Silver Peak Trail is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Douglas, AZ that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Tucson: Take I-10 east for 139 m, to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles. Turn right (west) on the road to Portal. Continue for 7 miles. From Portal drive west on Forest Road #42 for 1 mile to Cave Creek Visitor Information Center and trailhead.
The temperatures in the canyon were above average during our trip in February. Even so, we had to turn back one mile from the summit, due to snow with an icy crust. (We did not have crampons with us.) We really enjoyed this trail. The grade is continuously moderately steep. At one point, there are quite a few switchbacks. The scenery is outstanding, and the views begin as soon as you start the hike. You travel through several different vegetation zones.
A group of 6 of us did this between Christmas and the New Year 2014-15 and encountered about 3 inches of snow in the deepest shade. It wasn't all that difficult given the beautifully designed switchbacks, there are several sets, maybe 4. Views are great. It took us 2hrs-50min to reach the top, right at 1.5mph. 3 separate GPS units clocked this at 4.7 miles, one way.
The lower campgrounds were washed out by Fall rains so we were camped at the Herb Martyr CG, a great place, flat tent spots and running water nearby.