Cave Creek Trail

Carefree, Arizona

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North of Phoenix, the low-lying, flat Valley of the Sun abruptly gives way to the foothills of the New River Mountains, a complex of mesas, canyons, Sonoran Desert peaks, and even some seasonal streams. This loop hike follows portions of Cave Creek, one such creek within the southern portion of the New River Mountains in the Tonto National Forest. Start on the Cave Creek Trail (Forest Trail 4), which follows the creek, crossing it a few times. After about 4 miles, turn left onto the Skunk Tank Trail. After another 5 miles, turn left onto Forest Trail 247 to return to the trailhead. Along Cave Creek is a lovely riparian habitat featuring Fremont cottonwood and Arizona sycamore. This is a great birding area, especially in late spring and early summer.

Cave Creek Trail Professional Review and Guide

"North of Phoenix, the low-lying, flat Valley of the Sun abruptly gives way to the foothills of the New River Mountains, a complex of mesas, canyons, Sonoran Desert peaks, and even some seasonal streams. This loop hike follows portions of Cave Creek, one such creek within the southern portion of the New River Mountains in the Tonto National Forest.

Start on the Cave Creek Trail (Forest Trail 4), which follows the creek, crossing it a few times. After about 4 miles, turn left onto the Skunk Tank Trail. After another 5 miles, turn left onto Forest Trail 247 to return to the trailhead. Along Cave Creek is a lovely riparian habitat featuring Fremont cottonwood and Arizona sycamore. This is a great birding area, especially in late spring and early summer."

Activity Type: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Carefree
Distance: 10
Elevation Gain: 1,040 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 6 hours
Season: Fall through spring
Local Contacts: Tonto National Forest Nearest town: Carefree
Local Maps: USGS New River Mesa and Humboldt Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Cave Creek Trail

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May 2018