Spur Cross and Maricopa Trail #252 Loop

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Spur Cross and Maricopa Trail #252 Loop

Hiking Trail

Spur Cross and Maricopa Trail #252 Loop

by: Honza
Location:  Cave Creek, AZ          Longitude:  -111.9511    Latitude:  33.8874
A nice loop through the Maricopa County Park (plus Tonto National Forest) with great views of the Cave Creek wilderness and Sonoran Desert.
Features and Interests:   Gigantic Saguaro cacti; springs and creek crossings
Flora/Fauna on this Trail:
  Saguaro  Saguaro
From the parking lot, take the dirt road past the white gate to the official trailhead. You can do this loop in either direction, but we chose to go clockwise leaving the creek crossings for the way back.

Make a left at the trailhead area marked for Spur Cross trail. In a quarter mile you will reach the first creek crossing and start heading up hill to the Tortuga Trail. Take Tortuga to the Elephant Mountain trail. When you come to the Elephant Mountain trail turn off, keep on the Spur Cross trail heading to the right. As you continue to ascend the plateau/hill, take some time to stop and enjoy the views around you. You will see many different soil compositions/minerals yielding some very colorful scenery and mountains.

At the top of the trail you will reach the TR252 junction where you want to keep right. As the trail continues to wind up and down the small canyons and washes, keep an eye out for a number of springs and riparian areas. The trail will start descending on the other side of the range into a magnificent valley. Eventually you will reach a Corral right next to Cave Creek. This is an excellent place to rest up and enjoy the sounds of the creek...once ready, continue by walking through the Corral and crossing the creek over the wooden "bridge". You will follow the creek for over a mile here and cross the creek a few more times. Notice the Saguaros; they are some of the largest specimens we have seen!

Once you reach the gate for the Maricopa County Park boundary, we decided to take the Metate Trail to the right. This trail takes you back down to the creek riparian area and offers a number of man made ponds (Solar Oasis) and more very large Saguaros. Eventually you will intersect the Spur Cross trail, make a left and take it back to the parking lot.
Trail Distance:  6.4 miles round-trip
Elevation:  2300ft - 2944ft   (change 644ft)
Trail Difficutly:  Moderate - requires some endurance, elevation changes
How Crowded:  Occassional passing
Season:  September to April
Accomodations: (on site)   Toilets  WaterTaking the I-17 north towards Flagstaff, take Carefree Highway east for about 10 miles to Cave Creek Rd. Make a left onto Cave Creek Road north for 2.6 miles. Turn left onto Spur Cross Road and follow Spur Cross Road for 4.1 miles until you reach a gate. Parking for the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and trailhead is on the right side of the road before the gate.Entrance fee is $3 per person.Good dirt road, off-road vehicle not needed.
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Trail Ratings and Comments