Arizona Hiking Gallery
Seven Springs Loop Hike
Seven Springs Recreation Area, Tonto National Forest, AZ
February 12, 2006
Gallery contains 40 photos
Gallery last updated: 2/26/2006
Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 1
This loop hike in the Seven Springs Recreation Area begins at the Cave Creek Trailhead.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 2
The hike will be a clockwise loop from the Cave Creek Trailhead using Cave Creek Trail (Trail 4), Cottonwood Trail (Trail 247), Skunk Creek Trail (Trail 246), and returning on the Cave Creek Trail (Trail 4) with a short out and back on the Quien Sabe Trail (Trail 250) up to Skunk Ridge.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 3
A view to the south from Trail 4 near the start of the hike.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 4
From Trail 4 we pick up Trail 247. Here Trail 247 crosses Cave Creek which experienced severe flooding last winter.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 5
A trickle of water flowing in Cave Creek.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 6
A view of Skunk Ridge from the Skunk Creek Trail (Trail 246). Much of this area was burned by the Cave Creek Complex Fire which was started by lightning on June 21, 2005. It was the 2nd worst fire in Arizona history burning more than 248,000 acres.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 7
A victim of the fire.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 8
Flowering Gooddings Verbena (Glandularia gooddingii) adds a hint of color to the otherwise stark burn area.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 9
Burned trees.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 10
I haven't had any scat pictures for a while, so here's some deer pellets.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 11
With last year's Cave Creek Complex fire and this year's lack of rain the hillsides are quite barren. The haze in the distance is smoke from the February Fire near Payson which started on February 6th, 2006.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 12
Scrub Oak acorns.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 13
A scorched and barren landscape.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 14
Quien Sabe Spring provides a trickle of water helping grasses and a few flowers recover from the fire.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 15
A view to the northeast from the intersection of Quien Sabe Trail (250) and Skunk Creek Trail (246).

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 16
Near the top of Skunk Ridge on Trail 250 looking back down Skunk Tank Canyon.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 17
The fire was too much for this barrel cactus on Skunk Ridge.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 18
Looking down from Skunk Ridge with Skull Mesa on the right and Continental Mountain in the center.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 19
A view from Skunk Ridge of Skull Mesa and New River Mesa on the right.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 20
Skunk Tank. Thin mud or thick water?

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 21
From Skunk Tank the trail traverses the steep hillside along Skunk Tank Canyon.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 22
Pools of water in Skunk Creek Canyon.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 23
Hiking along the steep hillside of Skunk Creek Canyon with New River Mesa in the background.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 24
Skunk Tank Canyon.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 25
Skunk Tank Canyon.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 26
A ghostly shell of a once mighty saguaro cactus.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 27
At this point the trail begins switchbacking down the ridge to Cave Creek in the valley below where it meets the Cave Creek Trail (Trail 4).

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 28
Rattlesnake Weed (Euphorbia albomarginata), a member of the spurge family, was once used as a treatment for snake bites, hench its name.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 29
Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma pulchellum).

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 30
We've made it down to Cave Creek and now it's 5 1/2 miles up the creek to the trailhead.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 31
A view of a Saguaro studded hillside near Cave Creek.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 32
Cave Creek.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 33
Cave Creek.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 34
A rare Crested Saguaro Cactus along Trail 4. Luckily the Cave Creek Complex fire spared this magnificent cactus.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 35
It is unknown what causes the crested or cristate form. Possible causes include genetics, frost, lightning, insects or viruses.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 36
Closeup of the Saguaro's crest.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 37
Closeup of the Saguaro's crest.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 38
Crested Saguaro.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 39
A view back down Cave Creek.

Seven Springs Loop Hike: Image 40
Much of Cave Creek's riparian areas were destroyed by last year's flood and fire. Hopefully, some of it will survive.

All images Copyright ©2006 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.