A few weekends ago we headed up to the Cave Creek Trailhead to do a day hike in the Tonto National Forest. The temperatures in Phoenix were set to hit 100+ but we weren't interested in dealing with the Flagstaff to Phoenix traffic so we stayed semi-local. The drive still took 1.5 hours from our place in Phoenix, but we dealt with very little traffic and had near perfect weather for most the hike.
The Cave Creek Trailhead is located in the Seven Springs Recreation Area North East of the town of Carefree off FR 24. The drive is car friendly but a high clearance vehicle makes the dirt roads go by much faster. The trailhead has a campsite nearby, but don't get too excited about it. We ended up doing a 11 mile counter clockwise look that included Trail 4, Trail 247, Trail 246 and back to the lot on Trail 4. The loop has some climbing but nothing severe. There is water in Cave Creek along Trail 4. It should be noted that the junction from Trail 4 to Trail 247 is in a wash and is hard to find. Take you time and head upstream from where you leave the junction and you will find the trail headed up the opposite wall near the ranch property. If you are interested in checking out this loop, check out hikearizona.com for more info.
It was all fun and game till I nearly stepped on this friendly (thankfully) rattler. Sara and Rocco walked by it coiled on the trail and luckily it did nothing I was bringing up the rear and stepped an inch away from it, which then pissed it off. I was startled, let out a school girl quality scream and stepped back as slowly as I could. Definitely had the heart racing.
We lucked out with cloud cover for most the hike. We started at 6:30AM and the temp was 60 degrees, by the time we finished at 11:00AM the mercury was hitting 90 degrees. Be prepared for warm temps especially if you do the route clockwise. I would advise counterclockwise to avoid the dry, sun exposed areas during the warmer parts of the day.