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Tuesday, January 6, 2009


GO JOHN TRAIL Cave Creek Regional Park Located just minutes from metro Phoenix, Cave Creek Regional Park offers easy access to pleasant desert hiking. Over 11 miles of well-maintained, shared-use trails criss-cross the park’s varied terrain and on most weekends, hikers can expect to encounter horseback riders, trail runners, dogs on leash and mountain bikers. Trailhead signs warn of snakes, but encounters are rare. The Go John loop twists through ravines, washes and ridges with terrific views of the area’s mesas, buttes, ancient rock formations and desert flora. There is little shade along the way. If you get lost on the trail, you are truly an unworthy hiker because junctions are clearly signed and trails are obvious. Its proximity to town makes the trail quite popular with the locals so it’s essential to arrive early and observe trail etiquette -- hikers must yield to uphill traffic and horses, while bikers, who are supposed to yield to all, rarely do. LENGTH: 5 mile loop RATING: easy ELEVATION GAIN: 800 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 to the Carefree Highway exit. Head right onto Carefree Highway and continue to 32nd Street. Turn left onto 32nd Street and follow it to the entrance to Cave Creek Regional Park. Once inside the park, follow Cave Creek Parkway to Tonalite Drive. Turn left onto Tonalite and follow the signs to the Go John trailhead. There’s a $5 daily fee per vehicle. Bring the exact change for the self-serve pay station at the park entrance.

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