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    Skull Mesa Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    18.3 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    836 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Skull Mesa Trail is an 18.2 km hike in the Spur Cross Ranch Recreation Area in Arizona. This hike is long and challenging with some tough climbs, but the view from the mesa is quite spectacular and you can find petroglyphs along the trail if you keep your eyes open. This trail is best suited for strong hikers and it’s essential to plan it for a cool day. Expect light traffic.

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    Route Description for Skull Mesa Trail

    The Skull Mesa Trail is a long, demanding trail that rewards your efforts with awesome views of saguaro-studded hillsides, petroglyphs, and the solitude of a quiet desert trail. This route is also good for camping and backpacking trips, so make it a weekend adventure if you’re able to.

    Since this hike is both long and strenuous, it’s essential that you hike it on a cooler day. This isn’t a safe hike to do in the summertime. Bring lots and lots of water and wear sun protection. While dogs are allowed on leash, please make sure you bring water for them, too, or leave them at home for this one.

    From the trailhead, the route heads north along Cave Creek through a canyon. Take a sharp right onto Cave Creek Trail #4 and then an immediate right. You’ll climb and descend in turn through undulating terrain at the base of the mesa. Once you’re lined up on the final approach, you’ll have to complete a steep switchbacking ascent to the top of the mesa. After enjoying the view and catching your breath, retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Skull Mesa Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for the Skull Mesa Trail is on Spur Cross Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Skull Mesa Trail Elevation Graph

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    Skull Mesa Trail Reviews

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