Our mission is to inspire appreciation and understanding of the beauty, biodiversity and legacy of Cave Creek Canyon through volunteer work and outreach programs.

October-December 2022

Cover photos by Alice Wakefield

These last few months brought a wide range of weather to the Canyon. The monsoon season extended well into October and we saw the first snow of the season this week.

Forest Service Appreciation!

Local and visitors alike certainly appreciate the speedy repair and grading of the South Fork road after an especially generous monsoon storm made the road difficult for travel.

The photo by Lori Conrad shows the road before grading by the FS. Thank you!

In early November, Armando Arvizu of the USFS presented a sculpture and Certificate of Appreciation from the USDA as a Sky Island Stewardship Partner. We appreciate the gesture and the opportunities to work with the Forest Service.

Rick Taylor's new book

On November 5th, Rick Taylor attended a book-signing event at the VIC for his new book, Birds of Arizona.

Refurbished Trails: Silver Peak

By Rolf Koford

This is the first in a series of articles on trails in Cave Creek Canyon. Trails are a great way to experience the Canyon. Even in the best of times, though, hiking here can be challenging. Few of our trails have stretches where pine needles cushion your steps. Few are level. Hikers are never completely free to watch for wildlife and to take in the scenery; if you don’t have to watch your step to avoid sharp rocks, you have to keep an eye out for venomous snakes. The Silver Peak Trail would not be on anyone’s list of easy trails. Now, however, may be the best time in a long time to give it a try.

Earlier this year, trail maintenance was conducted by Wild Arizona with support from FOCCC, the Chiricahua Regional Council, and the U.S. Forest Service. The biggest improvement has been in the lower section, up to the first gate. The trail can be accessed at the trailhead (parking is free) or from the Visitor Information Center (parking lot gate is locked before 9 AM and after 3 PM). Instead of gullied-out sections where runoff and horses created multiple routes up the hill, which were difficult to navigate and negotiate, there are now clear switchbacks. In one steep section, hikers can now use rock steps—no more clambering. New trail has been added, lessening the overall grade up to the first gate; the distance to the first gate is now well over a mile. In several parts of the refurbished area, the surface is rock-free, making for easy (if slow) walking. Future rains will erode these sections, which is why now is a good time to enjoy them.

Beyond the first gate, where the trail used to be so narrow in places that hikers had to use extra caution, they can now throw caution to the winds. The views of Portal and beyond are as spectacular as ever. 

The second gate is a good destination (just under 2 miles from the trailhead) but the trail improvements continue well beyond there. As of early November, deadfall had been cleared from the entire trail. Inevitably, more dead trees will come down. If you see some, you can report them to the Visitor Information Center or to Dirk, Peter, Walter or me.

The last section of trail is as difficult as ever. A dozen or more switchbacks are needed for this ascent. The handrail-free steps to the foundation of the old fire lookout provide a final challenge. If you make it that far, you should find a new summit register in which to brag about your accomplishment. As motivation, consider this: In the ammo box containing the book is a picture of three local climbers at the top. Two were 80 years old at the time.

Willow Tank Refuge: We're still hoping the new water pump will be installed in the coming months to keep the water level up. This also provides water for fighting fires, using helicopters from the US Forest Service. Currently there is no other water source on this side of the Chiricahuas.

Photo by Alice Wakefield

Heritage Days was in September but here are some photos of the event.

Wildflower Walk with Dave Jasper

Photo Gallery

Fall colors along South Fork by Alice Wakefield

Visitor Information Center [The VIC!]
By Rolf Koford
The VIC depends on volunteers. Hosting is one way of volunteering, but there are numerous other ways you can help. Contact me to learn more. Thanks in advance.
Rolf Koford (520) 558-0038 or

Support Friends of Cave Creek Canyon

Lifetime Members

Linda Castor

Paula Baldwin

Jacqueline Foutz

Caryn George

Pi Irwin & Zsombor Zoltan

Mike Leuthold

Rae & Jin Ludke

Patricia Parran

Steve & Laura Paulson

Reed Peters

Thomas Roseman 

Rick & Joan Schneider

Delia Scholes

Lee Simpson & Howard Szczech

Denise Ward

Leslie & Bruce Weertman

Cecil Williams

David Zittin

Sustaining Members

Kirby Alguire

Tom Arny

Charles & Mary George

Bill & Sally Hague

Paul Hirt & Linda Jakse

Don Hollister

Fritz & Gayle Jandry

Patrick McNamara

Robin Meyer

Barbara Miller

Cecilia Raak

David Rorick

Andrew & Ellen Stepniewski

John & Linda Sumner

James & Judy Taylor

Jeff & Alice Wakefield

Friends of Cave Creek Canyon Board Members

Bob Ashley

Sheri Ashley

Geoff Bender

Rick Beno

Rene Donaldson

Rolf Koford

Pat Parran

Reed Peters

Kim Vacariu

Alice Wakefield

Cecil Williams

Help us thank our Business Members who have given generously to Friends of Cave Creek Canyon. Without their assistance, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goals. Click on the underlined names to check out their websites.    

Cable Publishing

Casa Petra Vera 

Chiricahua Desert Museum

Cornerstone Management

Daussin & Associates

Dave Perry   

OL' Morani Ranch 

Pindrop Travel Trailers

Quailway Cottage

Sky Island Rolfing  

Umphres Propane

Valley Vista Getaway

A.S.K. Pest Control 

Cave Creek Ranch 

Ed Newbold Wildlife Artist

Golden Ink

Lone Mountain Natives

Naturalist Journeys

Painted Pony

Portal Peak Store and Lodge 

Sky Islands Grill & Grocery  

The George Walker House     

Wynne Brown 


Would you or a friend like to submit and article for the FOCCC Newsletter? Our goal is to share information about current events in the Canyon.

Always include: your email, pictures w/credits (jpeg format) and text. We can't guarantee your article will be used but all submissions will be reviewed and considered. Remember to keep it relevant, timely, and brief.

Send your plain text article with photos attached via email to

Alice Wakefield, the Newsletter Editor.