The scenic landscape of Cave Creek extends beyond its lush streamside preserves and wildlife corridors.
Hidden throughout the area’s 12 preserves, ancient petroglyphs, million-year-old rock formations and historic cemeteries lend a glimpse into the town’s history.
To help people experience that history, the Desert Foothill Land Trust is sponsoring 12 educational guided hikes to four of Cave Creek and Carefree’s preserves.
On the hikes, experienced guides conduct trailside discussions about the area’s wildlife habitats and geological history.
In addition, this October the land trust will celebrate migration season on two special birdwatching hikes.
“During migratory season, birds use areas like the Jewel of the Creek preserve as stopover routes,” said Thom Hulen conservation director of the land trust. “About 150 different species have been identified at that preserve.”
Hikes are limited to between 20 and 30 participants and reservations are required. Hikers should meet at the Land Trust, 7518 E. Elbow Bend Road in Carefree on the day of the scheduled hike. Call (480) 488-6131 or visit www.dflt.org for more information.
As fall approaches and birds begin to migrate to the Valley, Cave Creek’s streamside preserves transform into a bird-watcher’s paradise. Hundreds of species use the riparian areas as fueling stations during their fall journey. Hikers can experience the lush landscapes of both the Jewel of the Creek and P.A. Seitts Preserves and learn more about some of the feathered inhabitants on two guided hikes this fall.
WHEN: 7 a.m. Oct. 7 and 8 a.m. Oct. 21
INFO: The hikes range from fairly easy to moderate and there is a $5 cost for breakfast.
TREK TO THE CAVE
Primitive rock art chipped and painted on the walls of a 100-foot rock shelter in Cave Creek lends a glimpse to the town’s prehistoric history. And through a guided trek to an area known as the Cave, hikers can learn more about the town’s archaeological namesake. It’s a rare opportunity for residents because hikes are only led a few times a year because the preserve is on private land, limiting access. WHEN: 8 a.m. Oct. 14, 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4 and 9 a.m. Nov. 25. INFO: Moderate incline.
TREK TO THE JEWEL
Cave Creek’s Jewel of the Creek Preserve holds one of the last remaining perennial streams in Maricopa County. The unusual yearround presence of water creates a lush riparian area home to a variety of plant and animal species. Hikers can learn more about the flora and fauna on four guided hikes to the area. WHEN: 8 a.m. Oct. 7, 8 a.m. Oct. 28, 9:30 a.m. Nov. 18, 10 a.m. Dec. 9 and 10 a.m. Dec. 30. INFO: Fairly easy.
The remnants of some of Cave Creek’s historic sites, including a prehistoric Hohokam canal and the town’s first cemetery, remain on the P.A. Seitts Preserve. On a guided hike through the area, hikers can experience the mountainous desert landscape and learn more about historic Cave Creek. WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11, 10 a.m. Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. Dec. 16. INFO: Moderate incline.