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.

One of my favorite hikes in Arizona! Incredible!

Amazing! Loved hearing the frogs at night. A really special place in the desert

backpacking
5 months ago

Permit required. We only saw 4 people in the 3.5 hours we were there. The weather was perfect, the water was refreshing. Amazing Views.

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2016

backpacking
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Definitely spend the night and give yourself time to relax in the cool refreshing water.

backpacking
Thursday, March 24, 2016

hiking
Thursday, February 18, 2016

A permit is required for access to the canyon, and you will be entering the creek multiple times, so wear appropriate shoes. It gets colder in the canyon than the forecast for local towns, so plan accordingly. The canyon gets increasingly beautiful the further you hike, so I would recommend a 3-day backpacking trip. On day 1, hike in about 7 miles and set up camp. On day 2, leave your camp up and grab some snacks and a water filter for a day hike to the end of the canyon and back (8 miles). On the day 3, break down camp and head back out.

hiking
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I'm torn - do I be honest and leave a positive review, or do I lie and save this gem for myself? Okay, I'll stick with honesty: This spot is awesome. You'll be walking through the river several times, so bring appropriate shoes.

hiking
Monday, August 10, 2015

We only went in about 2.39 miles. We saw lots of animal tracks, blue heron and a huge white tail hawk. Super rocky, muddy water but what views! Like to explore again. Hot this time in August, so the water was cooling.

hiking
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

hiking
Saturday, May 09, 2015

Great place to see lots of wildlife up close.

hiking
Friday, January 24, 2014

One of my favorite hikes

hiking
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Beautiful area tucked away from everything! We were there on one of those lucky days when it was raining so the canyon was full and the waterfalls were all flowing. Great place fairly close to Phoenix, super backpacking and camping, we will be going back. The sign says they don't allow dogs kind of a bummer.

hiking
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wonderful adventure! Do it! Bighorn sheep, natural pools, great canyon scenery.