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Cave Creek Trail and Skunk Creek Trail

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Tonto National Forest

Cave Creek Trail and Skunk Creek Trail is a 9.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cave Creek, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. 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.

Distance: 9.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,722 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
washed out
3 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

First, the trail is 11 miles and 2000 vertical, so plan accordingly. Second, since I last did this trail about 5 years ago, most of the Skunk Creek portion of the trail has been widened with a bulldozer to allow firefighters to fight last summer's fire, which deters from the esthetic value. Third the transition across the creek bed to the Skunk Creek trail is a challenge to find. Look carefully for the cairns and it unexpectedly required working back east a bit. With that said, it's still a great trail with a good aerobic start up the hillside and some fantastic saguaro along Cave Creek, and if you are looking to avoid crowds during these Covid 19 times, it's a good choice. Plus there were horses that greeted us at the trailhead. you might want to consider bringing apples or carrots for them. Regina's comments about the thorns are accurate, all on the Skunk Creek portion, long pants not a bad idea but not mandatory.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

This was an epic hike, starting with meeting some very gentle and friendly horses freely roaming the trail in the first mile. Gorgeous views of the creek and beautiful scenery. There was a superb crested saguaro right on the trail! The climbs were no joke, but the payoff is spectacular views that seem to go on forever. Keep an eye on the AllTrails map, we definitely missed turns in a few spots and had to do some backtracking. We got caught in a rainstorm that rolled in at the end of the hike and couldn’t find the trail so took the road to get back quicker. Pants are a great idea- lots of thorny branches and cactus lining the path.

hiking
over grown
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! Didnt' see another soul the entire trip. Something to appreciate considering how relatively close to town this one is! Check out my full review and video here: http://frugalexplorerfamily.com/2020/02/cave-creek-trail-skunk-creek-trail-loop

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike for views and experiencing various terrain. Really enjoyed hiking along the creek at the beginning and crossing back and forth. Some of the trail wasn't well marked near the creek, but various cairns were helpful. Loved the extraordinarily tall saguaros in the mountains as well as listening to lots of birds.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

We did not take the entire loop so keep that in mind when considering this review. We were not impressed with this hike. The area is just not very enjoyable from a scenery standpoint. The vegetation variety is lacking and there is an exceeding amount of dead trees and brush. We hiked to the stream in a clockwise direction. When we reached the stream we headed a little to the left and there is a small waterfall which was the highlight of the hike. We did get a nice little workout.

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
washed out
5 months ago

hiking
blowdown
bugs
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

hiking
rocky
washed out
Mon May 27 2019

nice hike but no great view. a little bit of shadow at the beginning. I would recommend to wear long pans Grass is high 2 and scratching. don't try to follow quien sabe 247 trail isn't make anymore I had to turn back after 2miles couldn't see the trail anymore. Otherwise it pretty nice early morning when not too much sun. great wild flowers

hiking
Tue May 14 2019

Nice trail - super diverse landscape. We did it counterclockwise and I feel it’s the best way to get the most of the views. I swam, the water was so nice. I recorded 11.1 miles. Only minus is the crazy amount of sticks and needles that glued to my boots! Gaiters would have been useful. Would hike that one again in a heartbeat!

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
Sat May 11 2019

Beautiful Hike 5-10-19 .... Lots of different terrain which kept this hike interesting and fun along with the beautiful sounds of the creek and singing birds. Extensive dirt and narrow roads to get to trail head but worth the drive. Lots of wildlife of bunnies, mule deer, turkey vultures, a few cows, tons of lizards and a couple snakes! Encountered my first Rattlesnake today from a safe distance on the trail...be alert! No fees, washroom and plenty of parking. Enjoy!!

hiking
washed out
Fri Feb 08 2019

Lovely trail for quiet and solitude. I went counter clockwise. Took me four hours. Lots of running water and some wild flowers. I encountered just one group of three people, and they had turned back at the crossing just before the Skunk Tank junction. I realized why once I got there, as the creek crossing has been washed out by flood. Pay special attention to the few cairns there and on the other side of the creek to know where to go. The distances posted on some of the signs seem inaccurate: 5.5 miles from the Skunk Tank turn off, rather than the actual 4; the final section, from the end of Skunk trail back to the Cave Creek TH, posted 3/4 of a mile, when it’s probably more like 1 1/4. Overall, though, the loop is the approx. 10 miles that it’s listed to be. Apart from the extra attention needed to keep the trail, the terrain and elevation gains/losses are of moderate difficulty. I’d hike there again, with company next time!

hiking
rocky
Sat Feb 02 2019

We went clockwise and it was beautiful. Every time I thought it could be get prettier - it did. 10.7 miles tracked w gps.

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