Cave Creek Chiricahua-120
Cave Creek Canyon (East Side of Chiricahuas)
Although remote, Cave Creek Canyon's spectacular rock features, excellent birding, and paved road access make it a favorite with visitors. You can get here by taking AZ 80 northeast from Douglas for 51 miles or NM 80 south from I-10 for 28 miles, then turning west to the village of Portal at the mouth of the canyon. The road continues up along Cave Creek beneath vertical rock walls past campgrounds, vista points, and hiking trails. The Forest Service operates Cave Creek Visitor Information Center (1.9 miles upcanyon from Portal, 520/558-2221, about 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thurs.-Mon. from early April to Labor Day. Cave Creek Nature Trail makes a short loop across the road. For a bird's-eye view of the region, determined hikers ascend Silver Peak Trail #280, a strenuous climb of 3,000 feet over 4.6 miles one way to the 7,975-foot summit; the trailhead is just upcanyon from the information center. Bring a hat and lots of water—there's little shade—and avoid the trail if thunderstorms threaten.