The Carefree Cave Creek area is a nature lover’s paradise. You can take jeep tours through the desert landscape and visit an old fashioned 1883 gold mine, or take in the view from a hot air balloon soaring over the desert floor. For more adventurous types rent a 4-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle and explore miles of back country roads on your own.
Arts & Entertainment
The beauty of the natural environment in the Carefree / Cave Creek area inspires artists, musicians and writers. The two towns are committed to promoting the arts with festivals, public art installations and art galleries. Many artists live in the community and they have been joined by a significant number of fine art galleries. The galleries rival, and some say surpass, the galleries in Scottsdale and Sedona, for the quality and diversity of the art shown, and for the artists’ regional and national reputations.
The Carefree Cave Creek area is quickly becoming a valley favorite for all types of live entertainment featuring a very diverse variety of acts and events from which to choose. With nearly a dozen venues offering live entertainment several nights per week, Cave Creek’s entertainment district is red hot. All genres of music from original country to pop cover bands and jazz are featured. In addition to music, other live entertainment includes live bull riding, rodeo events, western dance lessons, stand-up comedians, concerts, car shows and live theater.
In the scenic Sonoran Desert Foothills, Carefree and Cave Creek are two of Arizona’s most distinctive towns. Small town charm combined with friendly locals and more than 300 days per year of glorious sunshine make the area perfect for enjoying every type of activity, year round.
Both towns offer a choice of several world-class golf courses, situated among some of the most beautiful desert landscapes you will ever see. Public courses include the beautiful Rancho Manana Golf Club, boasting some of the state’s most breathtaking views, along with Dove Valley Ranch and Legend Trails Golf Club. Private courses feature the popular Tatum Ranch Golf Club and other well-known spectacular places such as Desert Forest Golf Club, and The Boulders.
The Cave Creek Regional Park protects roughly 3,000 acres of extremely lush Sonoran Desert just north of the Phoenix city limits. The steep and very rocky slopes offer excellent habitat for cacti, desert trees, and many other plants. Wildlife is common at the park. Birdlife is especially abundant, ranging from tiny hummingbirds to hawks. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and picnicking are favorite activities.
Cave Creek’s historic Spur Cross Ranch, a former guest ranch that was established in the 1920s, was once a welcoming destination for visitors from all over the world. Today, its more than 2,154-acre expanse offers avid outdoorsmen and women a gateway into the Tonto National Forest’s scenic network of paths. Now a conservation area, Spur Cross contains fascinating archaeology sites and lush riparian areas along Cave Creek, which flows throughout the winter months. This area is a must see for all wildflower lovers in the spring.
Gateway Desert Awareness Park is a native habitat park right in the heart of Cave Creek. A nature trail with labeled plants, natural history center, a children’s playground and shade ramadas with grills make this an excellent picnic and play area for families.
Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding
The Cave Creek / Carefree area offers a variety of trails for exploring on foot, bicycles and horseback. There are excellent trails through Cave Creek Park that range from short and easy to somewhat difficult. The most popular and challenging is the 4.8-mile Go John Trail, which is amenable to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Guided trail rides through the park on horseback are available from late autumn through the spring. Rangers provide a variety of free, guided hikes and activities for visitors of all ages throughout the year.
Spur Cross has a number of trails from a flat wide path crisscrossing the stream to a hike up into the mountains of Skull Mesa. Many of these beautiful trails are open to mountain bikers and horseback riders. Seven Springs Recreation Area has been a popular destination since the early 1900’s. Extensive hiking trails lead from the desert floor to changes in higher elevations. A lovely picnic site under large sycamore trees along the creek is an inviting drive, and the Civilian Conservation Corps tables and stone walls are still in use today.
Hayrides, cowboy cookouts, guided horseback rides and other entertainment are provided at MacDonald’s Ranch just south of town. Horseback riding and bike rentals are both available in Cave Creek.
Fishing and Boating
There are three lakes with swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing within a half hour drive of Carefree and Cave Creek. Fifteen miles east of Carefree are Bartlett and Horseshoe Lakes. Bartlett has picnic tables with shade and restroom facilities. There is a beach, swimming, fishing and boating at either location. About fifteen miles west is Lake Pleasant, a large lake with lots of amenities. The Tonto National forest borders the area on the north and east with its untouched desert beauty.