Try a guided sundown horseback ride with Spur Cross Stable: Wranglers take you into the hills and arroyos of the nearby Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, where there are more than 2,100 acres of preserved desert. From $35, reservations required; 44029 N. Spur Cross Rd.; horsebackarizona.com.
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2. Feel like a cowboy
Catch a professional bull-riding competition or two-step to a country-western band at Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse, which has its own rodeo arena. $; bullriding competitions Fri nights, free to watch; free live music and dancing Sat–Sun nights; 6811 E. Cave Creek Rd.; buffalochipsaloon.com.
3. Eat native
At Tonto Bar & Grill at Rancho Mañana (a historic dude ranch), pictured, try the chips and a trio of salsas made with beans, squash, and corn, then go for the grilled buffalo served with Arizona pecan quinoa. $$$; 5736 E. Rancho Mañana Blvd.; 480/4880698.
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4. Soak in the local culture
Cave Creek Museum provides a living history of the area, including the town’s first church (a tiny 1940s clapboard build- ing that’s still used for weddings) and the 1920s cabins that were occupied by tubercular patients coming West for the cure―all the original furnishings remain. $3; 6140 E. Skyline Dr.; cavecreekmuseum.com.
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5. Shop for regional treasures
You’ll need time to absorb all the home furnishings crammed into the buildings and patios that make up the Town Dump, a Cave Creek shopping institution for more than three decades. Inch your way past Mexican patio pots, bleached cow skulls, rawhide drums, and even a faux Egyptian sarcophagus. Easy-to-pack choices include tin light-switch plates and luminarias. 6820 E. Cave Creek Rd.; 480/488-9047.