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Agua Fria Tour
Grand Canyon NP
AZ Kart Racing
Agua Fria National Monument is a 72,300 acre preserve located about 40-miles north of Phoenix. It was created in the year 2000 by presidential decree.
The area is located on a high mesa semi-desert grassland, cut by the canyon of the Agua Fria River and other ribbons of valuable riparian forest, contributing to an outstanding biological resource. The diversity of vegetative communities, topographic features, and a dormant volcano decorates the landscape with a big rocky, basaltic plateau.
Depending on the season there are many venturing activities here. Hiking, viewing cultural sites, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hunting (big-game and upland game-bird), scenic drives, and four-wheel driving (off-road travel is not allowed) are just a sampling of activities you can enjoy.
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.
Native American Antiquities
Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblos containing more than 100 rooms each.
Petroglyphs are scattered across the numerous puebloan ruins, which were built between 1250 and 1450 A.D. when several thousand Native Americans, known as the Perry Mesa Tradition, inhabited the region. The petroglyphs depict animals, geometic figures and abstract symbols and are found by the thousands. Numerous ruins of agricultural terraces and irrigation devices indicate that farming was widespread during this period. Other historical entities that are found include 19th century mining features and Basque sheep camps.
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.
Wildlife & Nature
Situated between 2,150 feet and 4,600 feet in elevation, the monument is a blend of desert and semi-desert ecosystems. Reptiles and amphibians including the Leopard frog, the Garter snake, the Desert tortoise, can be seen in the monument. Mammals such as the Pronghorn, Mule deer, White-tail deer and Javelina are relatively common.
The elk (wapiti), black bears and Mountain lions are also found in the monument, but are much less common. Native fish including the Longfin dace, the Gila mountain sucker, Speckled dace, and three endangered native fish including the Gila chub, Gila Topminnow, and desert pupfish exist in the 129-mile (208 km)-long Agua Fria River and its tributaries.
A desert grassland extends across an extensive mesa cut by canyon walls and the Agua Fria River.
Bloody Basin Battlefield
Bloody Basin was the site of a bitter skirmish on March 27, 1873. Army scouts trailed a group of Apaches to the top of Turret Peak. Striking in the dark of night, by dawn they had captured or killed nearly all of the Apaches. Hunger finally drove the survivors to surrender. The time of the Tonto Apaches along the Bloody Basin area of the monument was over and a new era of mining was coming to the region. By 1877 about 5,000 Indians from various tribes shared the San Carlos Reservation.
Boy Scouts can earn special recognition for service performed at any one of our National Parks. Scouts are also encouraged to submit a short narrative to the BSA Good Turn for America website describing their participation and lessons learned. 5 hours service for the certificate, 10 hours for their cool patch.
Agua Fria National Monument
21605 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929; 623-580-5500;
Friends of Agua Fria
Agua Fria Trail Rides
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.
Popular High Adventure Treks for
Older Scouts / Youth Groups / Families
Spectacular Vacation Outtings - Prepare now for a really fun experience discovering hidden state natural treasures. View exotic terrain, nature & wildlife. Be hands on with a variety of exhilarating outdoor activities. Ideal for Summer Trips and Rugged Weekend Overnighters.
NOTICE: Removal or damage of any site, artifact, artifact fragment, or rock art can incur penalties under state law of 5 years in prison and a maximum $150,000 fine.
Please note that Southern Arizona is heavily visited in the summer (May-August) which makes getting reservations difficult. The best time to visit is March / April / September / October when there is beautiful weather and less competition for reservations. The nearest lodging is in Tucson.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. - Miss Piggy
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