Agua Fria Canyon
The Canyon

Rank: #20 Canyon Depth: 1,000 ft.
Rim Elevation: 3,600 ft. Stream Elevation: 2,600 ft.
Vegetation: Chaparral and riparian. Frequently Seen Animals: various birds, snakes.
Hiking Season: Late fall to early spring.  
The Trail
Name:  Difficulty: Easy, then difficult
Length of Hike (r/t): 12 miles Trail Elevation Change: 560 ft.
Trail Low Point: 2,600 ft.  Trail High Point: 3,160 ft.
Water: Agua Fria is a perennial stream that usually has nonpotable running water.  
Tips: This hike is within the new Agua Fria National Monument, one of five created in Arizona in 2000 by President Clinton. You may find some petroglyphs in the area. It is the closest AZ 20-20 hike to the Phoenix metropolitan area.  From the parking area and kiosk, head south-southeast down Badger Springs Wash following a flat, easy trail for about a half a mile. At the confluence with the Agua Fria River, turn right and follow informal trails downstream, passing Perry Tank Canyon on the left after about 4 miles. To get to the section that is 1,000 feet deep, continue about 2 more miles. Be forewarned that the trail can be slow going, with much boulder-hopping--use prudent judgment regarding when to turn around and head back. We do not recommend this hike in the summer, when temperatures can be dangerously high.
Hiking Permit Needed: None Maximum Group Size: None
Dogs Permitted: Yes, leashed Horses Permitted: Yes
Cross-country Skiing Permitted: Not applicable. Mountain Bikes Permitted: No
Swimming: Wading. Beware of submerged rocks at any swimming holes.  
Safety Tips: Beware of snakes, and be sure to pre-hydrate and bring plenty of water. This would be a good hike to bring an ace bandage along, in case someone turns an ankle among the rocks.
The Drive
General Location: North of Phoenix Trailhead Accessible to Low-Clearance Vehicles: Yes
Nearest Town: Black Canyon City  
Directions: Take the Badger Springs exit #256 on I-17 (between Black Canyon City and Cordes Junction). Turn right (east), following arrow markers along the main dirt road. Park at the obvious parking area, where a trailhead kiosk is planned.
More Information
U.S.G.S. Quad Name(s): Joe's Hill Office of Tourism Region: Central Territory
County: Yavapai Managing Agency: 21605 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027-2099
Ph. (623) 580-5500 
Fax (623) 580-5580
Web Site:

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