Refurbished Trails: Silver Peak
By Rolf Koford
This is the first in a series of articles on trails in Cave Creek Canyon. Trails are a great way to experience the Canyon. Even in the best of times, though, hiking here can be challenging. Few of our trails have stretches where pine needles cushion your steps. Few are level. Hikers are never completely free to watch for wildlife and to take in the scenery; if you don’t have to watch your step to avoid sharp rocks, you have to keep an eye out for venomous snakes. The Silver Peak Trail would not be on anyone’s list of easy trails. Now, however, may be the best time in a long time to give it a try.
Earlier this year, trail maintenance was conducted by Wild Arizona with support from FOCCC, the Chiricahua Regional Council, and the U.S. Forest Service. The biggest improvement has been in the lower section, up to the first gate. The trail can be accessed at the trailhead (parking is free) or from the Visitor Information Center (parking lot gate is locked before 9 AM and after 3 PM). Instead of gullied-out sections where runoff and horses created multiple routes up the hill, which were difficult to navigate and negotiate, there are now clear switchbacks. In one steep section, hikers can now use rock steps—no more clambering. New trail has been added, lessening the overall grade up to the first gate; the distance to the first gate is now well over a mile. In several parts of the refurbished area, the surface is rock-free, making for easy (if slow) walking. Future rains will erode these sections, which is why now is a good time to enjoy them.