The Agua Fria contains one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest, including Pueblo La Plata, a major settlement of stone masonry pueblos. In addition to the rich record of human history, the monument contains outstanding biological resources. The area is the home to coyotes, bobcats, antelope, mule deer, javelina, a variety of small mammals and songbirds. Eagles and other raptors are also a draw for birdwatchers. Hiking, viewing cultural sites, wildlife viewing, hunting (big game and upland game birds), scenic drives, and four-wheel driving are among the activities available on the monument. The elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 feet.
A desert grassland extends across an extensive mesa cut by canyon walls and the Agua Fria River.
Agua Fria National Monument is located 40 miles north of Phoenix. Get there by traveling on Interstate 17 to the Badger Springs (Exit 256), Bloody Basin Road (Exit 259), or Cordes Junction exits.
Things to Do
Pueblo la Plata showcases a major settlement of stone masonry pueblos. To visit la Plata, travel 8.3 miles on Bloody Basin Road from the entrance of the national monument. Turn north and follow the dirt road for approximately one mile. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. Limited parking is available. Walk to the site by following the rocky and uneven trail.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
Permits are required for organized events and visiting groups of 25 or more people.
The monument has no developed facilities. The terrain is rough and rocky – a high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle is required.
Camping and Lodging
There are no facilities within the monument. Undeveloped areas are available for camping with a 14 day limit. Local campgrounds and motels are located in the adjacent communities of Black Canyon City and Cordes Lakes.
Food and Supplies
Grocery and hardware stores, restaurants, and gas stations are located in the adjacent communities of Black Canyon City and Cordes Lakes.
The elevation of the monument ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 feet. Summer visitors must take extra precaution to drink plenty of water as temperatures may exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a large brimmed hat are recommended. Make sure your gasoline tank is full, carry additional water in your vehicle, and make sure your vehicle is in good condition.
The hot desert sun stirs up rattlesnakes and other reptiles as early as February. Summer is rough on visitors and recreationists must drink plenty of water. Flash floods caused by sudden storms can be dangerous in washes, so it is best to have a survival plan to prevent emergency situations. Contact the monument office for additional information.
There is no first-aid station on site. The nearest medical facilities are in north Phoenix.