Open: Open all year Number of Sites: 12 Tents Allowed: Yes Dogs Allowed: Yes
About: Sunny Flat is a scenic campground situated along Cave Creek. Campsites are either under trees near the creek or across a meadow with great views of the rock formations along Cave Creek.
The campground has vault toilets, and water is available. Each site has natural or provided shade, grills and picnic tables. Some of the sites have tent pads. The access road crosses Cave Creek via a bridge and the road is paved. RVs up to 28 feet should have no problems accessing some of the sites. Cost was $10 per night. Maximum length of stay is 14 nights.
The Cave Creek area is a mecca for birders. It is one of the few places in the U.S. where the Elegant Trogon can be seen. Four habitat zones overlap in the Chiricahua mountains, which means there is great diversity in plant and animal species. Wildflowers and butterflies are abundant during the summer. Vista Point trail, is nearby. It is quite likely you will see Border Patrol activity in the area.
Fees: $10 (2011)
Restrooms: Vault Toilet
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, 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 Sunny Flat Campground. All roads are paved and suitable for passenger vehicles.
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Views, birds, wildflowers
There are less expensive places to camp along Cave Creek, but no other campground is as scenic as Sunny Flat. Bring binoculars. There is good birding just sitting in comfort in your campsite, and the views of the rock formations are spectacular. One warning: watch out for poison ivy.