Snowshed Trail #246


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Good views of Cave Creek Canyon make this trail an excellent way to get acquainted with the cliffs, caves, pinnacles and peaks that give this scenic valley its unique character. The trail leaves the main road in Cave Creek Canyon, at a trailhead that is convenient to all the campgrounds located there. It then follows Snowshed Ridge, an ascent that is relatively moderate in its initial stretches, as it climbs toward the Chiricahua high country. The views start right from the trailhead and continue all along the route making this trail a good one to follow even if you don’t have the inclination to traverse all of its 10.1 miles. As Snowshed Trail nears the peak for which it is named, the gradient steepens and trailside vegetation changes from pinyon, oak and madrone to more high country species such as ponderosa pine and aspen. About a half mile beyond Deer Spring is a trail junction that presents three alternative routes. Turning to the right (northeast) takes you to Snowshed Peak along a course that offers better views than the summit itself. On the slopes of Snowshed Peak, switchbacks are the rule as the trail traverses old talus slides presenting birds-eye views of Cave Creek Canyon and its South Fork. Continuing straight at the junction takes you west to the Crest Trail #270 in the direction of Chiricahua Peak, and turning left heads you south to Juniper Spring on the Crest Trail.

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness.
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 4 miles to the trailhead. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.



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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
10.1 miles

  Elevation : 
5,300 feet - 9,665 feet