September 28th, 2019
Route Type: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 872
Dog Friendly: Yes
Fee: Permit is required to park on Carney Springs Trailhead
Restrooms at trailhead: No
HOW TO GET THERE:
From the valley you need to get on the US-60 going East. After leaving Mesa, you’ll enter Apache Junction and Gold Canyon city limits. Take a left on Peralta Road heading north. Take the soon to be dirt road for about 6 miles. The small parking lot will be on the west side of the road. The hike begins at Carney Springs Trailhead. The parking lot is small and fills up really quickly, as this is a popular hike. I would try to get there as early as possible. There is no secondary parking that is close to this trailhead. You will need a permit to park at this trailhead because it is not on public land. It is on Arizona State Trust Land. You can get an individual permit for $15. Permits are per person and not per vehicle.
This hike starts off with a steady incline, but once you get closer to the cave it becomes very steep. Based off our All Trails app during mile one we gained 209 feet and mile two we gained 712 feet. It definitely becomes more challenging during mile two, but nothing too challenging. There isn’t any climbing involved. Just a great leg workout! We did this hike in September, so it was HOT. We started the hike at about 9:02am and we got to the cave at about 9:40am. It was still very warm, even though it was pretty early. This trail is marked fairly well with arrows pointing you in the right direction. It wasn’t super busy when we first started, but on our way down we saw a lot more people starting to head up. We always recommend trying to hike as early as possible to beat the crowds and the summer heat! The hike offers some beautiful scenery of desert wildlife and the view from the cave is phenomenal. If you go in the summer, be careful for rattle snakes. We didn’t see any, but we were told that other people on the trail did.