Jewel of the Creek Preserve – a Real Gem!

Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Hiking Adventures, Kids Blog | One Comment

After our previous experience at Cave Creek Regional Park in Arizona, we headed to Jewel of the Creek Preserve in Cave Creek.  Although a small park in comparison to many, the features are worth a visit.

Jewel of the Creek is off Spur Creek Road, which offers a smooth ride to reach until the last mile, when it becomes bone-jarring and very roughly unpaved.  (Jewel of the Creek is just a ½ mile shy of the Spur Cross Conservation area that requires a fee, just up the road through an arch.)

Jewel of the Creek Preserve

Jewel of the Creek Preserve, entrance to a gem of a setting

There are only a few spots for parking, since the area is remote.  Walk through the gate and you will encounter a flat path for about the first 500 feet.  After that, you will really want some sturdy shoes/boots and a hiking pole or two, as there is a steady drop with quite rocky, loose gravel underfoot.  Look back and see the saguaro and scenery, but watch your footing!

Jewel of the Creek - flat at first, but not for long

Scenery from the trail - Saguaro. prickly pear, and mountains

A steep and rocky section of the path - you would be going both up and down this section to get to the creek.

Take the path down and around in a kind of arc, passing some rocky sections and keep going until you get to the creek, which is in a shaded area.  Hurrah! Shade!

The creek with cattails - rare features in Arizona

And, the area is not mis-named. There is a creek that has water year round and the wildlife and plant life that appreciate having water.

Two 2 by 4s are attached to form a very small bridge, but you can just stay where you are.  I was eager to get photos of a gorgeous midnight blue butterfly, so I kept moving around until I was fortunate enough to get a good shot.  My husband thought my efforts were hilarious and thought I’d wind up in the creek. (It is shallow, so I was not worried.)

Butterflies enjoy the shade and greenery, too

And, amazingly enough, the water has the only cattails growing naturally that we’ve seen in Arizona.

Although this is not a whole day’s adventure, it is worth a visit if you are in the area.  Figure on about a 40-minute round trip – or longer if you want to chase butterflies!

There is no fee to visit.

Want to know about more hikes in the area? Read “A Carefree Experience” – a recounting of our trip to Carefree in October of 2011.

  • Sonia Perillo

    We’re so glad you enjoyed the Jewel of the Creek Preserve! Desert Foothills Land Trust is a nonprofit organization working to conserve this beautiful landscape. We offer a number of free guided hikes in the spring and fall – we post them on our website and in our e-newsletter. We don’t lead hikes in the summer, but I’m sure you can find some other hiking gems if you’re able to join us in the fall. Couch potatoes are welcome!