Aravaipa Canyon Trail

MODERATE 115 reviews

Aravaipa Canyon Trail is a 9.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near San Manuel, Arizona that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 9.6 miles Elevation Gain: 649 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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.

hiking
8 days ago

Started hiking from the confluence of Turkey Creek and Aravaipa Creek. The final 1.5 miles of “4x4 recommended” road was possible in a car with some medium clearance and all wheel drive. There were about 7 creek crossings and it was still doable even with elevated base flow from recent rains. Nice fall colors! Some spots past prime with lots of leaves on ground. Yet many cottonwoods were still yellow-green. Only saw a few side canyons but they all had flow once you got a little way into the canyon. This water was a lot less turbid than Aravaipa and better for pumping.

hiking
18 days ago

After recent rain the water flow was about 18 to 24 inches deep. The fall colors made for additional beauty. Getting to the canyon walls made it even more spectacular. Need to do this hike again.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

A favorite. A group of us go every year and what a beautiful and amazing place to just let go.

hiking
1 month ago

Yesterday was my 1st trip to Aravaipa Canyon and it definitely made an amazing 1st impression!.. lots of brush and foliage to make your way thru and LOTS of water!.. I was expecting water but not quite to this extent.. in a lot of areas the water covered from side to side and you had no choice but to walk they the water.. so be sure to bring a pair of dry shoes and socks for when you get back to your vehicle!.. there is SOOO much to see that we were only able to do half the trail in one day.. we will definitely be back but will probably camp a night or two so we can see more!..

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful remote area of intimate beauty. We backpacked to Horse Camp and used that as home base two nights, walking out the third day. Our party of 5 had the whole place practically to ourselves. Exploring side canyons was fun. We didn’t see much wildlife beyond the occasional deer. Bring mosquito spray and a BLM permit. Hang your food. While we didn’t see a bear, we saw his scat. Aravaipa is a wonderful place to relax, go off grid and recharge.

hiking
muddy
washed out
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful walking in the creek. Slippery at times. Wear a sock that comes over the ankles because you get tons of sand in your shoes and socks if they’re the no show kind. It was pretty shady most of the time.

hiking
muddy
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Perfect day to hike. Creek flowing well, no more than calf deep. Water not crystal clear, just a bit cloudy. Turned around early due to rain forecast and wanting to be cautious of flash flooding. Beautiful!

backpacking
bugs
muddy
off trail
2 months ago

Very pretty canyon! There is no “trail” just walk in the creek or along the sides. Trekking poles very helpful for all the creek crossings, especially in areas with stronger currants. It’s very hot in the summer, so perhaps better for cooler months. I got eaten alive even with bug spray and repellent bracelets, so definitely bring very strong bug spray & reapply often. Saw coatimundi, wild turkeys, owls, a peacock and deer plus mountain lion and bear tracks. Good camping at horse camp. I’d wear trail runners versus keens as less sand and rocks get in there. We hiked approx 16 miles following this route, so just keep in mind that it’ll be longer if you plan on setting up camp at horse camp.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

The river was muddy and looked liked chocolate from rains the night before. The current was also stronger than usual. Our two day plan turned into 6 hours because we couldn’t find clean water to filter, then it started raining. I love Aravaipa but not enough to get stuck in there with a flash flood.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

When the BLM says be aware of bears in Aravapai Canyon, they aren't kidding. A black bear visited us at least twice last night. We also had deer stop by, lots of bats that would hop/crawl around the ground, and sooo many spiders. No cowboy camping here! 2 of 6 in our group used trekking poles which I found helpful to navigate the rocks and balance. Neoprene socks and/or gaiters are also great to help save your feet from the rocks and sand. I wore Columbia Havasu Creek trail runners and everyone else wore Altras. We were in and out of the water and all was below my knees (5'5 tall). There are footpaths along the sides but be prepared to scramble and bushwhack. Beautiful area for a backpacking trip! The road to the west entrance is very well maintained and graded for all types of vehicles. Note: Advance permit required and the info here is for the WEST entrance near Winkleman off Highway 77 and E Aravaipa Rd. The east entrance is much harder to get to and typically requires a 4x4 vehicle.

hiking
5 months ago

It's a beautiful piece of desert paradise. Gorgeous scenery, breath taking wildlife, and the water tastes okay, lol. We camped out 2 nights and 3 days. We saw a whole group of Coatimundis the second day. An amazing experience over all. I do recommend bug repellent for an extended stay though. I lost my boots the first day, and was forced to use water shoes the whole 3 days. to whomever that found my boots and left them at the trail head, if you are out there, THANK YOU!☺️ we found them on the last day there, next time I will tie them onto a more secure fixture on my pack. I will definitely return if givin the chance!

backpacking
bugs
rocky
5 months ago

From EAST entrance (Klondyke rd/via Wilcox, AZ): this terrain was VERY GREEN and lush. Constantly in the water, sometimes knee deep! but don't fret, it is refreshing. backpacked in from the wilderness boundary. The scenery changes roughly at mile 4, from green tall grass & trees, to more desert and cactus. We camped on a green pasture, some ways past Pisano Canyon. Did not make it to Horse Camp area as we learned it's more than 6.5 miles from the start of the boundary. Bring a filter system to make your packs lighter!

hiking
5 months ago

So we drove an hour and a half to get here and then 12 miles over a dirt road to get to trailhead. Looked beautiful and we were psyched only to find out you have to have a permit to hike here. The ranger station was closed and you can only get a permit online. So we didn’t hike the trail. Would have been nice to read this in the description!!!

6 months ago

Just be aware this is the west entrance. Aravaipa Rd./Primitive Rd.in San Manuel, Az. We didn't realized until we arrived there, and look at the map posted in the trailhead. East entrance is Aravaipa rd./klondyke rd. in Winkelman,Az

hiking
6 months ago

Loved walking through water. Pretty shallow. Never up to the knee. Canyon seems to start about a mile in.

hiking
7 months ago

Be sure to wear the right shoes or expect to walk barefoot through the stream a lot!

hiking
8 months ago

Darrel, Barry, Karen, Valerie, Sharon, Kurt, Terry

hiking
9 months ago

The primitive road in is manageable in a passenger car. Drove up in my Kia Soul and I was just fine. It should be noted that the first 3 miles of the trail is paved, the rest is not. Went on 3/11/19 and found the area super green and the water was running. Water levels were manageable for the water crossings (about ankle height most of the time, knee height at its deepest), but the water was fast moving. I would not attempt this trail without trekking poles or a walking stick. Check the water levels and for weather before you leave (as usual). There was clear evidence of a recent flash flood along the creek. There were a ton of animal tracks, including bear tracks, so be aware of that. It was a pretty good day, choosing my own adventure in Aravaipa - well worth the trip out there! Note: I hiked in my boots (Merrell MOAB WP Boots), wool socks, and Dirty Girl gaiters. I am so glad I did because the smalls pebbles and sand were kept out, my feet stayed warm, and my boots helped provide stability between the scrambling, water crossings, bushwhacking, and hiking through sand and river rock. That’s what worked for me, so if you’re waffling in what shoes to use - there is a consideration for you.

11 months ago

This area is absolutely worth the trip and you need to add it to your list. I wouldn’t even call this a “hike” or “trail”. It’s an outdoor adventure. There is no defined path; instead you move in the river or on the banks. The pictures listed here don’t do it justice. If I could compare it to anything else it would be: Tanque Verde Falls and the Santa Cruz River outside Tubac combined inside of a canyon. 1) Recreation.gov is where you get a permit 2) We crossed the river almost 50 times in 5 miles one way. 3) The water was higher than we expected and was almost knee high in December. 4) The road is sketchy looking but passable in a Civic. 5) Chose your shoes carefully. We started by taking ours off at crossings, but with so many, we decided to soak our boots and socks. This was a good choice, and we hiked 10 miles without issue. Others had strap-on sandals, beach gear, or old shoes. I would recommend your hiking boots, because the footing can be slick and it’s very rocky/sandy on the banks. 6) This was more challenging than we expected. Not because of distance or elevation, but because of the multitude of river crossings and spending time locating the best path. Plan to spend more time than expected. We averaged 35 min a mile with little downtime.

Sun Dec 09 2018

went to go hike based off descriptions on here however you do need to get a permit in advance, ranger said sometimes several weeks in advance especially for weekends. better luck next time I guess.

Fri Aug 17 2018

Beautiful Scenery. Most of the hike is in the creek. We saw Deer, Black Hawk, Monarch Butterflies, lots of Yellow Butterflies and a Blue Herron. We saw no one else which totally awesome. The paths are narrow and hard to find at times. Be ready to just walk in the the creek. There was plenty of water and at times knee deep. Wear Hiking Boots made for water. Mine kept getting rocks and sand in them which was uncomfortable. I will definitely do this hike again. It was our first time and we stopped and took a lot of pics. 6 hours to hike in about 4 miles and back out again.

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