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Cave Creek Regional Park

Although its namesake ironically bypasses the park, there are plenty of non-water activities available at Cave Creek Regional Park, located north of Phoenix – you can even rent a horse to take out on a guided ride! Originally the territory of the Hohokam, Animal O’odham, Yavapaiv Apache, and O’odham Jewed, it was established as a park in 1963. Comprising 2,922 acres, it is administered by Maricopa County Parks and Recreation.

The 10 Essentials

ACTIVITIES:

  • bird-watching
  • camping
  • equestrian
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • picnicking
  • scenic drive
  • stargazing
  • trail running

HIGHLIGHTS:

Horse rentals (Cave Creek Trailrides)

Archery instruction

Stargazing program

Multiple historic and prehistoric cultural sites

HABITAT:

Sonoran desert; saguaro / paloverde & desert wash communities. Elevation ranges from around 2,000′ – 3,060

AVAILABILITY:

Open year-round; 6a – 8p. Ideal seasons are late fall through spring. Check park website or call for current open hours.

AMENITIES:

Nature Center (8a – 4p daily)
Amphitheater (reservable)
15+ miles of multi-use trails rated easy to moderately-difficult
Equestrian staging area
1 full hookup campground with 55 reservable campsites with access to restrooms with hot showers
4 reservable group picnic ramadas with tables, grills, outlets, trash, water, fire pit
51 individual picnic sites with tables & grills
Restrooms in picnic areas & most trailheads
Playground
Classes, guided walks, and interpretive programming

PERMITS / FEES:

Park entry is $7/vehicle or annual passes are available for $85.
Hke / Bike / Equestrian entry is $2 or annual passes are available for $30.
Annual passes include access to all Maricopa County Parks.
Camping is $32 / night (not including group options); an $8 non-refundable reservation fee may apply.
Additional fee information can be found here.

SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS:

The park includes part of the Cave Creek Ecosystem Audubon Important Bird Area.
The 315-mile Maricopa Trail passes through the park.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Kid-friendly
Dog-friendly (must be leashed and licensed)
ADA: Some facilities are accessible.
Transit: N/A

NEAREST SERVICES:

Cave Creek and Carefree are full-service towns.

HEADS-UP!

Risks include: heat-related disorders, exposure, flash flooding, rattlesnakes, numerous species of spiny cacti.. do NOT hug the teddy bear cholla!
Fire bans are in effect seasonally; gas stoves and grills are not allowed when there is an ‘extreme fire ban.’
Fires are not allowed anywhere outside of designated places.

Flora & Fauna

Despite its relatively small area, a broad diversity of plant and animal species make Cave Creek home, including:

  • Lucy’s warbler
  • Desert lavender
  • Gila monster
  • Giant millipedes
  • Bell’s vireo
  • Catclaw
  • Sonoran desert tortoise
  • Desert hackberry
  • Wind scorpions
  • Elf owl

Explore the park from the maricopa trail

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