Cave Creek Canyon--Herb Martyr CG

Birds of Interest

Though South Fork is known for its trogons, there are plenty of other interesting and rare creatures to encounter here. Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the Chiricahua Mountains, including the magnificent hummingbird, blue-throated hummingbird, and Montezuma quail. Other interesting types of wildlife frequently sighted here include Apache fox squirrels, coatimundis, and Coues white-tailed deer. The scenery is quite impressive in this area, too.

About this Location

The Herb Martyr trailhead, located near Herb Martyr campground, is one of the popular birdwatching and overall hiking areas in Cave Creek Canyon.

From Tucson, take I-10 east 139 miles to US-80 (you will cross the New Mexico border to get to this intersection). Turn right (south) and drive 28 miles, then turn right (west) on the road to Portal for 7 miles. From Douglas, take US 80 east approximately 50 miles to Rodeo, NM. Two miles past Rodeo, turn left (west) on Portal Road. From Portal drive west on Forest Road 42 approximately 8 miles to the Southwest Research Center, where you turn left on the Forest Service 42A road and continue 4 miles to the fork in the road. The right fork takes you to the trailhead, left fork to the campground.

About Cave Creek Canyon

See all hotspots at Cave Creek Canyon

Nestled in the Chiricahua Mountains of Southeastern Arizona, 150 miles east of Tucson and 50 miles north of Douglas, is Cave Creek Canyon, a hidden gem with spectacular cliffs, flowing streams, and an abundance of wildlife.

Endowed with magnificent scenery and unparalleled biodiversity, Cave Creek Canyon is truly a special place. Residents and visitors who want to help protect the area now have a chance to do so by joining, volunteering, or contributing to the Friends of Cave Creek Canyon.

As individuals and families, we work closely with Coronado National Forest to support its work and mission in Southeast Arizona. We seek to provide educational opportunities for area residents, visitors, school groups, scientific researchers, and others who cherish the special qualities of our region.

Researchers and scientists claim that Cave Creek Canyon has the richest diversity of wildlife in the U.S. Birding is fine here year-round and especially rewarding in the summer. Many interesting birds from south of the border can be found here in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Notable Trails

These trails lead from Herb Martyr Campground to a number of points of interest along the interface of the floor of Cave Creek Canyon and the steep slopes that rise to the high peaks of the Chiricahuas. From the campground they extend both north and south. The Ash Spring Trail leads north across Cima Creek with its riparian forest of sycamores, cypress and fir, to a picturesque old homestead site shaded by large ash trees and watered by a perennial spring. The riparian habitat bordering the stream and surrounding the spring provides good birdwatching, while Coues white-tailed deer, nearly tame from frequent contact with humans, are regularly seen in the area as well. Beyond Ash Spring, the trail continues to the old Greenhouse Road. Turning right, the road returns to the Herb Martyr Campground. South from Herb Martyr Campground, the Herb Martyr Trail crosses Cima Creek and follows Cave Creek toward the Chiricahua high country. The riparian vegetation along this stream provides good birdwatching close to the campground, but the trail actually only follows the stream for two short stretches. After leaving Cave Creek for the second time, Herb Martyr Trail begins one of the steepest climbs in the Chiricahuas to a junction with Snowshed Trail #246 just below Pine Park.

Content from Official Website, Friends of Cave Creek Canyon Hiking webpage, Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, Coronado National Forest-Ash Spring Trail #247A, and Cave Creek Canyon webpage