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Elephant Mountain Trail Professional Review and Guide
"Cave Creek Trail provides a pleasantly shaded and mild hike along the banks of perennial Cave Creek. Enjoy the classic riparian flora and the trickling water. Then take the hilly Skunk Creek Trail for a workout and to loop back to the trailhead."
--Charles Liu, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Phoenix (Menasha Ridge Press).
I had an amazing time on this trail today. The weather was perfect and all of the plants were in bloom. There were more changes to flora and scenery in one hike than I've ever seen on an Arizona trail. We took a rather strange path in order to see as much as possible which resulted in a 4 hour hike. The Elephant Mountain portion of the trails does seem to be the most challenging portion of the park.
A beautiful area of North Phoenix. Lots of different trails to hike and enjoy.
Nice trail. 7.25 miles with some fairly calm hills. Views were great, especially from the saddle.
We did this hike last Sunday following 2 straight days of rain. Cave Creek was up, and had to be waded, which forced the jean and tennis shoe crowd back to the parking lot. The water was cold, but did manage to ensure that we would not see another soul, or a single footprint in the 2-6 inches of mud that covered most of the trail during our hike. We hiked the Elephant Mountain trail to the saddle, then down to the Spur Cross Trail, which we took back to the trailhead for a 7 mile loop. (The book suggests an out-and-back on the Elephant). The trail was a great alternative to those in the Cave Creek area further south, and although faint in some places, easy enough to navigate. The heavy rains had knocked a lot of cholla balls onto the south-facing parts of the trail, which the dogs managed to step on several times, but they were easily enough detached with a pocket knife. This was a great hike so close to Phoenix, highly recommended.
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