Arizona Hiking Gallery
Cottonwood Trail Hike
Spur Cross Ranch / Tonto National Forest, AZ
February 4, 2007
Gallery contains 27 photos
Gallery last updated: 3/17/2007
Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 1
This hike started at Spur Cross Ranch, just north of Cave Creek, and went into the Tonto National Forest on the Cottonwood Trail (247) in search of a rare crested saguaro cactus. This is a view into the hills from the Spur Crosss Trail with Sugarloaf Mesa in the center.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 2
A view of Skull Mesa to the northeast from the Spur Cross Trail.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 3
Just about the only wildflowers we saw on this hike were on these flower-framed glasses found hanging on fence.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 4
The trail crosses Cave Creek just before entering the Tonto National Forest.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 5
Buckhorn Cholla (Opuntia acanthocarpa).

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 6
Buckhorn Cholla (Opuntia acanthocarpa).

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 7
After hiking north along Cave Creek for a while we come to the Skull Mesa Trailhead where we hop onto the Cottonwood Trail and head east toward Skull Mesa.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 8
As the trail climbs away from Cave Creek good views of the surrounding terrain begin to open up. Here you can see Sugarloaf Mountain and Black Mesa at the far right.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 9
Another view of Sugarloaf Mountain and Black Mesa from a little higher up on the trail.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 10
The trail is still climbing. Below Sugarloaf Mountain is Cave Creek. You can also see the Cave Creek Trail (trail 4) snaking below.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 11
From the left to right: Elephant Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Black Mesa.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 12
The Cottonwood Trail eventually makes its way toward the base of Skull Mesa on the left in this photo.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 13
Elephant Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Black Mesa, New River Mesa.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 14
The Cottonwood Trail heading to the base of Skull Mesa.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 15
Light greenish gray leaves of the Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa).

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 16
Skeleton of a fallen Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 17
We found the rare crested Saguaro Cactus that we were searching for, our main goal on this hike.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 18
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 19
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 20
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 21
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 22
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 23
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 24
Crested Saguaro Cactus.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 25
Crested Saguaro Cactus from above.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 26
At a small creek crossing we found these aquatic plants growing in the creek littered with last years fallen cottonwood leaves.

Cottonwood Trail Hike: Image 27
We found this threatening "NO TRESPASSING" sign along the unmarked, unnamed, unmapped, and sometimes hard to follow trail that we took back to Spur Cross. We took the stern warning and did not enter this gate. Notice the second pair of glass that we found hanging from a fence.

All images Copyright ©2007 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.