Cave Creek is a recreational-resort community that offers a pleasant blend of the older historical theme of Cave Creek. Nestled in the Arizona desert foothills, directly north of Scottsdale and approximately 15 miles northeast of Phoenix. Cave Creek, which was settled in the late 1870’s, became a booming mining camp during the 1880’s and incorporated in 1986. Next door is Carefree, a newer community established in the late 1950’s as a planned community and incorporated in 1984.
The residential area has a heavy emphasis on resort-style living. Tourism contributes largely to the area economy. A substantial number of retail and commercial establishments serve the residents of the communities. The Cave Creek community so embroidered into the surrounding landscape that it is difficult to determine where one begins and the other ends. Much of the natural scenery is spectacular, with massive piles of granite boulders, sharp mountains and an abundance of desert growth that thrives at this 2,200- to 2,700-foot altitude. Because of the low-density development, residents share the area with deer, bobcats, cardinals, coyotes, javelina, coveys of quail and an occasional mountain lion. The area’s man-made attractions include many unique homes perched on the mountains. There is also the Spanish Village shopping center, modeled after a village in old Spain.
The Carefree Inn and Conference Center serve the growing tourist industry. These facilities are renowned for the Carefree Sundial, the largest and most accurate in the Western Hemisphere; the huge Kachina doll at Tonto Hills, east of Carefree; Frontier Town, a recreation of an Old West town, the Cave Creek Museum, and an eclectic assortment of shops, bars, and restaurants. Scenic drives abound in the area. Black Mountain looms over the foothills from any vantage point. The Tonto National Forest borders the area on two sides with its untouched desert beauty. The Sonoran desert south of Carefree, along Scottsdale Road, offers a wide variety of plant life and color. The best way to enjoy the “backcountry” is on foot, horseback, or jeep tour. Nearby lakes at Bartlett Dam, Carl Pleasant Dam, and the Verde River provide scenic areas for all water sports including swimming, boating, water skiing, tubing, and fishing.
The Tonto National Forest borders the town to the north and east. It is a unique town with tall saguaro cactus, mountains circling the area and large piles of boulders placed formations, that will make visitors marvel at nature’s work. It is 30 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix in the North Valley. Cave Creek covers 25.5 square miles.
Cave Creek is a desert community hosting spectacular views, native plants and wildlife. It began as a mining camp and has grown to a popular place for tourists, artists, and celebrities alike to visit and live. Visitors will get a taste of the Old West by roaming the rustic shops and sampling the cowboy restaurants lining the main street. Today Cave Creek has a population of 3,255. The town sits at an elevation of 2,500 feet. The climate is on the average eight degrees cooler than the Valley of Phoenix. The summer high temperature is 100 degrees and the winter low temperature is 40 degrees. Cave Creek has a way of blending its old west history, along with its small-town charm, in such a way that you will want to make a return visit.
There are several attractions in Cave Creek. The Cave Creek Museum is a great stop to learn about Arizona’s history. There is an Indian wing and a Pioneer wing that hold many artifacts highlighting these two important influences in Arizona’s history. The Cave Creek Mistress Mine is a fun place to go for both the young and old alike. Here you will learn about the minerals that so many miners were in search of to strike it rich. You can even try your hand at panning for gold.
One great outdoor activity is the Cave Creek Recreational Area. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to choose from hiking, camping and picnicking. It is just a short mile and a half drive from town.
Annual Fiesta Days April
Annual Fireworks Extravaganza July
Oktober West Fest October
Gold was discovered in 1848 and the rush was on to get to California. A wagon road was established in 1865 through this section to help those traveling to the west. The road passed this way because of the natural water supply in the area. The army also used it to travel between Fort McDowell and Fort Whipple.
In 1874, William Rowe located gold on Gold Hill northeast of Cave Creek. The Cave Creek Mistress Mine came into being and the town became more popular.
Then in 1877, Jeriah Wood chose Cave Creek to establish a cattle ranch. Wood’s home along the wagon road became known as the Cave Creek Station. He also opened a post office and called it Overton. Later on, the first stamp mill opened nearby at the Golden Star Mine.
By the 1880’s, Andrew Jackson Hoskin took over Cave Creek Station. Hoskin cleared the land and began growing crops. He used the plentiful water supply to irrigate his crops. Others decided to come and try their hand at both mining and ranching. In 1886, the town needed a one-room schoolhouse. It was also during this time, that the Phoenix Mine became a big mine and included the largest 100-stamp mill in Arizona. However, this was short lived and the mine eventually closed.
James D. Houck showed up in 1900 to become a successful sheep-shearing rancher. He bought Cave Creek Station and built a store. There was regular stage service to Phoenix. Things began to change. In 1908, the Tonto National Forest was established and new water regulations were set in place. These regulations made it difficult for ranchers and their livestock. Soon ranchers began to leave and eventually the school closed.
It wasn’t until 1928 when the land south of Black Mountain near Cave Creek opened for homesteading that the area received an influx of people. The school reopened in 1930. Then in 1935 when the construction of Bartlett Dam began, the town experienced another growth spurt and again in 1940, with the building of the Horseshoe Dam.
In 1943, Andrew Dahlstream bought Cave Creek Station. He used it as his winter home. Many others also decided to live in the area. In 1952, Scottsdale Road was extended to Cave Creek Road and more people chose Cave Creek as their home. In 1986 Cave Creek was incorporated. Today, visitors will see wonderful desert views; discover the town’s rich history and experience the relaxed atmosphere Cave Creek has to offer.
Things to Do
Visit Bartlett Lake
Bartlett Lake is the closest lake to the Phoenix area on the Verde River. It is 22 miles east of Carefree. To get to Bartlett Lake from Carefree, Arizona, take State Road 223 east 22 miles. Upper Bartlett Lake, Rattlesnake, and South Cove recreation sites provide areas for camping with trailers, picnicking, fishing and boating and are open year-round. Trailers longer than 16 feet are not recommended. The Jojoba Boating Site provides a paved launching ramp, except during low water levels. A new marina facility, which will provide a variety of services, is being constructed at this reservoir.
Fishing at Bartlett can produce largemouth and small mouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie. The road to Bartlett is paved.
Cave Creek Golf Courses
You can experience amazing views and a great game of golf in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Golfers in Cave Creek take advantage of this one of a kind experience every day. It is time for you to sample the warm sunshine and witness spectacular desert mountain views. Come to Cave Creek, Arizona and play a round of golf!
The following is a long list of golf courses available in and around Cave Creek. These courses provide golfers with course challenges and opportunities to practice. Cave Creek area golf courses are a golfer’s dream that has come true!
Boulders Golf Club – Private/Resort
34636 North Tom Darlington Drive
Carefree, AZ 85377
Cave Creek Golf Course – Public
15202 North 19th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85023
Dove Valley Ranch Golf Course – Public
33244 North Black Mountain Parkway
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Rancho Manana Golf Club – Semi-Private
5734 East Rancho Manana Boulevard
Cave Creek, Arizona 85331
Tatum Ranch Golf Club – Private
29888 North Tatum Ranch Drive
Cave Creek, Arizona 85331