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4.4
244 votes

Cave Creek Regional Park

37900 E. Cave Creek Parkway, Cave Creek, Arizona 85331 USA

$
Budget
Open Now
Thu 6a-8p
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • Outdoor
    Seating
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“explore the sonoran”

Cave Creek was named for the small stream that rises in the hills to the northeast and flows southwesterly for 25 miles before reaching Paradise Valley. The stream, in turn, was named from a high, overhanging bluff along its west bank that forms a wide, open cavern about two miles north of the present day Cave Creek. People have taken shelter there for centuries. A bloody skirmish occurred within the cave between Apache Indians and U.S. Troops in 1873. Cave Creek Regional Park offers over 11-miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 0.2 miles to 5.8 miles and range in difficulty from easy to difficult. If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike the Slate Trail is recommended. If you are looking for a longer, more difficult hike, try the 5.8-mile Go John Trail. The trails within the Cave Creek Regional Park are very popular, with dramatic elevations and spectacular views of the surrounding plains. All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette. Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.​ Ancient Hohokam Indians stayed in the area from around 800 A.D. until 1400 A.D. Many reminders of their living in the area still remain. Stone huts, pit houses, terraced field and irrigation ditches were left behind. There are also many petroglyphs that were carved by the Indians. The Cave Creek area has a rich archeological foundation. Dozens of prehistoric sites have been discovered. However, many more remain undisturbed. During the 1400s, bands of Apache Indians began drifting into the area. Soon, the Apaches spread throughout the State. They brought with them different lifestyles than the Hohokams. Instead of farming, the Apaches lived by hunting, gathering, and raiding. The 1500s saw the arrival of Spanish explorers. The Spanish found the desert to be very inhospitable. On their maps, central Arizona was labeled as "deplobado" meaning, "desolate wilderness." Mining began to become a focal point in central Arizona history in 1863. The call "Gold in the Bradshaws" rang out. Fabulous rich gold outcroppings were found in high peaks such as Antelope Hill. In 1864, Henry Wickenburg uncovered the richest strike, the Vulture Mine. Miners were sure that the Aqua Fria River, New River, Cave Creek and the stream of the Tonto were also rich with gold. A few miners tried to find the treasures, but met the Apaches who ran them out of the area. The Tonto Apaches controlled the area, so for the time being, mining had to wait. Ranchers and farmers followed lured by reports of mild climate, plentiful water, tall timbers and lush grass. All of the reports failed to mention that hostile Indians surrounded the area. Of all the tribes in the area, the Tonto Apaches were the most feared. They ate animals they captured including horses, mules, oxen, and burros. The Tontos were highly mobile, unpredictable, and difficult to capture. Newcomers to the State appealed to the Federal Government for assistance. The Civil War was demanding the need for every soldier. Washington leaders decided they did not want to lose the potential gold production capabilities of Arizona. In 1863, Arizona was declared a new and separate territory, splitting off from the territory of New Mexico. A Governor was sent to Arizona along with a small force of troops to Fort Whipple in Prescott. In 1865, the army sent a small force of 300 volunteers from California to establish Fort McDowell. Fort McDowell was located 18 miles east of Cave Creek. One year after the Californians arrived, a regular army infantry unit settled into Fort McDowell. For 15 more years, skirmishes, ambushes, and bloody confrontations raged between the soldiers and the Tonto Apaches. On December 1, 1873, Lieutenant Walter S. Schuyler, of the 5th Cavalry, led a scouting expedition out of Fort McDowell that resulted in the first skirmish along Cave Creek. After weeks of searching for Indians, Lt. Schuyler and his troops found a band of Tontos held up on the West bank of Cave Creek. On Christmas morning the troops attacked the Tontos, killing 9, including one of the most fearless leaders named Nanotz. Just North of Cave Creek, the area of Bloody Basin was the site of a bitter skirmish on March 27, 1873. Army scouts trailed a group of Apaches to the top of Turret Peak. The scouts crept up the peak during the night. At dawn they captured or killed nearly all of the Apaches. The pressure on the Tonto Apaches began to have its effects. With the army destroying any discovered food storage areas, the Apaches were beginning to suffer. Hunger drove the Apaches to surrender. By 1877 about 5,000 Indians from various tribes shared the San Carlos Reservation. The Battle of Turret Peak proved to be a major turning point. The time of the Tonto Apaches along Cave Creek was over and a new era of mining was coming to Cave Creek.

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Reviews of Cave Creek Regional Park

32 people have reviewed this location

Ratings Summary

4.9 Access
4.7 Location
4.9 Cleanliness
4.6 Site Quality
4.5 Noise

Cell Coverage

Verizon 4G/5G

Confirmed by 15 users | Last reported on October 04, 2023

AT&T 4G

Confirmed by 7 users | Last reported on October 04, 2023

T-Mobile 4G

Confirmed by 4 users | Last reported on June 13, 2021

Reviews

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Reviewed by
Campendium

March 09, 2016
Rated

We lucked out with our site since it was the only one available. We were able to get level by backing all the way over the curb in the back of the site. Our sitting space in a gravel, sandy area was huge. Too bad they didn't extend the parking area a little further back. The park is very quiet and all sites have W/E with a wide paved parking area but a little short. There are two lengths posted when you make the reservation. Be aware that the longer length is for the total site including the sitting area which is over the curb. The parking area is the shorter number. The park doesn't mention the levelness of the sites. Several sites have an uphill section as part of the parking area. We saw a few Motorhomes that actually worked to get sideways into the parking part to get level. The pull in sites along the road would be the best for most motorhomes but they are right next to the road with no curbing to block RV. Each site is raked prior to your arrival and has a picnic table and fire ring. The bath houses are very nice with individual shower rooms. There are hiking trail that can be accessed right from the park. Some areas of the park have little to no cell service because of the hills. We had fair cell service with our booster. It did drop to 3G at times.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 3

Site Number: 26

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
3 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

December 18, 2016
Rated

Cave Creek, Carefree, and north Scottsdale have some of the best food and spa amenities in metro Phoenix, but very few places to camp in an RV, which is why we love this park. We can treat ourselves to amazing restaurants for the holidays or a special occasion without paying high-end hotel rates. The coyotes serenade at night. Hot air balloons launch in the early morning hours south of the park. Large, level site with grill, fire ring, and concrete picnic table. We used our rig's head and shower as we were camped away from the facilities. Great hiking trails, too. Go to the Visitors Center up the road and learn about this amazing area. Take a day to go hiking at nearby Spur Cross Conservation area in Cave Creek.

Or, stay away and leave this amazing park and location to us! LOL

NOTE: The area near the park (housing developments) has grown, so you will hear some traffic noise. But, this also means you have shopping nearby, including a Walmart (not overnight friendly).

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 7

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

February 27, 2017
Rated

We actually stayed in all three areas of this park: main, "old overflow", and the new true overflow area.

The main campsites are spacious and private with beautiful views. The accompanying showers are shabby- run down with tepid water spraying at you like a sand blaster.

The "old overflow" area is aptly named because that's where they used to have overflow. They've added actual sites with hook-ups, a new bath facility, and new landscaping. In fact, I watched a few workers wrestle with a heavy appearing cactus they were planting. I learned some new curse words.

The "new overflow" is just a few gravel pull off sites along a short access road to their grounds facilities. No frills. No nearby bathrooms. But hey, it's somewhere safe to park and you won't get that 3am knock to move.

The real gem of this park is the access to Cave Creek and all the surrounding restaurants and amenities. Don't miss Local Johnny's. They have a shocking draft beer selection and great food. I'd also suggest a salad from Oregano's- it will satisfy your lettuce intake for the next 2 weeks (it's that huge).

Overall, a good park in a great location!

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Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 4

Site Number: 48

4 Access
5 Location
4 Cleanliness
4 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

April 03, 2017
Rated

It's hard to go wrong with any of the state or county parks in the Phoenix/Tucson area, and Cave Creek was no exception. The park is very pretty, with lots of desert vegetation throughout. Our site was huge and very private, but you do need to be careful picking a site. There's one section of the campground that was previously group camping but is now available for regular reservations, and those sites are close together with little privacy. Also, while on satellite view many sites look long enough to handle big rigs, some of those have very steep slopes at the front of the site, making them unsuitable. Our back-in site was one of the most level we saw, and we needed to put wood blocks under our motorhome's front wheels before leveling. There are some great dog-friendly hiking trails in the park, including a trailhead inside the campground that leads to all the other trails. AT&T and Verizon both worked but were weak/slow. We set up our booster and then had great reception. The showers at Cave Creek are decent but could use some updating. First of all, although each bath house has two men's and two women's showers, one of each is handicapped accessible and has the shower head mounted permanently at about waist-height, making them unusable for the rest of us. All the showers have a single push-button that turns on the water for a minute or so, with no temperature adjustment. The water was usually (but not always) hot, but it would be nice to be able to adjust the temperature or pressure. The town of Cave Creek is a few miles away with restaurants and shopping. We enjoyed the park and would stay here again.

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Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 9

Site Number: -

5 Access
4 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

AT&T 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

November 10, 2017
Rated

We enjoyed our stay here. The sites are reasonably spaced with great views. Our site was on the inside of the loop with a perfect view of beautiful sunsets every evening. As mentioned many of the sites are not level and we had to use a few blocks to even it all out.

50 Amp service was great as it was hot! Each site has a fire pit, picnic table and plenty of room for parking a single truck/car.

Trails leave right from the camp site to hook up with the surrounding trail network. Beautiful views in the surrounding hills that can be reached via foot, mountain bike or horse.

Easy access into town for groceries and restaurants.

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Nightly Rate: $30.00

Days Stayed: 6

Site Number: 7

4 Access
4 Location
5 Cleanliness
4 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

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Reviewed by
Campendium

March 23, 2019
Rated

Overall, we have not been pleased with this campground. First, the camp hosts and park staff are not the most pleasant – not all, but the majority. It seems to reflect the general experience we had around the town as well. Second, the park is very noisy. There is a constant source of noise either from staff landscaping, the commercial jets coming in and out of Phoenix Airport, fighter jets and A10's from the nearby Air Force base, a nearby dog kennel, and the weekend we were here – the rodeo. I would not consider this a peaceful relaxing place.

During our stay we felt that we were under constant surveillance by the camp hosts and the staff. Upon arrival the park host advised use that we were adjacent to them and so we better behave. We were provided with a rather lengthy list of what we were not allowed to do at this park. Finally, I was admonished for having shown up a little after 12 noon when the check in wasn’t until 1 PM. Another park host appears to patrol on a UTV and keeps an eye on everyone. A third park host scolded us for allowing our daughter, who is five, to play in the grass and flowers directly out our front door without us being outside to supervise. We were parked in an area where there were no threats to her and we were just inside monitoring her while taking care of additional items. This all occurred within the first couple of hours of having checked in. Finally, we took our children to the nature center and the staff there treated us as though it were simply a problem that we were there at all and would prefer that we leave.

We will be leaving a day early and boondocking elsewhere.

The park itself is very beautiful, easily accessible, and the spaces are easy to access.

We experienced a maximum of 20 PSI water pressure. To correct this, I pumped water into the fresh tanks and then used our onboard pump to get the preferred 45 PSI.

However, the dump station needs a correction. There is a sign advising drivers they can not enter from the entrance side of the park. Instead, you must enter as if you are leaving the park. If you comply with this, it results in your rig facing downhill. In turn, if your tanks are forward of the drain pipe connector then the tanks will not completely drain. I found that I had to enter the dump station the “wrong” way to properly drain my tanks. I think the fact that there are signs and a rule about this is a little absurd - I know my rig better than the park staff and therefore can make a decision as to how to properly maintain it.

A note on the overall experience. This park, in my opinion, is not relaxing. It feels entirely too concerned with having and enforcing rules for every possibility. In turn, I feel that this park has lost its connection with the spirit of getting out on the road and enjoying America. Rules are certainly important. However, this park seems to frown upon the spirit of freedom that so many of us are seeking in our full-time RV lives.

We will not be returning to this park.

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Nightly Rate: $32.00

Days Stayed: 4

Site Number: -

5 Access
3 Location
5 Cleanliness
4 Site Quality
1 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

April 28, 2019
Rated

After spending 3 months in Mesa, we thoroughly enjoyed our relaxing stay at Cave Creek Park. The sites are well spaced which gives some privacy. Being that it is in the desert, you are not going to have alot of vegetation between sites for privacy, but you are far enough away from most neighbors. We were fortunate to have some vegetation, including a couple saguaro cactus to make it visually pleasing. Each site has water and electric. The pad and roads are paved and the site is small pea gravel, which is nicely raked by the wonderful camp hosts here. We talked to a couple of them and found them to be very gracious and friendly. The campground, as well as the park, was clean and free of litter. Restrooms were clean and in good order. There are some planes overhead but high enough not to be a nuisance. We hiked a couple trails and visited the nature center to see the rattlesnakes since we didn't see any on the trails. The park also has a horse riding concessionaire which was busy while we were here. Everyone looked to have a good time on their rides. We woke two mornings to the surprise of hot air balloons over the park. Really put the icing on the cake to a great time at this park where we relaxed.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $32.00

Days Stayed: 4

Site Number: 26

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
4 Noise

Cell Coverage Rating

Verizon 4G

AT&T 4G

Photo of Campendium

Reviewed by
Campendium

April 29, 2019
Rated

Enjoyed our overnight....Everything was easy...from online booking and friendly hosts during check in to easy access sites and clean facilities. Will stay again. Not kid friendly but we stayed with just the two of us and it gave us the peace and quiet we were looking for.

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This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $32.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 36

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

Reviewed by
randyport

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 09, 2019
Rated

This is a regional park (owned & operated ?) by Maricopa County, Phoenix, AZ. It was a very nice stay for the night of May 2, 2019, however, a bit warm depending on outside temps unless you are a native and enjoy the warm temps, as I am and do. We stayed here overnight on our way to a rally further north, happening over the next few days. As with AZ state parks, there were clean plumbed restrooms and a seperate entrance shower stall or two, per gender. Beautiful area within the Sonoran Desert with an astronomical amount of Saguaro cacti. Located about 8 miles east of I-17, there is no noise from the city or any traffic. The cost was 32 + 8 res fee = $40.00 total. A nice feature was the curbed elongated spaces, as they went further back, they also got wider, offering a wider area. And for dessert, check out the sunsets!

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randyport would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $40.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 19

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise
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Reviewed by
Campendium

May 28, 2019
Rated

I had driven several hours and needed to stop for the sake of my back. I’m so glad I chanced upon this campground in Cave Creek. The sites are cleaned and raked(!) between visitors. There is water and electricity, and several very clean bathhouses with hot water. The hosts and gate-keeper were very friendly and helpful. This is a very nice place — but too expensive for more than one night for me. Still, glad I got to shower, fill up on water, and dump tank before moving on to BLM.

Was this helpful?
This reviewer would stay here again

Nightly Rate: $32.00

Days Stayed: 1

Site Number: 10

5 Access
5 Location
5 Cleanliness
5 Site Quality
5 Noise

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Cave Creek Regional Park

37900 E. Cave Creek Parkway
Cave Creek, Arizona
85331 USA
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Hours

Open now until 8:00 pm
  • Sun - Thu: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri, Sat: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm

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  • Check
    Parking
  • Check
    Pets Allowed
  • Check
    Restrooms
  • Unknown
    Wifi
  • Unavailable
    Wheelchair Accessible
  • Unknown
    Credit Cards Accepted
Affiliation
Other public land (TVA, DOD, county parks with campgrounds)
Last Nightly Rate
32.0
Longest Vehicle Length Reported
42.0
Lowest Nightly Rate
5.0
Max Length
45 ft
Sites Count
38
Standard Tent Sites Count
38
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    Paved Sites
  • Unavailable
    Fifty Amp
  • Unavailable
    Full Hookup
  • Check
    Rec Facilities
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    Pull Through
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    Tent Sites
  • Check
    Dump Station
  • Check
    Big Rigs
  • Unavailable
    Open Seasonally
  • Unavailable
    Age Restricted
  • Unavailable
    Boondock
  • Unavailable
    Cabin Sites
  • Unavailable
    Dispersed Sites
  • Unavailable
    Firewood
  • Unavailable
    Fulltime Residents
  • Check
    Group Tent Sites
  • Unavailable
    Laundry
  • Unavailable
    Mobile Homes
  • Unavailable
    Permit Required
  • Unavailable
    Propane
  • Unavailable
    Public Water
  • Check
    Pull Through RV Sites
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    Reservations
  • Unavailable
    Sewer Hookup
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