Silver Peak #280

Silver Peak Trail

The Silver Peak Trail offers excellent views as soon as you pass the trailhead sign. This desert pathway is located in magnificent Cave Creek Canyon and provides one of the best opportunities for getting a broad view of the canyon that has been called the Yosemite of the Southwest. This trail is located just a short distance up-canyon from the Cave Creek Visitor Information Center. If you don’t want to take a long hike or ride here, at least take a short one, especially if you’re just arriving at Cave Creek. The views you’ll find along lower stretches of the trail provide an excellent introduction to this beautiful and dramatic area. They may even convince you to take a longer trip, perhaps all the way to Silver Peak’s 7,975 foot summit. It’s a 3,000 foot climb and anything but easy, however the panorama is unforgettable. The climb starts among desert grassland vegetation, such as sotol and agave, and climbs to the Douglas-fir forests of the Canadian Zone. From higher reaches of the trail, you can see much of the eastern slopes of the Chiricahuas including the canyons that Cave Creek, the South Fork of Cave Creek, and East Turkey Creek have cut into the mountain range. To the east, the extensive grasslands of the San Simon Valley stretch to the Peloncillos and into New Mexico. At the summit, along with the panoramic views, you will see the remains of the Silver Peak Lookout which burned down in an October, 1992, thunder and snow storm.


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At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Pack and saddle stock are not allowed overnight in campgrounds.
Operated By: Douglas Ranger District

General Information

Directions: From Tucson, take I-10 east 139 miles to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border to get to this intersection). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles, then turn right (west) on the road to Portal, 7 miles. Drive west on FR 42 approximately 1 mile to Cave Creek Visitor Information Center and trailhead. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.


Day Hiking

Close to campgrounds and visitor center, Desert to mountaintop diversity, Views start immediately. This is a 3,000 foot climb along a desert trail which can be quite hot on a sunny day. Bring lots of water. USGS Map(s): Portal
Elevation desc 4,960 - 7,975 feet
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
4.6 miles

  Elevation : 
4,960 feet - 7,975 feet