Sonoran Musings: Colossal Cave, a Southeast Gem

Submitted by K. McLin, Cohort 3, February 2023

If you are looking for great views, interesting geological sites, evidence of early inhabitants and nature’s bounty, than a trip to Colossal Cave and it’s riding stable area is the perfect venue.  There is ample parking, along with picnic tables and restrooms. There is no charge to park, hike or bird in and around the horse riding stable area. Surrounding the parking lot is an area filled with trees where the wash holds a bit of water and attracts many birds. There were 23 species in all that were observed the day I spent the morning birding there. Please see the collage below for my photos of Sparrows, Bluebirds, Bewick’s Wrens, Hermit Thrush, Butter Butts, Townsend’s Solitaires, a Red-Naped Sapsucker, Cardinals, Cooper’s, Gray and Red-tailed Hawks, and Rufous-backed and American Robins. 

While many people come to just visit Colossal Cave, there is also a wealth of other activities to enjoy here. Hikers and bicyclists trek along the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile National Scenic Trail through the state of Arizona, running from the border with Mexico up to the Utah state line. Ancient rocks bear evidence of native Americans hewing grinding stones for use in crushing grains and nuts. And, of course, the wildlife you might encounter and the diversity of bird life, where the desert meets the mountains, is grand. A new bird added to my life list, the Rufous-backed Robin, a Mexico-Pacific resident, was a thrilling find! Moreover, you can find white-tailed deer, javelina, desert tortoises, coatimundi,  harris antelope squirrels, coyote, bobcats, turkey and black vultures, all of which call this mountain and desert landscape home. 

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