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Best trails in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

186 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Description

As a prime example of the Southwest's desert country, narrow and twisting Aravaipa Canyon has few if any equals. It is a stretch of incredible scenic wonder, filled with biological treasures that have attracted enough human traffic to make overuse a problem since the 1960s. Aravaipa Creek, shaded by cottonwoods, has cut a trough up to 1,000 feet deep in the Galiuro Mountains, and the canyon walls are wondrously carved and painted in subtle sandy colors. The creek runs year-round from springs, seeps, and tributary streams, and along the water grows one of the lushest riparian habitats in southern Arizona. The main canyon's length is about 11 miles, and the Wilderness extends well beyond it to include surrounding tablelands and nine side canyons. Seven species of native desert trout may be found here, along with desert bighorn sheep, an extensive variety of large and small mammals and reptiles, and at least 238 species of birds. Caves and ledges provide habitat for 12 known species of bats. Solitude may be difficult to find in Aravaipa, and without an advance reservation you may not find yourself here at all. The attention is well deserved since you'll find few places in the state where canyon hiking is as spectacular. Although no trails are marked, a route follows a well-used path along the canyon, crossing through the creek several times. Most people rate the hiking as easy. The canyon grows so narrow in places that wading in the creek is the only option. Be prepared to encounter lightning storms, flash floods, and poisonous snakes, insects, and plants. Even though the high walls and water keep the canyon floor more humid than the surrounding desert, the summer heat can be extreme.

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Map of trails in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
Park information
Acreage:
19,410 acres
Helpful links
Top trails (3)
#1 - Aravaipa Canyon Trail
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(168)
Length: 9.6 mi • Est. 4 h 18 m
Note: You will need a permit to hike this trail. (recreation.gov) You will cross the little streams many times so choose your footwear accordingly.Show more
#2 - Aravaipa Canyon - East Entrance
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(12)
Length: 25 mi • Est. 10 h 56 m
#3 - Turkey Creek Trail
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(5)
Length: 4.6 mi • Est. 2 h 5 m
Requires no permit and a beautiful canyon for hiking. Turkey Creek--Aravaipa Canyon is about 4.6 miles long and located near Parsons Grove, Arizona. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 1-3 hours. Wonderful views, especially of one of the most intact cliff dwellings in the southeast part of the state. No permit required.Show more