Cave Creek Trail #4
Trailhead: Cave Creek & Spur Cross
Length: 20.8 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Managing Agency: Tonto National Forest
**Kid Friendly Hike**
Directions to Trailhead:
Spur Cross Trailhead: From Phoenix, take Cave Creek Road north to the town of Cave Creek. Turn left onto Spur Cross Road. Take Spur Cross Road (which becomes FR 48) to the Spur Cross Conservation Area. The last 1.5 miles of this road is dirt, but passable in a sedan. A Tonto Pass is NOT required to park at the trailhead.
Bronco & Cave Creek Trailheads: From Phoenix, take Cave Creek Road north through Cave Creek and Carefree. Soon after passing through Carefree, the road will enter the Tonto National Forest and become FR 24. The road is dirt, but passable in a sedan during dry weather. (During wet weather, a high clearance vehicle is recommended, but passage should be avoided when the washes are flowing.) The Bronco Trailhead is located on the right, about six miles from the National Forest boundary. For the Cave Creek Trailhead, continue another 5 miles to the Seven Springs Recreation Area. A Tonto Pass is NOT required to park at the trailhead. The Cave Creek Trailhead is located about a half-mile north of the Seven Springs Campground, on the left.
From the Cave Creek Trailhead, the Cave Creek Trail #4 begins as a lovely hike through the riparian area surrounding Cave Creek. After 0.3 miles, the trail intersects with Ashdale Road and crosses it, where it continues on the other side. (As an alternative, you can park on Ashdale Road and begin your hike here to avoid the first 0.3 miles of the trail.)
After crossing Ashdale, the trail continues downhill to Cave Creek and begins to parallel it. At 0.7 miles, the trail passes over (yes, over) a fence. On the other side of the fence, the trail continues through a lush, riparian area filled with mesquite trees. This area is very lovely and wild - it gives you a sense that you are miles away from civilization...even though there are houses just on the other side of the creek.
At 2.0, the trail crosses Cave Creek and continues on the other side. This crossing can be treacherous during wet weather. When we did this hike in January 2005, it had been a very wet season, so Cave Creek was flowing heavily.
You can make this hike as long or as short as you want. We turned around after the first creek crossing when we did this hike in January 2005; however, this trail can be taken all the way to the Spur Cross Trailhead.
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