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Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

Originally the territory of the Hohokam, Akimel O’odham, and Yavapaiv Apache, Spur Cross Ranch is the only designated Conservation Area in the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation system, and is its newest addition, established in 2001. Relatively small at 2,154 acres, it nonetheless offers outstanding recreational opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders in an impressive range of habitats and ecosystems.

The 10 Essentials

ACTIVITIES:

  • bird-watching
  • equestrian
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • picnicking
  • trail running

HIGHLIGHTS:

Horse rentals (Cave Creek Trailrides)

Access to perennial Cave Creek

Monthly full-moon guided hikes

100+ historic and prehistoric cultural sites

25+ species of dragonflies!

HABITAT:

Sonoran desert; saguaro / paloverde & desert wash communities. Riparian. Elevation ranges from 2,179′ – 3,926 (Elephant Mountain)

AVAILABILITY:

Open year-round. May – October: 5a – 9p; November – April: 6a – 8p. Check park website or call for current open hours.

AMENITIES:

12+ miles of multi-use trails rated easy to very difficult
Equestrian staging area
Shaded picnic tables
Portable toilets
Trash bins
Guided walks and interpretive programming

PERMITS / FEES:

Park entry is $3/person or annual passes are available for $85.
Annual passes include access to all Maricopa County Parks.
Additional fee information can be found here.

SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS:

The park includes part of the Cave Creek Ecosystem Audubon Important Bird Area.
The 315-mile Maricopa Trail passes through the park.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Kid-friendly
Dog-friendly (must be leashed and licensed)
ADA: N/A
Transit: N/A

NEAREST SERVICES:

Cave Creek and Carefree are full-service towns.

HEADS-UP!

Risks include: heat-related disorders, exposure, flash flooding, rattlesnakes, numerous species of cacti.. do NOT hug the teddy bear cholla!
Fire bans are in effect seasonally; gas stoves and grills are not allowed when there is an ‘extreme fire ban.’
Fires are not allowed anywhere outside of designated places.

Flora & Fauna

An astonishing variety of wildlife and plant species are protected within Spur Cross, including:

  • Sonoran mud turtle
  • Lowland leopard frog
  • California leaf-nosed bat
  • Arizona pocket mouse
  • Great horned owl
  • Gila woodpecker
  • Arizona walnut
  • Hohokam agave
  • Wild tarragon
Cave Creek
81°
Sunny
5:18am7:42pm MST
Feels like: 81°F
Wind: 2mph ENE
Humidity: 38%
Pressure: 29.84"Hg
UV index: 0
SatSunMon
104/79°F
106/81°F
104/81°F

Explore Spur Cross from the maricopa trail!

Maricopa Trail sign

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