Hike to 10 Caves in the Phoenix Area

I bet you haven’t heard of all of them. You may have already hiked past one of them without even noticing.

There is something special about finding a cave on a hike. Protection, shade, cool photo ops, imagining who has used this cave before, bats. . . okay, just kidding, no bats here. Except maybe Broadway Cave. Just sayin’.

Wave Cave

Best for the epic photo op

All right, let’s get this one out of the way up front. Everyone knows about the Wave Cave. Its popularity has exploded in recent years, and the forest service eventually made it an official trail.

The stats
3.0 miles
871 feet elevation gain

The full report
Wave Cave

View from inside Shaka Cave Superstition Wilderness

Shaka Cave

Best for avoiding crowds at Wave Cave

If it’s a weekend or holiday, and the piles of cars at the trailhead have you shaking your head, you can visit its less popular neighbor, Shaka Cave. As a bonus, you can also check out the Dacite Mine.

The stats
2.4 miles
459 feet elevation gain

The full report
Shaka Cave (and a Mineshaft)

Broadway Cave

Best for a nighttime adventure

One of the easiest caves to access in the Superstition Wilderness, this cave has a nice city view that would make a great nighttime adventure. You just have to try to ignore the smell and the graffiti (and the bats).

The stats
3.8 miles
960 feet elevation gain

The full report
Broadway Cave

Broadway Cave Arizona
A cave in Rhyodacite Canyon

Rhyodacite Cave

Best for the really adventurous

This cave will require a river crossing, bushwhacking, and off-trail hiking to get to it. No, not for you? I don’t blame you. When we visited, it had evidence of someone sleeping there, including questionable reading material. Hmm.

The stats
7.4 miles
1709 feet

The full report
Rhyodacite Canyon

Geronimo Cave

Best for an alternative to Peralta Trail

Hiking Peralta to see Weaver’s Needle? Why not take an alternate route back on the Cave Trail and visit Geronimo Cave? If you’re extra adventurous, go around the backside and find “Cochise’s Cave,” as we called it after stumbling upon it while lost. You’re on your own for that one.

The stats
3.4 miles
1297 feet elevation gain

The full report
Robber’s Roost (3 ways) (the red route)

Geronimo Trail Superstition Mountains
Secret cave on Echo Canyon Trail Camelback Mountain

Camelback Cave

Best for solitude on Camelback Mountain

So, you’ve hiked the Echo Canyon Trail a million times, but you never saw the cave? I know, me too. Look for it at a saddle on the way down that has a sign warning of bees.

The stats
3.0 miles
1440 feet elevation gain

The full report
Camelback Mountain (exact location not disclosed)

Lost Ranch Mine

Best for historical significance and bonus finds

Not technically a cave, but this mine shaft is still a fun place to find on South Mountain, and it’s kind of a two-for-one since there is another opening. While you’re at it, visit the Lost Ranch Ruins.

The stats
5.1 miles
1371 feet elevation gain (for the whole loop)

The full report
Lost Ranch Loop

Lost Ranch Mine
Monument Canyon abandoned mine

Monument Mine

Best for getting off the beaten path

Also not technically a cave, this mine was dug by a German miner who once tried to make his fortune there. The remains of his home are nearby and can be visited on the way.

The stats
4.0 miles
729 feet elevation gain

The full report
Monument Canyon

Wind Cave

Best for people who don’t like caves

If you’ve ever hiked to Wind Cave, you may wonder why they call it a cave at all. This one is kind of a let down as far as caves go, but the hike and views are nice. We visited it hiking Pass Mountain Ridgeline, but you can hike directly to it from Usery Mountain Park for a much shorter hike.

The stats
7.7 miles (2.9 if you start in Usery Mtn Park)
2155 feet elevation gain (807 from Usery Mtn Park)

The full report
Pass Mountain Ridgeline

Pass Mountain Ridgeline at Usery Mountain Park
Graffiti Cave

Graffiti Cave

Best for treasure hunters

Unfortunately, I can’t give you the location for this one. It’s a multi-room rock grotto covered in graffiti, which is normally horrible, but for some reason here it seems weirdly cool. (No, we do not condone any type of graffiti.) The observant and determined might be able to find this, but please keep it special by keeping it on the down low.

Do you have another cave to add to our list? Leave us a comment below!

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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