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Spur Cross Trail
Cave Creek
December 12, 2021
by Stan Bindell
Trailblazers at the trail sign. [photo by Nunya]
Nunya, Stacey, Michael, Carol, Terry, Joyce, Terry, Arman, Deb, Mike, Anna

Thirteen Arizona Trailblazers hiked eight miles December 12, with the hike starting at the Spur Cross Conservation Area and hooking into the Maricopa Trail in Tonto National Forest. This is the first hike that I led for the Arizona Trailblazers, although I was happy to have Michael Humphrey along to assist.

We took the Metate Trail to the Spur Cross Trail, which goes directly into Tonto National Forest.

The reason for taking Metate Trail is just three quarters of a mile in you come to Solar Oasis, which I refer to as the frog pond. This is a cool serene area where people can see frogs, lily pads and just listen to the quiet water. As the story goes, there is wildlife camera watching the pond and a couple years ago it caught some people stealing the frogs. They were using the secretions of the frog for hallucinogens.

The Frog Pond. [photo by Angel]
Frogs are amphibians. [photo by Angel]
These aren’t dinosaur eggs. [photo by Angel]

Angel hiked this area many times before and she was able to tell her fellow hikers about it. For one, she said the saguaros here are among the most photographed in the state. She also explained that the Metate Trail was named after the oblong stones just off the trail that Native Americans used for grinding.

Saguaros are the most photographed. [Carol]
Spur Cross was once a ranch. [photo by Carol]

At about 2.5 miles, we came to the base of a hill. This is where we stopped for the group photo in front of the wooden map of the trails in this area.

This is also where the ascent of the hill begins as we went up 600 feet from 2,300' to 2,900'. It was enough for a good huff and puff.

Water, in the desert! [photo by Carol]

We turned around at the four mile mark, which is a good place to turn around because if you don’t know where your going it’s easy to lose the trail here. This is surprising because the rest of the trail is easy to discern.

Spur Cross was once a ranch. [photo by Carol]
Don’t just stand there, do something. [photo by Carol]

For those who want to hike more, it is 12 miles from Spur Cross to Seven Springs. This would have to be done as a shuttle.

Spur Cross Conservation Area is a gem in the Maricopa County Park system. Before the drought, the streams would be perennial, but now they are often dry. Spur Cross Conservation Area is 2,154 acres of Sonora desert terrain. Spur Cross also has archaeological sites and remnants of ranches and mines. The area has eight official trails with Spur Cross Trail, Dragonfly Trail and Elephant Mountain as the most popular.

The cost is $3 to get in as you walk in after parking. Bathrooms are slightly farther.

→   More pictures, by Nunya
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated December 18, 2021