Hiking Cave Creek Regional Park

I completely forgot to blog about this…a couple weekends ago (actually, SuperBowl Sunday…none of us are really sports fans), Dad and I went hiking up in Cave Creek Regional Park.  The photos made it onto Facebook, but somehow didn’t quite get to the “being written about” stage.

Cave Creek (hereafter abbreviated as “CC”) is at the north-northeast part of the Valley, a little less than an hour from my house, easy freeway driving the whole way.  CC is a very horsey community, with both CC Regional Park and Spur Cross Recreation Area offering riding trails, as well as being surrounded by hundreds of miles of trails, off-road tracks, and Forest Service roads on State Trust Land and the Tonto National Forest.

Our goal, having never ridden in the area, was to do some scouting for future riding endeavors.  Great hiking trails.  Great trail training trails…as long as you can guarantee no other trail traffic, since if you met a bike on parts of this trail, your options are pretty much a vertical up or a vertical down, topped by a whole bunch of layers of loose, sharp shale and slate.

Fun times.

But I have pictures.

Sadly, I don’t have pictures of some of the more interesting, technical stuff.  I was too busy trying to stay upright on my own two feet.

Layers upon layers of shale, slate, and granite.
Very pretty.  Very rocky.

Horse-spooking bench.  My unflappable trail pony
thinks these are highly suspicious whenever we
encounter them.

Smooth section of trail.  It didn’t last.

More really pretty, funky rocks.  See why slate is popular
as both flooring and accent in homes around here?

Deeeeep crevice.  Very deep.  Don’t fall in.

My father is All Business with his Serious Hiking Pole.
He also didn’t know I was taking his picture.  Heehee.

More overview.  A bit of the trail visible on the left.

Looking into the town of Cave Creek.

Went “off-roading” to do some exploring.  Really, this is a trail.

Very cool solid rock wall next to the trail.

My desert grows cactus out of rocks.
Can your desert do that?

Looking north towards Spur Cross.

The Maricopa Trail is an in-progress trail being built around
the entire Valley.  It’ll eventually connect most of the regional
parks, using existing park trails, as well as community bridle paths
and the CAP/SRP canal system trails.  It’ll be about 250+ miles
once it’s all completed.  A segment of it actually uses the canal
that runs right behind my house.  I just discovered this the other morning.

Intrepid hiker.
I’m not actually rolling my eyes… I’m squinting into the sun.  

Quite a few blind curves + mountain bikers made for a few times
when I was actually glad not to be on horseback.

So CC is a really pretty park, just different enough from my usual stomping grounds that I enjoyed the change of scenery.  The verdict as a riding destination?  Not very likely, unless the Tonto and Trust Land have some better trail offerings.  CC is just too crowded, with too much traffic and not enough options for avoiding said traffic or getting out of the way.

But there’re still other trails we didn’t explore that might offer better options.  It takes a lot for me to write off a place as riding potential, so I haven’t given up on this park yet.  And I know I’ll definitely be back to hike it again!

We ended up doing about an 8.5-mile hike…lots of up and down, lots of rocks.  New empathy for the horses and how difficult balancing over rocks is and how it can tire them out so quickly.

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