I don’t know what it is but there is something SO exciting about being in a cave! While there are a ton of amazing cave hikes in Arizona that I could talk about, today I wanted to talk about cave hikes in and near Phoenix.
If you’re looking for something adventurous to do outside of Phoenix, check out this article on 10-day trips from Phoenix!
If you want to know how to find these amazing cave hikes in and near Phoenix, what to expect on the trail, and where to park, keep reading!
>> Please respect nature by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Cave Hikes Near Phoenix
Wave Cave is a very popular hike in the Superstition Mountains!
Just 40 minutes outside of Phoenix this hike features cool rock formations, towering saguaro cacti, and of course, a giant cave that looks like a wave!
The trail to Wave Cave is easy to follow – just keep an eye out for white arrows painted on large rocks. The hike is a good workout that results in a steep climb to the mouth of the cave.
Once in Wave Cave, look out to where you came from and you’ll find a rock formation jutting out of the mountain in the shape of a wave! It makes for great photo opportunities!
Bonus hidden cave:
If you exit Wave Cave and go right until you’ve rounded the corner of the mountain, you’ll find a smaller cave! It doesn’t have a wave, but it makes for a great spot to hang out and enjoy the scenery if Wave Cave is busy with other hikers.
Distance: 3.2 miles
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation: 872 ft
Parking: The trailhead is down a dirt road and there is enough parking spaces for about 20 vehicles.
Just 40 minutes east of Phoenix, the hike to Broadway Cave offers great views of Apache Junction and is one of the best places to watch the sunset. It’s not a very well-known or popular trail so when you visit, you’re likely to have the whole cave to yourself!
The hike is pretty easy and relatively flat until you have to climb up to the cave. The ascent is fairly steep and rocky so good shoes is a must. But even the climb is enjoyable because you’ll find yourself surrounded by giant saguaros.
It’s important to note that the trail breaks off in lots of different directions so you need to pay close attention so you don’t get lost. At the trailhead, take Jacob’s Crosscut Trail and half a mile in at the first intersection, stay left on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. You should be able to see the cave from there!
At the mile mark, take a right behind the marker on to a slightly defined path. At the 1.5 mile mark, you’ll find a cairn (a large pile of rocks) – stay right and start your ascent to the cave!
Distance: 4 miles
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation: 1,000 ft
Parking: The trailhead is in a residential area that has a parking lot with room for 8 vehicles.
Cave hikes in Phoenix
Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park
Just 15 minutes from Phoenix, Papago Park features 1,500 acres of hiking and biking trails, lagoons, and picnic areas. That, and a rich history. From A.D. 1 to A.D. 1450, Hohokam Indians farmed the land in the Papago area, it was a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII, and for about 15 years starting in 1915, it was a National Monument.
Even though Hole-In-The-Rock isn’t much of a hike, it is aptly named (lol)! It’s a wild rock formation on the east side of Papago Park that overlooks the lagoon. It’s a popular place to watch the sunset, so expect crowds when you visit! While you’re at Papago, I recommend exploring the trails and the other side of the park. The rock formations are otherworldy!
Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback
Camelback Mountain is infamous in Phoenix and that offers incredible 360-degree views of the Valley. Before it was a popular hiking destination, it was used as a sacred site by the prehistoric Hohokam Culture in the 14th century.
There are two trails you can take to the top – the trail that features the hidden cave is Echo Canyon Trail. It’s important to note that this trial is rated extremely difficult and has claimed lives. Even without the extreme summer heat, this hike is very strenuous – at some parts, you have to use your hands to climb. As always, bring more water than you need, taking frequent breaks, and wear shoes with good grip.
The cave is located near the top (about 0.80 miles), at hiking post #20. The trail to the right takes you to the summit but the trail to the left, just past the “bees warning” sign takes you to the cave! Carefully walk around the cliff for about 15 seconds and you’ll find it!
Note: There are bees in the cave! Use your best judgment when exploring.
Overall, this hidden cave in Camelback is a great place to relax in the shade and take in the views of cacti and dreamy multi-million desert homes. Please remember that it was once a sacred sight and should still be respected – always leave no trace!
Distance: 1.14 miles (0.8 to the cave)
Trail type: Out and back
Difficulty: Extremely difficult
Elevation: 1,264 ft
Parking: There is plenty of parking at and near the trailhead.
I’m looking forward to exploring more caves in Arizona! If there are any you are wondering about, let me know in the comments below!