Papago Park and Cave Creek – Arizona – February 13 and 14, 2016

I did two hikes last weekend: one at Papago Park in the City of Phoenix and the other in Cave Creek, Arizona. Papago Park is located about 10-15 minutes from my apartment in Phoenix and Cave Creek is about 1 hour from my apartment, accounting for roadwork and traffic on the way there. The trails in the City of Phoenix get really crowded on weekends and I purposefully left my schedule open on Sunday so that I could get away from the crowds. Papago Park was a quick 2 mile hike that I did on Saturday morning and the Cave Creek hike was about 10 miles, which I did on Sunday. I’ve wanted to visit Papago Park for a while because the rock formations consist of sandstone and appear a bit redder and rounder than other mountains in the area. The author of my hiking guide, Charles Liu, says that Papago is like the Central Park of Phoenix because it is like an “oasis amid the sprawling city.” The park is flanked by the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix Zoo, and a golf course. The landscape around the park has beautiful Sonoran desert environment with ponds and lush greenery at the zoo and golf course. The Cave Creek Trail in Tonto National Forest is fairly close to the City but you have to take several miles of dirt road to get to the trailhead. The Cave Creek Trail was recommended¬† to me from a colleague, both of these hikes were in my hiking guide, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Phoenix by Charles Liu.

Sunrise at Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona
A curve-billed thrasher singing in the parking lot at Papago Park
Amphitheater adjacent to East McDowell Road at Papago Park
View from Skunk Tank Trail in Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek, Arizona


Crescent milkvetch in bloom along the Cave Creek Trail, Tonto National Forest
California poppy in bloom on a grassy hillside on the Skunk Tank Trail, Tonto National Forest

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