|Chiricahua National Monument|
The Chiricahua Mountain Range is an inactive volcanic range 20 miles wide and 40 miles long. At the northern end of the range is an extraordinary area of striking geological features and enormous biodiversity. Tucked deep into these steep, forested valleys and beneath the craggy peaks are the rem...
Cave Creek Canyon
|Description: While out of the way, this site is well worth the effort for avid birders and wildlife watchers. Cave Creek Canyon has some of the richest diversity of wildlife in the United States. The approach from the east through Portal provides striking views of the most scenic, breathtaking canyon in southeastern Arizona. This area is internationally known for its hundreds of bird species due to the influences of the Chihuahuan Desert, subtropical habitats of Mexico, and mountain habitats of North America. In Cave Creek you’ll find spectacular cliffs, caves, and peaks, a lush riparian forest, world class birding, unique wildlife, and recreational amenities. The cliffs of Cave Creek Canyon come into view well before you arrive.|
Wildlife to Watch: Because of the wide diversity of birds (many considered Arizona specialty birds) and other wildlife in a relatively small area, this is a popular location for local, regional, and international birders. This is the best location in the U.S. to find elegant trogons and to hear a good variety of owls and nightjars.
Birds include the Arizona woodpecker, Mexican jay, plumbeous, Hutton’s, and Bell’s vireos, summer, hepatic, and western tanagers, black-headed grosbeak, bridled titmouse, Scott’s and hooded orioles, and Montezuma quail.. A wide range of warblers, such as Grace’s, yellow, Lucy’s, painted redstart, Virginia’s, and black-throated gray warblers, can be seen, as well as hummingbirds such as broad-billed, blue-throated, lucifer, magnificent, violet-crowned, black-chinned, broad-tailed, and rufous hummingbirds. Various flycatchers can be seen, including brown-crested, dusky-capped, ash-throated, and sulphur-bellied flycatchers. The site also has an impressive variety of owls, including elf, whiskered screech, western screech, northern (mountain) pygmy, flammulated, Mexican spotted, and great horned owls.
Mammals include white-tailed deer, Mexican fox squirrel, javelina, coatimundi, hooded, spotted, hog-nosed, and striped skunks, and numerous species of bats. Reptiles include Clark’s and Yarrow’s spiny lizards, black-tailed rattlesnake, the stunningly patterned rock rattlesnake, and Arizona’s unique green ratsnake. The site also has a tremendous variety of invertebrates, including many species found nowhere else in the world.
Special Tips: The South Fork Zoological Botanical Area is set aside for wildlife study and viewing, and the Cave Creek Visitor Center provides interpretive information.
Other Activities: The site has several trails with varying lengths and difficulty, including some with small stream crossings. There is a short dirt trail to a scenic vista between Stewart Campground and South Fork Road.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Size: 25 acres
Closest Town: Portal
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: