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Saturday, December 5, 2009

DRAGONFLY TRAIL

DRAGONFLY TRAIL Jewel of the Creek Preserve It’s finally open! We learned of this new trail in Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area last winter when it was still under construction. The Dragonfly Trail, which opened in April 2009, was engineered to showcase the desert foothills and thriving riparian environment surrounding the “Jewel of the Creek” area of perrenial Cave Creek. This unexpected strip of lush creek-side willows, alders, walnut trees and cattails is hemmed in by rugged Upper Sonoran Desert terrain making for a breathtaking hybrid desert-wetland hike. While there, you’ll also wander through a mesquite bosque—the 5th rarest eco-system on earth. Although most hikers prefer to grab a map at the trailhead and head out on their own, the park ranger, Kevin Smith—who knows just about everything about the local flora, fauna, geology and human history of the area-- conducts regular guided tours for those who would like an educational experience. Check out the link below to find out when the next one is happening. We can thank the efforts of the Desert Foothills Land Trust for securing the preservation of this delicate eco-system and for also raising the funds needed to plan for and build the trail. Check out their Web site to learn more about this guardian of our beautiful Sonoran Desert and how YOU can help preserve this precious resource: http://www.dflt.org/ LENGTH: 4-mile loop (with optional connecting trails to add length if we like) RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 2,400 -2,150 feet FEE: $3 per person (exact change is required) GETTING THERE: Option 1: From I-17 go east on Carefree Highway (AZ 74) at exit 223. Continue on Carefree Highway for 9.7 miles to Cave Creek Road. Go north onto Cave Creek Road and drive 2.6 miles to Spur Cross Ranch Road. (this is a tricky intersection…the road kind of swerves left and turns into Spur Cross Ranch Road. Continue north for 4.2 miles to the dirt parking on the left. The last mile or so of the road is good dirt and passable by sedan. THE HIKE: from the parking area, hike up the road a few yards, pay your fee and pick up a free map. Option 2: From Loop 101, exit at Cave Creek Road and drive north for approximately 15 miles to Spur Cross Ranch Road. (this is a tricky intersection…the road kind of swerves left and turns into Spur Cross Ranch Road. Continue north for 4.2 miles to the dirt parking on the left. The last mile or so of the road is good dirt and passable by sedan. THE HIKE: from the parking area, hike up the road a few yards, pay your fee and pick up a free map. INFORMATION: visit, http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/spur%5Fcross/ or call 480-488-6623