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
This loop hike in the Seven Springs Recreation Area begins at the Cave Creek Trailhead.
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.
A view to the south from Trail 4 near the start of the hike.
From Trail 4 we pick up Trail 247. Here Trail 247 crosses Cave Creek which experienced severe flooding last winter.
A trickle of water flowing in Cave Creek.
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.
Flowering Gooddings Verbena (Glandularia gooddingii) adds a hint of color to the otherwise stark burn area.
I haven't had any scat pictures for a while, so here's some deer pellets.
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.
A scorched and barren landscape.
Quien Sabe Spring provides a trickle of water helping grasses and a few flowers recover from the fire.
A view to the northeast from the intersection of Quien Sabe Trail (250) and Skunk Creek Trail (246).
Near the top of Skunk Ridge on Trail 250 looking back down Skunk Tank Canyon.
The fire was too much for this barrel cactus on Skunk Ridge.
Looking down from Skunk Ridge with Skull Mesa on the right and Continental Mountain in the center.
A view from Skunk Ridge of Skull Mesa and New River Mesa on the right.
Skunk Tank. Thin mud or thick water?
From Skunk Tank the trail traverses the steep hillside along Skunk Tank Canyon.
Pools of water in Skunk Creek Canyon.
Hiking along the steep hillside of Skunk Creek Canyon with New River Mesa in the background.
A ghostly shell of a once mighty saguaro cactus.
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).
Rattlesnake Weed (Euphorbia albomarginata), a member of the spurge family, was once used as a treatment for snake bites, hench its name.
Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma pulchellum).
We've made it down to Cave Creek and now it's 5 1/2 miles up the creek to the trailhead.
A view of a Saguaro studded hillside near Cave Creek.
A rare Crested Saguaro Cactus along Trail 4. Luckily the Cave Creek Complex fire spared this magnificent cactus.
It is unknown what causes the crested or cristate form. Possible causes include genetics, frost, lightning, insects or viruses.
Closeup of the Saguaro's crest.
Closeup of the Saguaro's crest.
A view back down Cave Creek.
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.