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Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
desert river expedition
The Agua Fria is accessed here from the Badger Springs trailhead. Badger Springs will take you almost a mile in before you see the Agua Fria. This is the north end of the Agua Fria National Monument. To the south is a much longer and more difficult path.
In the wet season, this hike may not be possible without taking a dip and being potentially dangerous. In the dry season, there are around 200 yards of rock hopping before the terrain flattens out and is mostly sandy or grassy river bottom the rest of the way. Depending on weather, this terrain can go from 100+ degrees and no water to at least class III rapids. Sometimes the transformation can take moments so keep your wits about you.
After the initial rock hopping the sheer canyon walls begin to transform into more gentle slopes. Occasionally transitioning from high grass to some mild boulder scrambles. Around 3.8 miles into the hike there is an old filled-in mine on the right bank. This is also a good area to make higher ground if necessary.
As you get closer to Bishop Creek the vegetation should start to get thicker. The water if there is any is most likely on the far east side of the canyon towards the Bishop Creek confluence. On the west bank around five miles in is another old mine this time with a worn-out creepy one-room cabin to explore.
At just 5.5 miles Silver Creek and the associated canyon will come up on the east side. There is a small trail on the south side of Silver Creek leading to the outhouse another half-mile away. North of this junction can be hiked to where the Agua Fria crosses Bloody Basin near the bird sanctuary sign. This will add another 1.5 miles but take you by some good crayfish hunting grounds.
Subject to seasonal flash floods. Watch the weather and come prepared.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.