Area Status: Open

The South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon is renowned for its biodiversity, scenery and birdwatching opportunities.  Flooding in 2014 damaged the South Fork Picnic Area and a portion of the road inaccessible for visitors.  Those wishing to reach the beautiful South Fork Trail (provide link here) may still do so, but the site does not have picnic or restrooms amenities at this time.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Toilets,Parking
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Day-use only. No overnight camping. No trailers. Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in picnic area.
Closest Towns: 150 miles east of Tucson, 4.5 miles southwest of Portal.
Information Center: Douglas Ranger District 520-364-3468

General Information

Directions: 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 for 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 approximately 3 miles to the South Fork turnoff, turn left (south) and continue 1.5 miles to the picnic area. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Horse Camping

South Fork Trail #243

Horse Riding

South Fork Trail #243

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants


Parking: No Day-Use Fee
Toilets: Porta-Potty

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
5,300 feet