Cave Creek Trail

Carefree, Arizona

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A desert day hike along a flowing stream. Along Cave Creek is a lovely riparian habitat with Fremont cottonwoods, ash, alder, walnut, and Arizona sycamores. This is a great birding area, especially in late spring and early summer. Once you leave the creek, the route enters typical Sonoran desert. Saguaro, cholla, ocatillo, and palo verde are common. On your way to the trailhead, just inside the forest boundary, is a halfmile side trip to Sears-Kay Ruin, the remains of a thousand-year-old Hohokam settlement. A self-guided tour includes signs explaining the site. Permit: Parking fee at Cave Creek Trailhead.

Cave Creek Trail Professional Review and Guide

"A desert day hike along a flowing stream. Along Cave Creek is a lovely riparian habitat with Fremont cottonwoods, ash, alder, walnut, and Arizona sycamores. This is a great birding area, especially in late spring and early summer.

Once you leave the creek, the route enters typical Sonoran desert. Saguaro, cholla, ocatillo, and palo verde are common. On your way to the trailhead, just inside the forest boundary, is a halfmile side trip to Sears-Kay Ruin, the remains of a thousand-year-old Hohokam settlement. A self-guided tour includes signs explaining the site. Permit: Parking fee at Cave Creek Trailhead."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Carefree
Distance: 10
Elevation Gain: 1,040 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 3,400 feet
Top Elevation: 4,000 feet
Local Contacts: Cave Creek Ranger District, Tonto National Forest
Local Maps: USGS New River Mesa, Humboldt Mountain; Tonto National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to Cave Creek Trail

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May 2018