Explore the most popular walking 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.

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
13 days ago

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

hiking
13 days 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.

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

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.

hiking
1 month 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.

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

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

trail running
2 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
2 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 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

3 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.

3 months ago

Beautiful hike and great workout! IMPORTANT NOTE: if you park across the street from the official trail parking on the dirt shoulder, make sure your car is not in the road at all whatsoever. This past weekend, cars that were just a few inches into the road were all towed since a local called the police. Parked there several times before with no issue, there are no signs warning hikers of this risk. Still rating this hike 5 stars because it’s awesome and don’t want to let one person’s need to take their anger out on others lessen an amazing trail. It’s about them. I’ll be back and will continue to enjoy! Happy hiking all.

hiking
3 months ago

Great in and out trail. Difficult and you have to scramble some rocks. Great views at the top. Hikers around you are nice as well.

This is a beautiful hike. I wish the desert had enough rain this year as I can see it must be stunning when the desert is in full bloom. I think the rating on this one is wrong though and I would rate it as moderate not difficult.

Nice trail, good views.

hiking
3 months ago

Great challenge...opens the lungs to big adventure...

hiking
3 months ago

Great easy hike with my gf. Little foot traffic. Very cool and warm today

I am a seasoned hiker and would rate this more hard than moderate. My car made it just fine, no need for 4wd. We went clockwise and I would recommend that. Bring snacks and plenty of water. My mile 8 we were all feeling pretty fatigued. Granted I did this with a pack to train for a longer hike. The views were incredible. Some loose rock along drop offs so wear shoes with sturdy tread. Rarely cell service and we only saw 2 other people on the entire trail. The cairns were helpful. Def worth the drive out of Phoenix!

hiking
3 months ago

Great quick workout. Up and down at a slow pace in under 2 hours.

on Dragonfly Trail

hiking
4 months ago

Loved everything about it. Short but sweet. Great for kids, I took all five of my kids and even my two year old did great!

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