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Favorite Local Wintertime Hikes

Updated: May 1, 2023

By Dr. Chris Bonin

Hello everyone! It is no secret that I love hiking, especially in our great state of Arizona. Over the coming months, I will be sharing some of my favorite local hikes with you so you can experience some of the incredible trails that we have!

One of my favorite local trailheads to hike in the “wintertime” is the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. Spur Cross is located a few minutes north of Cave Creek. There are 16 trails for hiking of various lengths ranging from 78 to 2,742 feet in elevation gain. The trails have tremendous mountain views, desert foliage and even some water depending on the time of year.

My favorite trail is Elephant Mountain Loop, a 7-mile loop trail considered to be a moderate to difficult route. There are Native American ruins located on the Elephant Mountain Summit which is challenging to get to but worth the effort! Here is the link to the trailhead and a map of the trail itself.

Elephant Mountain Loop – 7.0 miles, 1335 ft of elevation gain

Here are a few others that you can access from the same trailhead:

Spur Cross Dragonfly Loop - 3.9 miles, 390 ft of elevation gain, easy to moderate hike, well-marked, heavily trafficked

Skull Mesa Trail – 11.4 miles, 2742 ft of elevation gain, hard to difficult hike, experienced hikers only, secluded hike, ruins


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