Hiking the Go John Trail at Maricopa County’s Cave Creek Regional Park
On Saturday, we hiked the Go John Trail in Maricopa County’s Cave Creek Regional Park. The Cave Creek Regional Park is located just off the Carefree Highway (the one that Gordon Lightfoot sang about) in Cave Creek, Arizona, which is just north of Scottsdale.
The Go John Trail is a 5.8 mile long loop, rated “moderate”, and will give you some great exercise with it’s 1,250 ft of accumulated elevation gain (AEG).
If you hike the Go John Trail in a clockwise manner, your hike will start right off with a nice heart-pounding climb up beautifully manicured switchbacks. At the top of the saddle there is a bench to catch your breath, and admire the long-range views south across the valley below.
We were hiking the trail on Easter weekend, and we found the trail buzzing with people enjoying the beautiful 70º weather by hiking, biking, and riding horseback.
Arizonan’s love the desert after a wet winter because the desert will literally come alive with green grasses, and desert flora like you have never before witnessed. There was one spot, which you can see in the video below, that was literally ablaze with the Sonoran desert’s beautiful yellow brittlebush.
In a few months, there will be no trace of green on these trails save the towering Saguaro, because of our dry fore-summer season.
On the back side of this loop trail lies our favorite portion, as people generally trend towards the shorter trails. If you challenge yourself just a little bit with this trail, you will be rewarded with a peaceful quiet, interrupted only by the chirping of quail, doves, cactus wren, and will likely enjoy a plethora of small lizards zipping across the trail in front of you.
Make sure to bring a lunch with you, as about 3/4’s of the way, after you climb about 500 feet up a granite boulder strewn path, you will again be rewarded with long range southerly views of the valley, and a most wonderful place to enjoy your lunch in the cool breeze that blows through the pass.
Another favorite part of this trail is what I call quartz hill. Just before you reach your final climb, and make your descent back to the parking lot, you will be presented with a hill that is completely strewn with quartz. It looks like a giant walked about with his hands full of quartz, and scattered them all over the ground, like a farmer might spread chicken feed. It is stunning to look about and see all the quartz glistening in the sun.
It is likely that we have hiked this trail 20 times, and I am very confident that if you choose to do some hiking, when you visit the Valley of the Sun, that you too will enjoy a jaunt on The Go John Trail.
One last thing, I beg you, please made certain that each of you have at least two liters of water for this hike.
The arid Sonoran desert can be very unforgiving, and you will find yourself with severe dehydration without a proper supply of water. Promise? Come on, raise your hand and promise me that you will bring lots of water with you.
Thank you, and enjoy your hike.