually turned into the Spur Cross Trail.

There were a number of creek crossings - all of the early ones crossed water. Rock / boulder hopping got us across without getting or feet wet - at least not much.

I loaded the official route for this hike onto my GPS watch. We never really needed it though as the trail is easy to follow the entire way. The distance is accurate too - I ended up with 12.55 miles on my watch. The AEG is a bit puzzling though; I ended up with only 1037 feet on my Suunto Ambit 3.

_____________________
Nov 25 2017
kaiboxer
avatar

 Photos 3
 Triplogs 25

46 male
 Joined Sep 12 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 25 2017
kaiboxer
Backpack5.61 Miles 300 AEG
Backpack5.61 Miles   21 Hrs      1.40 mph
300 ft AEG   17 Hrs    Break34 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice short hike to get out of Phoenix. In the 80s in November -- ridiculous --- but got chilly last night. Second time taking my son out here, there are great spots to camp by the creek around 2.5 miles in. Won't be the last time we take this short trip. :) :y:

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lopez Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Not sure where Lopez tank is, but there is flowing water in Cave Creek here.

dry Quien Sabe Creek Dry Dry
Dry

dry Seven Springs Wash Dry Dry
Dry, was dry 2 months ago too.
_____________________
Nov 25 2017
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 33
 Photos 2,277
 Triplogs 1,131

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 25 2017
mazatzal
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,120 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles
1,120 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Quick trip round this loop - first time counter clockwise.
_____________________
1 archive
Nov 21 2017
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 33
 Photos 2,277
 Triplogs 1,131

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
6L Ranch Loop, AZ 
6L Ranch Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 21 2017
mazatzal
Hiking12.00 Miles 1,540 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles   6 Hrs   20 Mns   2.12 mph
1,540 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
From Spur Cross we followed Cave Creek out to 6L ranch and then east to join trail 4 and back to Spur Cross.

Saw one deer and when we were almost back at Spur Cross we met Widowmaker and Rowdy. Nice to see you again.

I've never seen the area this dry.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
Nov 01 2017
Oregon_Hiker
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 384
 Photos 6,791
 Triplogs 503

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Rock House, AZ 
Cave Creek #4 to Rock House, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2017
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,011 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles   7 Hrs   11 Mns   1.57 mph
1,011 ft AEG      53 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was my first hike of the fall season in the Cave Creek area. My Michigan snowbird neighbor and part time hiking buddy was back in town for a few weeks and itching for a hike. So we headed to Seven Springs for an out-and-back hike down the Cave Creek #4 trail to the Rock House. We started the hike at the pull out for the side road (FR24B) to the old Ashdale Ranger Station instead of starting at the official trail head thus reducing the round trip distance by 0.8 miles. Lower Cave Creek at Spur Cross is dry but there was water flowing in this upper part of the canyon from the Seven Springs area through most of the narrows on the south side of Cramm Mountain. At that point the water disappears underground and the creek was dry after that. The pools in the narrows all had water and several are deep enough for taking a refreshing dip if one is so inclined (we weren't). Fall foliage was pretty much nonexistent. The cottonwoods were all still green but I'm more of a fan for green than for fall colors. I've gotten kind of burned out on desert scenery but this hike was still a real pleaser with the trees lining the creek, the emerald green pools of water in the narrows and the forests of saguaro on the south facing walls of the canyon. Those emerald green pools at the base of Cramm Mountain were the inspiration for the name (Emerald Lode) of the first prospecting claim filed there in 1877. The mountain was named for Richard Cramm, one of the two prospectors who made that claim and who settled down at the base of the mountain to work it.

The trail is starting to get a little overgrown with cats claw Acacia bushes after passing the junction with the Skunk Tank trail. There is evidence of some pruning along the trail before that junction. When we stopped at the Rock House for lunch I noticed that Jackie's dark blue pants were now decorated with tiny tufts of lighter colored fabric thanks to her cats claw encounters. She seemed to take this misfortune in stride even when I suggested that perhaps the tiny tufts might start a new fashion trend. I never thought to take any photos of the Rock House because I've been there several times before. [ photo ] It dates to historical times and was built with rocks re-purposed from the ruins of an ancient Indian village. Scattered Indian pottery sherds and bits of broken glass from old whiskey bottles give clues to the past inhabitants of this site. One story I've heard on the Rock House origins is that it was a stage coach/freight wagon way station along an old wagon road that continued on a route through Bloody Basin. It is supposed to have connected to the old military road that passed through New River to Fort Whipple near Prescott. I've found evidence of the old road bed where it climbed up out of Cave Creek near the 6L Ranch, passes near the Rock House, then crosses the creek and angles up the north side of the canyon a short distance west of Cramm Mountain. Another possible explanation for that old road bed is that it was built in the late 1800s to provide access to the mining activity at Cramm Mountain and the Rock House was a miner's shack. I have been unable to verify either of these possibilities despite a visit to the Cave Creek Historical Museum and reading a couple of local history books on the area.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Very isolated
_____________________
4 archives
Feb 27 2017
norm5715
avatar

 Routes 21
 Photos 19
 Triplogs 31

male
 Joined Jan 27 2014
 
Spur Cross toward Skull Mesa, AZ 
Spur Cross toward Skull Mesa, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2017
norm5715
Hiking8.23 Miles 1,310 AEG
Hiking8.23 Miles   4 Hrs   3 Mns   2.16 mph
1,310 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
:)

The group of 10 hikers set off toward Skull Mesa. Our intent was to go about 8 miles(4 miles in and 4 miles out). We did not plan to go the entire 6 plus miles to the mesa.

The weather was cool and comfortable.

We had to cross Cottonwood creek 6 times in each direction. One crossing generally has a bridge to make it easier to get across the stream, however, due to expected rain, the bridge was removed. The water was quite high and crossing, at times was difficult. Go figure, water in Arizona.

About 30 minutes after our turn around point (4 miles) it began to rain. The slippery rocks and higher water made crossing the creek more difficult.

A few of us decided to wade through the creek by the last couple crossing. Footing on the main was safe and easy to navigate, even in the rain.

I'm always amazed at the beauty of the desert, even when the conditions aren't perfect and can't wait to do the hike again.
_____________________
Jan 17 2017
survivordude
avatar

 Routes 61
 Photos 946
 Triplogs 198

40 male
 Joined Aug 19 2009
 The Basin
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 17 2017
survivordude
Hiking10.60 Miles 1,904 AEG
Hiking10.60 Miles   6 Hrs   29 Mns   1.97 mph
1,904 ft AEG   1 Hour   6 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Had an extra day off and didn't want to go too far so thought I would check out Cave Creek area. Went with the buddy Zeke who is not much of a hiker but wanted to get out after a tough week. Didn't see anyone else on the trail the entire time. We started at Seven Springs Campground and followed the Cave Creek trail. This was an excellent hike on mostly flat ground right near the creek the whole time. After about 2 miles, the trail crept out of the undergrowth to a ledge above. There was a lot of water in the creek which created several small but cool looking waterfalls. Just after 4 miles in, We turned left on the Skunk Tank Trail. This promptly started switchbacking its way up the hill. It was a pretty easy climb for me but Zeke was slowing down a bit so I let him lead and he actually made a pretty good pace. Stopped near Skunk Tank for some lunch and then continued on up the hill. The rest of the loop around was up on the hill, nothing too exciting, but there were far reaching views. Most of the hiking was through remnants of a burnt out forest. Once full and green, now mostly just the shrubs are thriving. There were tons of tracks out there. Everything from deer to javalina, coyote, and racoon or ringtail critter tracks. Also I saw 2 more real Arizona Cardinals when 2 months ago, I didn't think they truly existed in AZ!
Fauna
Fauna
Cardinal
_____________________
Oct 15 2016
Nightstalker
avatar

 Routes 89
 Photos 5,790
 Triplogs 914

52 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 15 2016
Nightstalker
Hiking11.30 Miles 2,049 AEG
Hiking11.30 Miles   6 Hrs   9 Mns   2.22 mph
2,049 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I've been wanting to do some hikes up in this area for ages! Today was the day! Texted my hiking buddy Maria and the plan was set. Stopped at the Circle K in Cave Creek and picked up a Tonto Pass and pulled into the trailhead parking lot just past 7am to a blustery 46 degrees! Trail was well marked and easy to follow. There was water in places along Cave Creek and a canopy of trees. We did the loop counter clock-wise following trail 4 all the way to the Skunk Tank junction. At the junction we met up with fellow hikers Melissa and Bob, the owners of the lone car in the parking area when we arrived. We hiked with them for a ways up Skunk Tank trail, but they were burning calories at a faster pace and we bid our new trail friends adieux. Skunk Tank trail is the hard part, lots of up, a couple of downs and more ups! Breathtaking scenery as you climb out of the surrounding canyons. I will definitely to do more hikes in this area!
_____________________
1 archive
Jan 14 2016
AZBeaver
avatar

 Photos 326
 Triplogs 124

66 female
 Joined Jan 04 2014
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 14 2016
AZBeaver
Backpack12.10 Miles 1,408 AEG
Backpack12.10 Miles2 Days         
1,408 ft AEG32 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
AZWanderingBear
This is the second time in my life I've backpacked. It was a wonderful overnight trip. Got a new Gregory Deva 60 backpack for Christmas. It is no longer a virgin (nor am I, of course). Check out the write up on AZ Wandering Bear for more details on our trip. He is a much better writer than I. He teaches me SO MUCH!!!! The creek water was flowing so nicely. Our camp spot was perfect on a sandy beach with plenty of firewood and level ground to pitch our 2-person tent. I was worried about how cold it would get and it did get mighty cold--36 degrees--but the fire kept us warm. Went to bed early (8 p.m.) snuggling in our sleeping bags and then the snoring started from my partner -- do bears snore in the woods? AZ Wandering Bear certainly does. At least I did not freeze to death and not sure anyone has ever died from snoring.
_____________________
1 archive
Jan 14 2016
AZWanderingBear
avatar

 Guides 27
 Routes 61
 Photos 2,620
 Triplogs 700

64 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek Trail #4Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 14 2016
AZWanderingBear
Backpack12.10 Miles 1,408 AEG
Backpack12.10 Miles2 Days         
1,408 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routes
Partners partners
AZBeaver
There was ice on the ditch water driving out to Seven Springs. This trip was going to be cold, wet too from the looks of everything. Two Gregory packs rode in the back of the Jeep. My old Baltoro was showing its wear well. The spanking new blue Deva was spotless. The trailhead had a surprising number of cars for a weekday, a couple with Canadian tags even.

MJ shouldered her Christmas present Deva and set off up the trail all smiles and anticipation for her second ever backpacking trip. We hit mud, a lot of mud, in the first mile. But the creek was flowing nice and it's a pretty trail. The crossings were all manageable despite a pretty good flow down the creek channel. Met some hiking group of 15 or so returning to the trailhead, thus all the cars.

Hadn't ever been to the campsite that we hoped to use. It's a bit off the trail but by the creek. I had vague directions from another hiker. But we found it quick enough. Nice sand beach, a big tree with exposed roots for sitting on and holding gear, plenty of clear flowing water, nice view, and lots of firewood although it was wet like everything else.

We dropped the packs and had a quick snack. The main purpose of the trip was to get MJ comfortable with some skills for some upcoming backpacking trips without me. So she did the things she wasn't comfortable with and I did the other stuff. Kept a distant but watchful eye on her and got in a ton of wood just in case the night got a little too cold.

With all the wet wood I thought it would be a good challenge to make a one-stick fire. The concept of a one-stick fire is to get everything you need in the way of tinder, kindling, and fuel from a single small piece of wood. Cut a two foot length of standing dead mesquite roughly an 1.5 inches in diameter. The wood was wet outside still but a little better when I split it. Processed it down into the components I needed. The shavings caught a spark from my fire steel on the third strike. The feather sticks caught, but the whole thing was pretty anemic for a while. Kept pushing oxygen into the little flame. The building heat helped against the moisture. Pretty soon the flame was knee high and we were gonna be warm.

MJ worked the stove for a three course rehydrated meal replete with an after dinner cocktail. Hung by the fire for a while, but one side was toasty while the other chilled. The sleeping bags sung their siren song about 8. We alternated waking each other up with our snoring for the next 11 hours. But at least we didn't freeze.

MJ had nursed the fire back to life and even had the water heating for a hot chocolate/coffee combo morning brew by the time I mustered the courage to leave my warm down-filled cocoon and face the morning cold. After breakfast we hiked southbound visiting a few of the trail highlights MJ had never seen. Doubled back and broke down camp and started the slog back to the Jeep. With only one short refreshment break we were back in 2+30. Trail was still pretty muddy in places. There's a lot of water out there right now.

We accomplished what we set out to do. She got some confidence. We mastered the cold. And the first of hopefully many nights out under the stars in 2016 is in the books.
Flora
Flora
Sacred Datura
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Willows in a pretty gold along the creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Big Maggie May Light flow Light flow
Nice flow into the creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bronco Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow into Cave Creek

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Quien Sabe Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Plenty of filterable pools from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Seven Springs Wash Heavy flow Heavy flow
Good flow from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Skunk Tank Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of standing pools from recent rains

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Walnut Spring Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Lots of water flowing
_____________________
All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
1 archive
Nov 22 2015
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 33
 Photos 2,277
 Triplogs 1,131

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cave Creek / Skunk Tank LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 22 2015
mazatzal
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,120 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles
1,120 ft AEG
 no routes
A couple of other HAZers hit this loop recently so I thought we’d make it 3 HAZers in 3 days :lol:

Only saw two other hikers, they were from Montana. We met them by the triple crested Saguaro which we pointed out and they were suitably impressed :) Expected to see more folks on trail #4.

Nice flow in Cave Creek and perfect weather today.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro - Crested
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
2 archives
Feb 22 2015
Thoreau
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 466
 Triplogs 679

male
 Joined Mar 10 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Cave Creek #4 to Spur Cross THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 22 2015
Thoreau
Hiking12.50 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles
1,700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Been a while since the old backpacking gear got used, but it finally got dusted off this weekend.

Quick tip: don't try washing your down bag for the first time the night before you head out. Ended up screwing the pooch a bit by not drying it well enough and long story short, had to make a trip to REI for a new bag. That said, the REI Flash sleeping bag is friggin great =)
_____________________
Jan 31 2015
The_Eagle
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,897
 Triplogs 1,392

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
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
average hiking speed 2.04 mph
1, 2, 3, 4  Next

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.

help comment issue

end of page marker