“The best ride in the Sonoran Desert with incomparable views of the wild west's scenic beauty.
— Adrienne Goldberg
Race - Nov 11, 2017
A great loop that begins and ends in the Town of Cave Creek. This course runs a loop through Spur Cross Conservation part of the Maricopa Trail, Cave Creek Regional Park and finally back to Cave Creek on Town of Cave Creek Trails.
There is plenty of parking and easy access to the trail from Flat Tire Bike/Local Jonny's and Spur Cross Cycles. They will have maps and local conditions. Stop in and say hi they are friendly Local bike shops.
The Annual Cave Creek Cactus Classic is hosted on this loop, produced by Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association.
You'll be required to pay an entrance fee of $3.00 or show a Maricopa Regional Park pass at the entrance to Spur Cross Preservation Area.
for more info.
Need to Know
Bring more water than you think you'll ever drink in a day and then double it. Seriously! If you're not accustomed to the desert, you can get heat sickness quickly and then we'd have to do the rescue and "I told you so" bit. Be self-sufficient, bring a spare tube, multi-wrench and whatever other supplies you may need, there are no easy outs and it is a long walk. Know where you are. If you call for help but are unaware of your location it will be a while before you'll be found. I would not say this if it never happens, but it does.
All of the trails and paths are multi-use. Horses, hikers, and dog walkers always have the right of way. Please be courteous, Alert them with your voice, a simple "Hi" seems to work well. Communicate with the rider and ask the best way for you to pass. They may ask you to dismount, or simply ride by, but ALWAYS ASK FIRST!
The ride begins on Spur Cross Road but there is a nice town-maintained trail that parallels the paved road until you get to Spur Cross Preservation area gate. You'll be required to pay an entrance fee of $3.00 or show your annual Maricopa Regional Park Pass.
Enter the Preserve and turn left at the first Y (at the entry kiosk) onto Spur Cross Trail
.You then cross the normally-dry Cave Creek and pass the ruins of the old Spur Cross Dude Ranch. From there, it is a series of climbs and downhills into the washes until you get to the "pass" at Elephant Mountain Trail; keep on the main trail heading west and downhill.
As you exit Spur Cross Over the first rollover cattle guard, you join up with a portion of the 300+ mile long Maricopa Regional Trail. This section includes some challenging terrain and a chance encounter with a few cows. Keep on heading south until you are past the second rollover.
Take a quick RIGHT-LEFT chicane then look for the "temporary trail to Cave Creek Park" sign and head south on an old moto trail. In about 0.25 miles, the moto trail will dump you onto an old jeep road. Follow that road and bear RIGHT at the Y. You'll come to a steep downhill switchback. Stay on the jeep road as it heads downhill and south
The jeep road will make a quick RIGHT turn up a short steep hill, once on top look for a Y in the road, bear RIGHT and follow the road up a very steep rugged climb. Be ready for this one, it will take all you have before you are at the top.
Once on the top, of course, you'll go back down and around the hill. It is a very steep and rugged trail. Know your limits; it's better to get off and walk some parts than a trip over the bars. You'll pass through a nice canyon before ending up in a dry creek bed. This section of the trail has lots of rocks so pick good lines. After getting through the creek you'll be on singletrack again, it has a couple of short climbs but be sure to save a little for the last short, steep, rocky climb out of the creek.
The trail then takes you into Cave Creek Regional Park via the north gate. Turn RIGHT to follow the Go John to the Overton Trail
. Turn RIGHT on Overton Trail
around the mountain and back down into the park.
After passing the picnic and playground areas, you'll cross the main park road. Cross this road with caution, there are no stops signs and limited visibility. Head east to the Slate Trail
. After approximately 0.25 miles on the Slate Trail
, take a LEFT onto the Jasper Trail
which will again meet up with the Go John Trail
. Head RIGHT, up the Go John for some more steep climbing. As you ride down the back side of Go John, make sure you watch for the Quartz Trail
to the RIGHT. Turn onto Quartz and follow back down to Slate Trail
Make a LEFT turn onto Slate, heading east. Follow the Slate Trail
out of the park and onto the Desert Foothills Land Trust Preserve. You'll cross Cave Creek again and follow the trail to a large gate. After going through the gate turn RIGHT follow the Town of Cave Creek signs through a series of short town-owned trails. You'll be passing close to homes in this subdivision. Please be courteous and watch out for horses, hikers and dog walkers as they have the right of way.
There is one last short, brutal climb that passes between a home and condos. After that follow the trail along the fence. When you get to Surrey Road turn RIGHT and head downhill to Cave Creek Road. Be extremely careful crossing the 4 lanes of traffic. Turn LEFT and head north to ride in the nice wide bike lane back into town. Don't forget lunch at one of Cave Creek's many great hangout spots! It'll be a ride and a meal you won't soon forget.
History & Background
The Spur Cross Conservation Area is located adjacent to the Tonto National Forest and contains Hohocom ruins, petroglyphs, and "pit houses" dating back to 800-1100 AD. It was also the site of one of the earliest "dude ranches" in Arizona and one of the richest gold mines around the turn of the twentieth century.
The Conservation Area was once in private ownership and when a huge development was planned for the site, the citizens of Cave Creek joined forces with County and State Park agencies to acquire the property. Fiercely anti-property tax, nevertheless, citizens voted yeas to taxing themselves by a margin of 84%. The last payment on the bonds was made in 2012.