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Monday, July 6, 2015

SUMMER HIKES AT SPUR CROSS RANCH

SUMMER HIKES AT SPUR CROSS RANCH
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
The solar oasis is a popular stop on Spur Cross Ranch hikes

With the Valley now fully saturated in triple-digit temperatures, some hikers (you, perhaps?) are having difficulty wrangling enough motivation to hit the trails. Necessary early starts to beat the heat, lack of company or aversion to making long drives to the cooler climes of Arizona's high country are common excuses for July-August hiking slumps. However, there is an easy solution for summer trekking doldrums: the hiking events at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area in Cave Creek. Located just 30 miles north of Phoenix where a combination of slightly higher elevations and mountain breezes make for cooler temperatures, the conservation area has seven miles of non-motorized-use trails that wind through a wide variety of terrains and historical sites.
Led by Ranger Kevin Smith, event hikes are presented in an interactive, learn-as-you-walk format. Hikes cover topics such as getting to know the area, riparian biomes, edible plants, geology and prehistoric cultures. A favorite among adults and kids alike are the full moon and nighttime flashlight/ black light tours. Many desert critters are most active after dark and there's always a high probability of reptile, mammal and raptor sightings with fluorescent scorpion exposures to boot.
Here's a partial list of upcoming hikes:
Saturday, July 11: Fruits of the Desert. Harvest saguaro fruits!
Friday, July 17: Exploring the Dragonfly Trail. Hike in a desert oasis and see a rock art gallery.
Saturday, July 18: Life Along the Creek. Amazing plant and animal discoveries.
Saturday, August 29: Full Moon Hike. This must-do, desert classic runs from 7:30-9:30 p.m..
TIME:
Morning hikes begin at 7 a.m. and last roughly 3 hours.
FEE: $3 per person. Free for ages under 16. Bring exact change for self-serve pay station.
REGISTRATION: not required, just show up on time.
GETTING THERE:
44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek.
From the intersection of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road head north on Cave Creek Road about 2.5 miles to Spur Cross Road. Turn north for approximately 4.5 miles to the public parking area. After 3 miles the road turns to all-weather graded. The last 1.5 miles can be confusing; continue north on the graded road past the green house, through the tall gateposts and on past the horse corrals to the signed public parking area on the right.
INFO: Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
480-488-6623