We stayed three days at Cave Creek Ranch.
This lovely place is NOT for the person who demands perfection in architecture, bright lights, big city things to do. Don't bring your RV, either.
For the birder, the hiker or just a quiet place in a remote corner of Arizona, it's perfect.
I've been birding for thirty years and bagged seven new life list birds within minutes of arrival. My husband, who's only been birding for three, got 17. Is that incentive enough?
Cave Creek is a tidy little collection of stone cottages/suites alongside the eponymous creek. It's lined with sycamores and pines. In your back window are towering sandstone cliffs that are climbable. The ranch is just inside the Coronado National Forest. It's said that the Apaches hid out here from the US Government. If so, it would have taken a battalion just to dig them out of the canyons.
Reed Peters is the manager, and he does a fine job. The suites are cozy, clean, and quiet. As always seems to be the case with places such as this, the kitchen utensils are a bit odd...none of the pots I used had matching lids. The oven had a wierd, WIERD set of range controls...you had Simmer, then 6 5 4 3 2 Hot. The range totally ignored these controls and ran High or Simmer. I never did figure out if 6 was Low or High.
But that's okay.
My suite, number 4, was clean and had a large fireplace that we toasted our toes in front of every evening. There was also an air conditioner (we didn't use it because it was 29 degrees when we were there) and a gas furnace. That's the only complaint I have about the suite..the furnace was LOUD and blew air right atop our heads when we were in bed.
Don't freak when you go into the suite we had. The floor is.......well, not level. Cave Creek rose up in fury a couple years ago and ripped off the entire building. They repaired it but it's still a crooked floor.
But does it matter, really? Not to us. I didn't go there to admire buildings. Iwent for birds and they were everywhere. Reed provided bird feed and we watched bridled titmouses and even a coatimundi eating from the feeder. In front of the main office, there's a large feeding area. We bagged Mexican jays, acorn woodpeckers, two species of hummingbirds, and a painted redstart. Cardinals, four types of juncos (for me, it was three...I'm a lumper, not a splitter) and curve billed thrashers were common.
The white tailed deer and the peccaries keep it cleaned up. My husband got a picture of a peccary jumping into the air trying to get to a bird feeder!
Do not attempt to go to Paradise if the road is at all wet. (It's an old mining town up the hill from the ranch). We had a rented SUV and hit gumbo at the turn in the road next to the cemetary. I was driving and got us out, but it was dicey.
Cell phones do NOT work there.
You can use Reed's network connection for your internet, but only during his open hours of 9-12 and 4-6.
But you're not going there for the internet. You're going for the incredible peace and quiet, the birds, the lovely creek alongside.
Be careful, though. Be wary of UDA's ("undocumented aliens). They've been burglarizing homes in the canyon. Illegal aliens and drug smugglers have discovered this way into the US and have been using it a lot lately. The Border Patrol is everywhere there. They're good folks and I was glad to see them. I felt a lot safer knowing the BP was on the job. they told us that if we saw illegals, to not bother them, but to call 911. How to do that when you're cell didn't work? well I dunno, but that's okay. We didn't go far and Reed has a landline phone.
There is no gas station in Portal. There's a small store that sells essentials. The young man running it was very knowledgeable about the area.
Rodeo is the nearest "town". No fuel there, either. They have a few groceries in their store and a great little restaurant. They will cook just about anything you want. There is also a laundry not far from the restaurant that was VERY clean and cheap.
Right at the junction of the highway and the road into the canyon there is a Desert Wildlife museum. It's great! They have a fabulous collection of live reptiles, all very healthy and well kept. There's also a lot of curios/stuff to buy.
We will probably go back someday.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
30 August 2010
Hello, thank you for reviewing your stay at Cave Creek Ranch. I had a couple of updates and clarifications which might help a potential guest as he or she decides where to stay. The floor is now level in Apt 4, where you stayed. We removed the concrete slab this summer, which had cracked, poured a new one, and have a new ceramic tile floor.
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The internet connection is on all of the time, and the signal is available on the front porch where there is also a power outlet and seating. So if the office is closed, the connection is still there.
There had been a spate of burglaries in Portal by UDAs last fall, but the Border Patrol caught the perpetrators in December and we hope that is a thing of the past.
There usually is gas available in Rodeo, NM (11 miles away) at the Rodeo RV Park, but sometimes they run out. I recommend to our guests that they try to arrive with a full tank by filling up in Willcox, Douglas, or Lordsburg on their way here.
Thank you again for your review.
Reed Peters, owner and manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC