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Cave Creek, Arizona

The Best Route Between Cave Creek and Carefree, Arizona

Arizona Bed and Breakfast

An unusual thing happened in Phoenix this fall -- it rained in October.  For two days, a Pacific storm brought gray clouds and periodically heavy rain; my potted plants on the patio and natural desert landscape on the property perked right up.  The ocotillos greened out and the creosote bushes began emitting their fragrant post-rain smell.  Fortunately, the weather broke as I drove north from Phoenix (and my day job) just in time to reveal a stunning double rainbow over the desert.

Magical views and vistas.   This dramatic vista renewed my appreciation of the beauty and culture found in central Arizona and the High Sonoran Desert communities.  Visitors returning from the Grand Canyon typically drive south from the Canyon to Flagstaff, and then from Flagstaff to Sky Harbor Airport in about 2.5 hours by taking the direct route I-17 south to I-10 east. The more rewarding path is to take the I-17 to the Carefree Highway east to Cave Creek Road north through the communities of Cave Creek and Carefree.  This route will reward you with the beauty of our High Sonoran Desert, full of lush ocotillos, saguaros and plant life surrounded by the Tonto National Forest.  The austere beauty of the area and the pristine high desert, offers a feeling of peace and oneness with the grand creator.  Upon arriving in Cave Creek you'll find an amazing selection of boutiques, restaurants, museums and galleries offering something for everyone.  A community like no other, this artists colony boasts a thriving gallery Mecca, a robust music scene, and a quaint Mexican Restaurant & Cantina called El Encanto, a walled complex complete with a pond full of  fish, turtles, swans, ducks and the occasional horned owl and blue heron which may stop by on their way to Spur Cross Conservation area.

The conservation area alone is enough reason alone to travel to the area.  The hiking trails at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area, 4.5 miles down Spur Cross Road from Cave Creek Road, will reward all hikers out for an easy trek, or a more arduous challenge.  Be sure to ask the ranger to give you a guided tour of the ancient petrogliphs and pictographs that are a "must see."  Horseback riding can be arranged at the Spur Cross Stables, or trailer your own in to explore the trails.  The plant life, incomparable views of the mountains and the pristine desert flora will absolutely knock your socks off...

As an innkeeper at Spur Cross Bed and Breakfast, I spend many wondrous afternoons on the patio, relaxing with a cool beverage while I watch the deep shadows play on the sides of the mountains and listen to the sounds of the birds calling out their songs, while jack rabbits and lizards explore the terrain.

If you can break loose from the magnetic charm of the Sonoran Mountain views, take Cave Creek Road into Carefree up to the Town Center where you can view the world's largest sundial.  If you've still got time left, consider the Desert Rose Teahouse where you can enjoy a cup of  Earl Grey tea and scones before you head back to the airport.

Is it the fastest way to return to the airport?  No, but it's the easiest way to fall in love with one of the world's most captivating high deserts. Sometimes, the best route between two points involves an endless supply of roadside attractions :)

Karen S. Friend


Hi there from sunny Brunswick Heads, Australia

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