Agua Fria National Monument
Adjacent to rapidly expanding communities, the 71,000-acre Agua Fria National Monument is approximately 40 miles north of central Phoenix. The monument encompasses two mesas and the canyon of the Agua Fria River. Elevations range from 2,150 feet above sea level along the Agua Fria Canyon to about 4,600 feet in the northern hills. The diversity of vegetative communities, topographic features, and a dormant volcano decorates the landscape with a big rocky, basaltic plateau. This expansive mosaic of semi-desert area one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest.
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 may also be seen. Native fish exist in the Agua Fria River and its tributaries.
From the Badger Springs exit there is a maintained dirt road leading to the Badger Springs Trailhead. The Bloody Basin Road has a graded surface for the first five miles. Beyond that, a high-clearance vehicle is needed to travel the remainder of the road. Road conditions may change with the weather. Contact the monument office for latest road conditions.
Things to Do
Hiking is a popular activity at the monument. There are no developed trails. The terrain is very rough and rocky with steep cliffs, canyons and remote areas. Be prepared with plenty of water, supplies, and proper hiking equipment.
You can get to Badger Springs Trail by exiting Interstate 17 at the Badger Springs exit 256. Follow the gravel road for about a mile to the trailhead parking area. Badger Springs Trail follows an informal trail, the Badger Springs Wash, to the Agua Fria River.
There are no campgrounds in the monument. Dispersed/primitive camping is allowed on the monument. You may pick your own campsite, but please use existing hardened sites and protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from water sources. Learn more about camping on public lands. Be prepared and bring your own water for all your drinking and camping needs.
Archaeological Site Viewing
There are hundreds of archaeological sites in the Agua Fria. We recommend exploring Pueblo la Plata as well as a rock art site at the confluence of Badger Springs Wash and the Agua Fria River. Explore these sites, but leave artifacts as they are. Please help protect these prehistoric and historic sites as an important part of the nation’s heritage.
If you're visiting in summer, you should drink plenty of water because temperatures may exceed 110º F (43º C). We recommend wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Make sure your gas 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. Weather forecast
Flash floods caused by sudden storms can be dangerous in washes.
There are no first aid facilities on site. The nearest medical facilities are in north Phoenix.
The Agua Fria National Monument is located 40 miles north of Phoenix, AZ. It is easily accessed by traveling to Interstate 17 to the Badger Springs (exit 256), Bloody Basin Road (exit 259), or Cordes Junction exits.