HIKE – GO JOHN TRAIL – west of Cave Creek


We will encounter a great variety of desert flora and wildflowers including poppies, lupine, and wild heliotrope as we pass abandoned mine shafts and enjoy views of Elephant Mountain, Black Mesa, Skull Mesa the Phoenix valley.

The Go John Trail winds its way between clusters of small hills to loop through some very nice Sonoran Desert country. The trail starts out from the parking lot with a bit of a climb to a low saddle. Right at the peak of the climb is an abandoned mine shaft. After the saddle the Go John Trail begins a meandering track through many little hills. At one time these hills were full of miners digging for gold.

This hike will be a hike of moderate difficulty, possibly challenging due to its length, but there will be 430 ft. elevation change. As for length I have read 4.5, 4.8, and 5.8 from various sources. In any case it will be longer than our usual hikes and therefore a bit more strenuous.

However, our hikes are generally at a pace conducive to social banter of interest to heathens, and allowing for time for photography of the local geology and wildlife. Expect this hike to last 3-4 hours

For the asking, I will have handouts discussing geology of the area, and plant and animals we’ll likely encounter. Also I bring reference books for after the hike.

Here are photos from our hike 3/17/12


slide show:


Here are photos from our hike 3/13/11:


slide show:


Here is a guide to the park (including a map) with information about the hike, and detailing the flora and fauna to expect:


Here is a map to the trail head:


Here is the trail map:



Distance:about 5 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Difficulty: moderately challenging due to distance

Trail: packed dirt, gravel, rock

Elevation:[masked] ft.

change: 430 ft.

Parking: paved lot w/ restrooms

Entry fees: $6/ car

Dogs: OK leashed


Always carry and drink plenty of water!

Sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellant is advised.

Supportive footwear is also advisable.

SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions.

Hike at your own risk.

To get there: Go 1.5 miles north on 32nd St. from Carefree Highway to the park entrance.  After paying ENTRANCE FEE ($6?), proceed 1.3 mile to the Go John trail head. ….. .. Reach the Carefree Highway (SR 74) from Freeway 17 (exit 223) and the travel east 7 miles to 32nd St. …..  OR take Cave Creek Rd. north from the 101 about 10 miles and then turn left onto the Carefree Highway and travel west about 3 miles to 32nd St. OR it’s about 4.8 miles west from Scottsdale Rd.


Carpooling can save gas but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements. You could email members or post comments on this announcement page.

Google says the trail head is 45minutes from the I-10 & 51

Google says the trail head is 30 minutes from the I-17 & 101

Google says the trail head is 55 minutes from the 60 & 101

After the hike we may re-convene at Harold’s Corral in Cave Creek.  To get there simply return to Carefree highway, turn left and travel 3 miles east to Cave Creek Rd. and turn left and follow it 4 miles north then east to 6895 E. Cave Creek Road, it will be on the south (right) side of the road.

Harold’s is THE place in Cave Creek, Arizona for good food, great music and a dang’ good time. Hitch yer hat, hang yer hoss and kick back to enjoy some good times eatin’, drinkin’ and dancin’. Harolds serves up the best durned cooking in these here parts (or any other parts, for that matter)

AsCave Creek’s original “Wild West Saloon and Restaurant,” Harold’s is a landmark and popular stomping ground for both locals and tourists. Celebrating over 70 years of history and good times. If it happens in Cave Creek, it happens at Harold’s.

Johnny Walker opened the Corral Bar in 1935 to serve the workers who were building Bartlett Dam. It became Harold’s Cave Creek Corral in 1950 when local character Harold Gavagan purchased it. It has spawned a million crazy stories – from lions and tigers caged in the back to Harold himself along with his flamboyant friends, movie stars, (real) cowboys and other colorful characters. Gavagan’s flamboyant ways helped to turn it into the local landmark that it is today.

Harold’s features the finest Choice hand carved steaks and daily delivered fresh seafood. All our BBQ meats are smoked on premise using mesquite wood to provide a traditional southwest flavor. Our wide variety menu features everything from Salads, Steaks, Seafood, Italian & Mexican dishes, to the best Hamburgers in Arizona.

Check the place out and its menu here:


Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm so sorry to skip out and miss this great hike. I usually sleep in on Saturdays and I just couldn't get it together this morning. See you all on the next hike!

    March 23, 2013

  • Dylan W.

    Sorry, we are really tired this morning.

    March 23, 2013

  • Merle L.

    Hi. I will be hiking tomorrow but not the whole Go John Trail as this is my first hike in 8 weeks. I will be doing part of the Go John and the Overton trail. Would anyone care to join me?

    March 22, 2013

    • Jack S.

      I've got to be back early so I'll hike with you.

      March 22, 2013

  • Andy W.

    Becky from Kent, Washington will join us.

    March 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would anyone like to carpool? I live in south Tempe. I can drive, but I know I'll be tempted to skip the hike and sleep in if I don't have to give someone a ride. :-)

    March 20, 2013

  • Jack S.

    I'll have to pass on the post-hike festivities

    March 20, 2013

  • Amanda C.

    Since no Tyger, can I catch a ride with Al et. al.?

    March 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't make this one, but will be at the next one.

    March 19, 2013

  • Norm

    I gotta do yard work sometime; the weeds are taking over!

    March 18, 2013

  • Jodi

    Costco road show. North store....101 & 17 .

    March 17, 2013

  • Bill

    Merle, I'm sorry but I won't be able to go on such a long hike, and I can't take the heat. It even bothered me at the Botanicals Gardens. We'll meet again though. Bill

    March 16, 2013

  • Tyger G.

    I already had committed to doing Picacho Peak with Scott before this hike was posted. He doesn't want to change it to Sunday, so I'm going to Picacho next Saturday. So solly, prease.

    March 16, 2013

  • Merle L.

    If I keep improving I am going to do this hike

    March 15, 2013

  • Bill

    No, too long for my stamina that is getting worse. I think it is more from the medicine I take than a health issue.

    March 14, 2013

10 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sometimes the best Meetup Group is the one you start

Get started Learn more

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy