I don’t know about you, but I have completely lost track of days. Mom’s schedule doesn’t require her to teach fitness classes, so we are out adventuring more. No rest days for me, but I’m not complaining one bit! Dad is still going into work, so I believe this was a weekend adventure since he joined us. Sue McDaniel once again gave us a great recommendation, so we headed over toward Cave Creek.
We stayed on North Cave Creek Road and past the Bartlett Lake turn off. About 3 miles past that on your right is the Blue Wash trailhead parking lot that has access to Camp Creek Falls. The address is: 43168, 42800 N Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331. Parking is free but it fills up fast. I think only 12 or so vehicles can fit, so many people were parking along the road. We got there just as someone was leaving, so we got lucky. You will see designated dirt areas to the side of the road that are safe for parking. Dogs are, of course, welcome but on leash.
Before I get started, I want to share my disappointed in humans. We have never, ever seen so much dog poop on a trail in our entire lives. We have been all around adventuring in many states, and this was disgusting. Mom says a bunch of city folks aren’t working right now and have zero respect for nature and others. Come on people! Right is right, and picking up your dog’s poop is the right thing to do. Period. The trailhead does not have a garbage can, so you will have to pack it out. So what? How hard is that? Enough said…
Camp Creek Falls is part of an old mining community, and back in the day, off-road vehicles could drive in to the falls. Once again, humans disrespected nature, destroying terrain for others to enjoy, so they closed it down. Now, the only way in is either a 12-mile in and out from the Tonto Forest or an easier route from the Blue Wash trailhead. This route is heavily trafficked because it is shorter, and we did see a ton of people…and poop. I already mentioned that, didn’t I?
From the parking lot, cross over the metal bar and follow the trail. You actually hike down on the front part of this 1.3-mile trail to the falls. The views were spectacular! Dad said the pollution is gone since most people are working from home. We could see for miles and miles! The wildflowers were still out, and the grasses tall. Temperatures were perfect with a little cloud cover.
The trail becomes somewhat of a wash, and you follow it down until you come to a “Y.” If you head left, you will be on the easier of two options. The right is slightly steeper with more rocks while the left is more of a road. Good thing because it was like rush-hour traffic! Crazy. I did get to say hello to many of my kind, at least in passing. Most people were good about allowing space, but again, some city slickers were clueless. If you feel like you get off the trail, don’t worry. All routes eventually lead to the creek.
I started to smell the water underneath us. The Blue Wash was dry on the surface and to the human eye, but my keen sense of smell knows the water is running underground. It is that wash that leads you to Camp Creek. The water was flowing, and I had a quick dip. You will know you have arrived to the creek when you see the American Flag. It is the site of an old mine, for what we don’t know.
Right before the creek is a left turn (look for the pile of rocks marking the trail) and you take that to the falls. Follow the creek and stay on the left side of it for about ¼ of a mile. The trail is narrow and rocky at this point. You will come to some boulders and will hear the falls at this point. Be careful on the rocks as they are slick and wet. Some might want a hiking pole to assist here. Very small dogs might need a lift to get up some of the rocks. Water runs almost all year long, and humans and dogs alike were enjoying the refreshing water.
We took some pictures, but in all honesty, it was too noisy for us. We headed back to the creek and found a quiet spot to have a snack. You see, being out in nature for us means soaking it up: sounds, sights, and smells. Some humans don’t know how to be alone and quiet. If we let it, nature will fill us up and renew our spirits.
Hiking back out means going uphill. It is steep but short. Again, if you stay on the wide road path, it will be easier. The trail that spins off to the left is narrow and steep, but it was quieter. This was a nice find, but I would recommend going on a weekday if possible due to weekend crowds. Because it is short and has the reward of water, I think this trail is good all year long. Enjoy!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!