Entertaining Day Trips to Carefree and Cave Creek

RodeoExperience the Old West

Nestled in the Sonoran Desert foothills of the Black Mountain 15 miles north of Scottsdale are two charming towns that draw visitors wishing to experience a bit of the Old West. There are no professional sports teams here. Instead, tourists can enjoy guided horseback riding, biking and hiking in desert and mountain terrains, hayrides, cookouts, ancient ruins, saloons, live music and theater, rodeos, great restaurants, art galleries, museums, golf, jewelry stores and southwestern specialty shops.


Cave Creek is located on the western boundary of Carefree and was established in the 1870s as a gold mining town. The residents are proud of their heritage, and local events maintain a wild-west flavor. The older buildings resemble structures from the gold rush era and add considerable character to the town. Carefree, on the other hand, is a planned upscale residential community created in the late 1950s. Today it is home to numerous restaurants, galleries, festivals and the Carefree Desert Garden, which is a public botanical garden that showcases beautiful specimens of indigenous flora.


Undeveloped land allows visitors the opportunity to appreciate the area’s natural beauty, and Cave Creek Regional Park achieves this goal with approximately 3,000 acres of verdant desert terrain. This park contains public bathrooms, picnic areas and numerous trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Spur Cross Ranch is another attractive municipal park with challenging trails that lead from the desert floor into the mountains of the Tonto National Forest. Spur Cross is spectacular in the spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. With almost 3 million acres, the Tonto National Forest is the fifth largest national park in the United States. The park contains both desert and mountains, and visitors enjoy hiking, riding and camping. Water activities include fishing, swimming, tubing and waterskiing in the park’s rivers and lakes.

Kierland Commons and Scottsdale QuarterActivities

Miles away from the congestion of big cities, the mountains and desert provide unique recreational activities. Adventurers can choose to race across the desert in an all-terrain-vehicle, glide high above the land or dive below the water to explore the lakes and rivers in scuba gear. Additional possibilities include hot air ballooning, skydiving, rock climbing and cattle drives. Golf courses and hiking, biking and equestrian trails offer varying degrees of difficulty, which allow participants to choose their own level of exertion.


Carefree and Cave Creek are home to a flourishing colony of artists, writers, actors and musicians who contribute to the inherent charm of the two towns. There is live entertainment available almost every night, and the Desert Foothills Theater presents shows throughout the year.

In summary, Carefree and Cave Creek are a 25-minute drive from North Scottsdale and offer visitors a unique experience. These towns have a little bit of everything. Come here for a drink and a show at an Old West saloon, watch a rodeo, participate in a cattle drive, browse the art galleries or shop in the unique boutiques. The choice is yours.

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Directions from our hotel