Tonto National Forest
At nearly 3 million acres, the Tonto National Forest is the largest national forest in Arizona, and the fifth largest in the country. And our six Trailblazer Rides cover 300,000 acres of it! Even our experienced guides are in awe of the splendor of our Tonto National Forest trails. And like the best cake Grandma ever baked, you can mix and match our ingredients to create a lifetime of memories. In other words, you can select a Trailblazer Ride as described below, or request a custom ride that includes the best of everything you want to see, be it a private ride or group ride.
Each of the following Trailblazer Rides includes a unique experience, but something they all have in common is scenic beauty and the wildlife that calls it home, including javelina, coyotes, deer, rabbits, road runners and Arizona's state bird, the cactus wren.
Permitted with the Tonto National Forrest.
As far back as 1 AD, the ancient Hohokam people migrated from Mexico to Arizona. For hundreds of years they farmed this land, building an intricate system of canals ½ hundreds of miles long ½ for irrigating their fields of corn, beans, squash, agave and cotton. Then around 1400 AD, the Hohokam people disappeared. Though the reason is unknown, it may have been linked to drought or the possibility that they over-irrigated and waterlogged the land causing salt buildup that destroyed their crops. The Hohokam built their homes on mesas ½ flat-topped hills or small plateaus with steep sides. On our Native American Ruins Ride you will visit these dwellings, featuring walls that still stand one to four feet high, making it possible for you to actually see how their homes were laid out so you can get a feel for how they lived.
Ride Time: 4 to 5 hours (6 hours if combined with the Petroglyphs Ride)
They had no form of writing, but the ancient Hohokam people recorded their interpretation of the world in the form of petroglyphs ½ images carved into the dark surface of rocks. There are hundreds of these petroglyphs throughout the Valley, including those you will encounter on your own Petroglyph Ride into the foothills of the Tonto National Forest. Although they are often studied, the precise meaning of these petroglyphs remains a mystery. So it is left up to your own imagination to interpret the Hohokam story as they told it themselves through stars, moons, deer, bighorn sheep, buffalo, water, bows and arrows, and other human, animal and geometric forms.
Ride Time: 4 to 5 hours (6 hours if combined with the Native American Ruins Ride)
In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps; a New Deal work relief program for young men from unemployed families. One of their projects was the development of the popular picnic area and campsite at Seven Springs. On our Seven Springs Ride, you will follow Cave Creek, stop for lunch along the way, then end up at the Seven Springs site. This scenic journey is so breathtakingly beautiful that it is come to be known as our ooh and ahh ride.
Ride Time: All Day (about 6 hours)
During its 150-year lifespan, the Saguaro cactus can reach heights of 15 to 50 feet. Though it can take up to 75 years just to develop on side arm, not all Saguaros do so. In fact, 1 in 200,000 Saguaros develop a crested fan-shaped top. On our Crested Saguaro Ride you will see virtually hundreds of Saguaro Cactus in the Tonto National Forest, including what is believed to be the largest Crested Headed Saguaro Cactus in the world!
Ride Time: All Day (about 6 hours)
Minimum age to ride horseback at Spur Cross Stables is 6 years old.
Maximum weight is 235 up to 6 feet tall and 250 for the folks over 6 feet tall.
Directions: If you are using a GPS to locate us please note that we are out in the country and the GPS systems will often drop you a mile short. The pavement will end so continue to drive 1 mile on dirt road. The road will automatically go through a big wooden arch, and right as you drive through that we will be immediately on your right hand side.
Permitted with the:
Tonto National Forest-State of Az Trust Lands
Spur Cross Conservation / Maricopa County Parks
Town of Cave Creek
Scottsdale Sonoran Preserve
Every year, some of the wranglers and horses from Spur Cross Stables saddle up and head to Prescott for Camp Stein, a youth summer camp nestled in the beautiful Bradshaw Forest in Prescott. With beautiful weather and a lovely forest environment, this is the perfect setting for kids to beat the heat and get outdoors […]
Humans and horses have always been close companions, and although riding horses is one of the most exciting hobbies one can pick up, there is something even more profound that we gain from the experience. Last month, we talked about the therapeutic benefits horses provide for children. However, horses have some lessons that we can […]