Arizona Hiking Gallery
Margies Cove Trail Hike
North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness, AZ
February 17, 2008
Gallery contains 63 photos
Gallery last updated: 3/16/2008

This was an out-and-back hike on the Margies Cove Trail in the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness which is part of the Sonoran Desert National Monument. I started the hike at the Margies Cove East Trailhead and hiked about 3.5 miles to the intersection with the Brittlebush Trail where I ate lunch before turning around and retracing my steps. Early wildflowers were just starting to make an appearance after the winter rains.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 1
This hike starts at the Margies Cove East Trailhead.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 2
The Margies Cove Trail is fairly flat and wanders among the washes between the peaks and ridges of the Maricopa Mountains.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 3
A fallen saguaro cactus skeleton.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 4
The Mexican Gold Poppies (Eschscholtzia mexicana) were just starting to bloom. Each flower is opening toward the morning sun.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 5
Closeup of Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholtzia mexicana).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 6
Typical Sonoran Desert plants include Saguaro Cactus, Teddy Bear Cholla, Creosote Bush, Triangle Bursage.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 7
Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 8
Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus) with arms going every which way.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 9
The fenced in area is a water catchment project designed to catch and hold water for desert animals.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 10
I didn't see any "game" at the water.

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Along the fence line.

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The Margies Cove Trail is not signed, but easy to follow rock cairns guide the way.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 13
The desert floor is green due the recent winter rains.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 14
The trail passes by a peak through saguaros and creosote bushes.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 15
Cholla skeleton (probably from chain fruit cholla).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 16
Closeup of cholla skeleton.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 17
Ridges of the North Maricopa Mountains rise above a forest of saguaros.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 18
Toppled saguaro cactus skeleton.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 19
Closeup of the wood of the toppled saguaro.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 20
Scenic Sonoran Desert view.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 21
Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia fulgida) with an Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) and Saguaros in the background.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 22
Classic Sonoran Desert plant community.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 23
The leaves of the Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) cover the stems after a good winter rain.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 24
Classic Sonoran Desert plant community.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 25
The trail hops from cairn to cairn.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 26
Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholtzia mexicana).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 27
Closeup of Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholtzia mexicana).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 28
Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) is a non-native member of the geranium family.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 29
Splaying ribs of a Saguaro Cactus.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 30
Closeup of Saguaro ribs.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 31
A dead saguaro forms a cross against the bright blue sky.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 32
A thin ribbon of trail winding down a gentle slope past a fallen saguaro.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 33
A forest of saguaros grow on this desert valley floor.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 34
A female Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) turns to see who is taking her picture.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 35
Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 36
This spiny Teddy Bear Cholla joint which has "jumped" from its parent plant will soon take root and continue to grow.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 37
Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 38
This saguaro must have made quite a thunder when it came crashing down.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 39
This saguaro must have made quite a thunder when it came crashing down.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 40
A large Saguaro Cactus (Cereus giganteus).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 41
The trunk of a large Ironwood (Olneya tesota).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 42
The Ironwood tree is the largest and oldest tree found the Sonoran Desert.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 43
Closeup of the Ironwood bark.

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The leaves and thorns of the Ironwood.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 45
Another large Saguaro.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 46
At some point the Margies Cove Trail crosses a gate. This is a view on the west side of the gate looking east.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 47
Saguaro cactus with unusual branching, each "arm" branching into two.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 48
Triangle Bursage (Ambrosia deltoidea) is a common shrub of the Sonoran Desert.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 49
Another common shrub of the Sonoran Desert is the Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 50
Closeup of the green waxy leaves of the Creosote Bush.

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Signs on a fence surrounding a water catchment project.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 52
A beautiful Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholtzia mexicana)

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 53
Mexican Gold Poppies provide a brilliant flash of color to the desert.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 54
Ironwood trees like dry sandy desert washes.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 55
Leaves of the Ironwood tree.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 56
Poppies provide a splash of yellow below a peak in the North Maricopa Mountains.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 57
After a saguaro dies its flesh falls away revealing a structure of wooden ribs that once helped hold up thousands of pounds of cactus.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 58
Saguaro ribs.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 59
Bladderpod Mustard (Lesquerella gordoni).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 60
Bladderpod Mustard (Lesquerella gordoni).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 61
Bladderpod Mustard (Lesquerella gordoni).

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 62
Rocky hillside.

Margies Cove Trail Hike: Image 63
Rocky hillside.

All images Copyright ©2008 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.