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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 character. The trail leaves the main road in Cave Creek Canyon at a trailhead that is convenient to all the campgrounds located in the vicinity. 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.

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 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. Switchbacks are the rule as the trail traverses old talus slides with bird's 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. Turning left takes you south to Juniper Spring on the Crest Trail.

Directions: From Tucson, Take I-10 east for 139 m, to US 80 (you will cross the New Mexico border). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles. Turn right (west) on the road to Portal. Continue for 7 miles. From Portal drive west on Forest Road #42 for 4 miles to the trailhead.

Elevation: 5,300 feet

Ending Elevation: 9,665 feet

Elevation Gain: 4,365 feet

Distance: 10.1 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Coronado National Forest, Arizona

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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