Adjacent to rapidly expanding communities, the 70,900-acre Agua Fria National Monument is approximately 40 miles north of central Phoenix. 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. The Agua Fria river canyon cuts through this plateau exposing precambrian rock along the canyon walls. Elevations range from 2,150 feet above sea level along the Agua Fria Canyon to about 4,600 feet in the northern hills. This expansive mosaic of semi-desert area, cut by ribbons of valuable riparian forest, offers 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 such as the longfin dace, the Gila mountain sucker, the Gila chub, and the speckled dace, exist in the Agua Fria River and its tributaries.

Close to Anthem and recommended for beginners

Gates off the highway are locked. If you want access you will have to park on the outside and walk in from the highway.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice scenic trail, a little to easy for my liking but I did enjoy it. The pools didn't have alot of water but there still was some in the pools further back. This was one of the trails on my list and glad I got a chance to do it!

It's a beautiful area. Great scenery in the high desert. It's difficult to stay on an actual trail on this hike however. It kinda intertwined with the wash/river. If there was a lot of water in the wash/river we wouldn't have been able to go all the way down to the petroglyphs or swimming areas.

We did not believe we would find water when we were standing at the trailhead, but we did! Easy hike in, our three year old walked it and loved playing in the pools. Saw 7 people total. It seems we were a couple of weeks late as the creek is no longer flowing. Pools are not stagnant yet.

Easy hike and different then most because of the spring. Well worth the trip and bring a picnic lunch!

hiking
8 months ago

Saw only two Sauarros.