This small streamside campground is located on the banks of Cave Creek at the end of the road that leads into Cave Creek Canyon. Nearby is a small dam built in 1935 (that has since filled in with sediment and debris). During construction of the dam, a worker named Herb Martyr was killed, hence the name of the dam and campground.
The campground is divided into two locations. One site is accessible from the upper of the two parking areas at Herb Martyr. Six other sites are located off a loop road that drops down toward the stream from the lower parking area. All sites are sheltered in the shade of oaks and other streamside trees. The upper site is on the banks of the stream, while the lower sites are on a bench above Cave Creek, which offers a good view of the waterfall formed by Herb Martyr Dam and some smaller natural cascades below it.
Birdwatching is excellent, and there are often seasonal wildflowers along the creek. Even if you don’t camp here you may want to pay a visit, since the drive to Herb Martyr features a good view of 365 foot high Winn Falls tumbling off Sanders Peak.
This area also serves as a trailhead for the Herb Martyr Trail and the Ash Spring Trail. The latter trail provides an excellent opportunity for a day hike loop that includes a couple of pleasant riparian areas, an old homestead site, and great views of Winn Falls (when it’s running). If you’ve got more time and energy, the Herb Martyr Trail leads to the Snowshed Trail and eventually to the Crest Trail.
Location: 150 miles east of Tucson, 7 miles southwest of Portal, 57 miles northeast of Douglas.
Access: 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 5 miles, turn left (west) on FR 42A and continue 2 miles to the campground. Roads are paved (except for the last 2 miles) and suitable for passenger vehicles.
Season: Open year-round
7 individual sites
Tables and fire grills
No drinking water.
Tent camping only.
Pack it in, pack it out.
Pack and saddle stock are not permitted in campground.