Cave Creek Canyon--John Hands CG

About this Location

A series of beautiful little cascades grace Cave Creek as it flows past John Hands Campground and Picnic Area, making this area popular for day use as well as camping. Tables and fire grills here are located in the shade of streamside trees well within view of the creek. This is not a large area and sites within it are relatively close together, clustered near the road that provides access to them. For that reason, camping at John Hands is limited to tents only.

This Cave Creek camp is a bit off the beaten path in this popular recreation area, but it is nevertheless close to a number of Forest trails and scenic drives. Birdwatching is good right in the campground, as well as along the creek both up and downstream. Coues white-tailed deer are plentiful in the area, too. The Southwestern Research Station of the American Museum of Natural History is located just downstream of John Hands Campground. The Center occasionally presents programs on natural history topics open to the public. Check at the Cave Creek Visitor Information Center for specific details on these programs.

150 miles east of Tucson, 6 miles southwest of Portal, 52 miles northeast of Douglas. 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, 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 for approximately 5 miles, turn left (west) on FR 42A, and continue 1 mile to the campground /picnic area.

Roads are paved (except for the last mile) and suitable for passenger vehicles.

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

Other recreation opportunities in the vicinity of John Hands include Greenhouse Trail, which provides the best views of spectacular Winn Falls. The Basin and Ash Spring trails offer relatively easy hikes in the vicinity of the campground.

Content from Official Website, Friends of Cave Creek Canyon Hiking webpage, Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, and Cave Creek Canyon webpage