Explore the most popular views trails near Cave Creek with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
6 days ago

This trail had a lot of variance - desert, open vistas, creek crossing, and woodland. Because of that it's one of my fav's. It's special to walk along that creek - just lovely.

hiking
6 days ago

An absolutely lovely little hike among the cottonwoods, along Cave Creek. Lots of wildflowers, grass, trees, and, bonus - SHADE! ...a rarity on Phoenix trails. This little hike was very dreamy because of the vegetation and the trickle of the water. But be warned, snakes need to drink too - I saw a diamondback twisting and bending around the roots of a cottonwood, slowwwwwly lowering its head down into the water. Very elegant to watch, but for those of you who don't like snakes, beware.

The perfect scenic trail. Never crowded so you get the place to yourself.

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice hike with great views in my opinion. The jagged rocky terrain make for a challenging hike. I would say it is similar to Piestewa. There were swarms of flying bugs near the top area with the flag so we weren't able to see the flag much. Very disappointing.

Its unique in such a beautfiul way. Kind of confusing in the beginning. Took a leff when i got to the area with bathrooms. Went and took the tortuga route But it was a while before I saw the Tortuga trail sign. Take it early, it gets very hot.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great trail for kids with the pond and plenty of wildlife. It is one of my all-time favorites!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail saguaros were great!!

Pretty descent hike. Overall I wouldn’t rate this trail as difficult, the last part of the hike going from the base of the mountain up to the top plateau is somewhat strenuous but I would consider 75% of the trail to only be moderate not difficult. Scenery wise, it’s ok, typical desert scenery. I did like the fact that past the first mile I saw no one. To avoid wandering around trying to figure out what direction you need to go to find the trail use the satellite map on the all trails app. It didn’t occur to me to do this until after I had went the wrong direction for about a mile. After parking continue to walk down the road to the area where the portable restrooms are. They will be on your right. Continue to walk straight down the road toward spur cross trail - do not go left- you will pass 2 other trailheads on your right, just continue going straight. You will stay on this road/trail for awhile until you eventually see an old cow pen on your left. Their will be a river bed on your right. The trail to the right is the one you want to follow. If you end up going through a gated area with the cow pen on your left you went the wrong way. You will eventually see a large older sign that has several trails listed on it. At the sign go to the right. You will continue on this trail which was listed as cottonwood trail, you will not actually see a sign that says skull Mesa trail for a number of miles. You will eventually see it on your left. Pay attention to make sure you stay on skull Mesa trail. It is not well taken care of and only rockpiles keep you on track. From almost the start of the skull Mesa trail you will be going uphill. Eventually you will find yourself at the base of the mountain. The trail switchbacks up this mountain up to the top. Be mindful of weather reports. I disregarded them and ended up wading back across the flooded river beds that had been bone dry only hours earlier. After finally getting back to my truck the main road was flooded out and had a line of cars. I did find out from a very nice girl that morning star road was a bypass road and not flooded to the point that it was impassable. If you find yourself in the same situation try Morningstar road. It’s much better to pay attention to the weather and not get into the situation to begin with. I hope this long winded run on review helps.

Excellent

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail. Much 10% grade. I only did from parking to elephant mountain trailhead. I started around 7:30 and should have started earlier to make the whole route. Next time

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely a steep and rugged trek to the summit. Awesome 360 views! Can see quite a bit- Piestewa, Camelback, Tom’s Thumb, Pinnacle, even Flat-Iron and Weavers Needle. Pretty easy to get off track as there aren’t really any markings so I would check your map periodically. Gave this hike 3 stars because of the abundance of bugs and horseflies at the peak around the American Flag. Couldn’t really stay up there for too long to enjoy it(I’m assuming it’s just the time of year). Also, it doesn’t feel super rewarding considering you can’t really “run” enjoyably.

Great loop for kids.

great trail! a lot of variety, well marked, clear paths. Lots to see! The Quartz rocks are beautiful. A little bit of shade along the way. I started at Go John then took the Quartz trail to Slate trail and back to the parking areas, which took a little over an hour. a little bit of incline the first half, then the second half is mostly decline or flat. went on a Saturday and think I saw a total of 4 or 5 people on that trail. pushed back far enough from main roads that it really does feel desolate and peaceful. there is a $6 day pass fee, but definitely worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Great climb giving you a decent cardio workout. Need to pay close attention to foot on placement.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trail and very close to cave creek. Didn’t complete the full thing but camped up on top of the mesa. Excellent views with a fun hike! The scenery is unforgettable and makes me proud to call Arizona home.

3 months ago

A maze (ing)

Pretty quick hike, also pretty steep. Great view from the top!

Great views, no people, wildlife, and well maintained.

trail running
3 months ago

Beautiful hike/trail run. 6.8 by my watch. Agree moderate, not difficult. Counter-clockwise has more steep inclines at the beginning of the loop, then the other side is gradual and rolling ups and downs. Few people go beyond Tortuga so nice and quiet. Great views! Optional trails at the top to a lookout and then also to Elephant Mountain. Have seen rattlers, so watch your step. No water, and can be pretty sunny. One of my go-to's. Second parking area is closer to the trailhead. Small fee for parking, or get the Maricopa county yearly pass. Don't know if they check, but the $$ is for a good cause.

hiking
3 months ago

I’ve been hiking this trail a few times a week with a friend and this is my favorite trail so far and I have hiked the trails all over the valley. So beautiful and options for more difficult trails to easier. We see the same family of deer every time we go too. Amazing!

Great workout, wore a 20lb vest to get that extra burn. Steep most of the way up and great view at the top.

Great workout. Sadly when u get to the
top; no place to sit and rest your aching legs! Glad we ate before. Still, fun and great views. We are Crossfitters and still were hurting a bit on way up. Down was cake- except it WILL crush your knees and quads. Go to El Encatnto after to rest, have a margarita, and a yummy Mexican dish!

hiking
3 months ago

The water wasn’t running but there were some scenic moments. Overall, not bad.

hiking
3 months ago

As an experienced hiker, next to the Grand Canyon this trail is by far the hardest I’ve hiked in Arizona. Do not attempt it in the hotter months as there is little shade. You will need a minimum of 4 liters of water to complete this round trip. Extremely rocky and uneven terrain so good boots are a must. All in all a awesome hike that will challenge you to keep going. The views from the top of the Mesa are endless and must be seen. As you ascend to the top on the 248 trail imagine the Native Americans doing this daily carrying supplies and water to the community that lived on top. Your day pack will feel much lighter! Enjoy

Nice clean trail! Great sights.

on Spur Cross Trail

4 months ago

Beautiful views

Great workout and great views! I have done it twice in last 2 weeks. Do recommend good hiking shoes. A fellow hiker had on tennis shoes and she did slip quite a bit.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail is well maintained. Moderate due to distance but no strenuous sections. Exposed so bring water if doing summer or midday.

Nice views and well maintained trails. Wish it would have had mike markers. Otherwise great hike!

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