Life in Carefree

Town of Cave Creek Arizona

Horseback Riding Photo in Cave Creek AZ
Cave Creek Arizona Creative Commons

Many centuries ago, from about 1100 to the mid 1400s, the ancient Hohokam Indians lived on this land. They mysteriously disappeared, but the aura of these early inhabitants still remain. The tall Saguaros that dot the landscape are probably the same statuesque guardians that existed back then. The granite boulders stacked elegantly on the mountain sides are millions upon millions of years old and no doubt Hohokam families once sat upon these boulders witnessing the same beauty that still exists today.

If only we could go back in time. Sit with them and watch as evening shadows cascaded upon the surrounding mountains. A kaleidoscope of colors brought by springtime wildflowers. Gorgeous sunsets with silhouettes of the Saguaros. It must have been magnificent. But those same views exist today in Cave Creek, Arizona. The only thing missing are the secrets of many centuries ago.

The Next Settlers of Cave Creek

In the 1870s gold fever attracted prospectors seeking the riches that were hidden in the hills. Ranchers came with cowboys that rounded- up cattle. Remnants of mines and camps still remain, some near the ancient petroglyphs left by the ancient Hohokam people. Some of the residents of Cave Creek are descendants of these early settlers. Most of the ranches are now gone. Old mining claims are barren.

The spot today known as Frontier Town is the original land where the settlement that would become the center of Cave Creek was created. A camp was created there as living quarters for workers that constructed Bartlett and Horseshoe Dams beginning in 1935. Saloons were built in the camp to occupy idle time. Miners and cowboys would join the dam workers for nights of drinking, dancing, gambling and likely some bawdy activity.

The Beginning of Cave Creek

The dams were completed. Not much gold was found in the hills. Most of the miners and dam workers moved on to other places. The camp property was sold and became a guest ranch and bed and breakfast. It was later to become Frontier Town, a combination theme town and a collection of saloons, gift shops, and restaurants. While a few old west buildings were kept, most the buildings are replicas from days gone by. Wooden walkways, hitching posts, old wagons and dusty paths are now an attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Cave Creek Arizona Today

Things have grown up along Cave Creek Road. But the flavor, attitude and look of the old west still lives on in Cave Creek. Rustic buildings that house historical restaurants, saloons and antique shops abound. Annual events like Fiesta Days and the Rodeo Parade are designed to sustain the days of the old frontier.

If horses and wide-open spaces is you're thing, you will be right at home in Cave Creek AZ. Bounded by Black Mountain and Elephant Butte and protected preserves, there are horse stables that take visitors on trail rides throughout the area. Although it has grown, Cave Creek is still proud of its rich western heritage and despite growth, it has maintained its frontier character and small town charm.

But don't assume that Cave Creek is backward. It is only a hop, skip and a jump to the thriving cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale. It has lush golf courses and world-class resorts all around. But you won't find clumps of orange tile roofs here. Most homes are custom-built in a fashion that blends into the desert landscape.

You'll find all types of residents, visitors and vacationers in Cave Creek AZ. It's not unusual to see ritzy cars, RVs, old trucks and motorcycles parked next to hitched-up horses in front of saloons, restaurants and art galleries. Cave Creek's next door neighbor is the more affluent Carefree, Arizona and the two towns are often discussed as one and the same with both sets of residents patronizing both business districts, attractions and eating establishments.

If you're desiring to live in a place that is quiet and away from the urban environment, Cave Creek may be the place for you. Small town ambiance with a more tranquil experience, yet under 30 miles from the amenities of the big cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale AZ.

This page was last modified on 22 February 2012 at 11:01
Cave Creek, Arizona