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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Aravaipa Canyon, AZ

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Guide 252 Triplogs  21 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Globe S
4.7 of 5 by 80
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Shuttle 11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,000 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Avg Time Hiking 2 Days
Kokopelli Seeds 11.67
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
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10  2019-08-31 Timknorr
9  2019-06-11 Sun_Ray
71  2019-01-12 TheNaviG8R
30  2018-12-01
Booger Canyon
38  2018-12-01
Primo Araviapa and Hell Hole
34  2018-12-01
Primo Araviapa and Hell Hole
13  2018-11-30 chumley
1  2018-10-03 TheNaviG8R
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 24
Author Kip
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 7 map ( 36 miles )
Age ?
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:21pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Arizona Heaven!
by Kip

Likely In-Season!
This is just my opinion, but forget about doing this hike with a specific destination in mind. Instead, dedicate your trip to playing in the water, relaxing by the bank, and, if you like boulder hopping, to exploring a side canyon.

With that said, if you are in good shape and backpacking this trail for the first time, try hiking to Horse Camp Canyon on day one, exploring Horse Camp Canyon and playing in the water on day two, and then just relaxing and heading home on day three.

Plan on hiking one mile an hour. If you are lucky enough to find a nice footpath on the side of the creek, you can hike at a much quicker rate, more like two miles an hour. Note that hiking through the soft sand and against the creek's current can be very draining, turning what would normally be an easy distance into a tiring hike.

There are a number of footpaths on both sides of the creek. These are not maintained trails. So depending on the water level and vegetation growth, they may or may not be there throughout the year. As a general rule, when one side of the canyon is sheer rock wall, and the other side is a flat patch of land, the footpath is on the flat-patch-of-land side. If both sides are sheer rock wall, hike through the water.

For a backpacking trip, I recommend using boots (not your favorite pair because of water damage) for both the hike and for exploring the side canyons. Bring a pair of sandals for the campsite so you can dry off your boots and feet. If you want to do the hike in sandals, consider bringing a hiking pole for extra support or just picking up a tree branch/walking stick along the way. The rocks in the creek are slick; so be prepared to slip and stumble.

As for navigation, I suggest a GPS and the mileage chart available on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) web site. Compare the miles you have traveled on your GPS to the mileage chart. This gives you a general idea of where you are. Forget about trying to check each canyon off on your map as you pass it. Most of the canyons are covered with trees and boulders and are hard to spot. I found two landmarks helpful, Virgus Canyon and the dirt hills around the west entrance: When hiking into the canyon from the west entrance, Virgus Canyon is pretty easy to spot. If you've been hiking for awhile (4.5 miles) and the top of the south canyon wall makes it look like the creek is going to fork, you are most likely approaching Virgus. When hiking out of the canyon on the west side, there is a point where you exit the rock canyon walls and are surrounded by desert hills. You now have about a mile to go. Make sure to keep an eye out on the north side of the creek for the trail back up to the parking lot.

I worried about having to swim with my camera, but I never ran into any deep water that I couldn't walk around. Water levels can obviously vary greatly from time to time, but on this trip, at least, the average depth was about a foot deep, and in early April the water temperature was very nice. I had to wade through several knee-deep areas, but I never had to swim.

There are nice camping spots across from the entrance to Horse Camp Canyon. On the south side of the canyon, go about 60 to 100 yards west of the canyon entrance and walk all the way to the back. Hopefully you'll run into a campsite with a fire pit, plenty of trees for hanging food and packs, and plenty of level, cleared ground for stoves and tents.

Of the two canyons I explored, I found Horse Camp much easier and interesting than Booger. Horse Camp requires boulder hopping, pulling yourself up in some areas, and scrambling through thorny stuff. Using some footpaths on the east side of the canyon, I tried to make it up to the caves. I got as far as the large pool, but I couldn't find a way to pull myself up while waste-deep in water. Going up on the west side might be better. If you get up above the canyon walls, please be careful. Only loose rocks and dead plants are there to help you if you slip. If you plan on exploring a side canyon, bring a day pack and plenty of water. Once you leave the shade by the creek, you might as well be in Phoenix.

This hike requires a permit, and spots fill very quickly. For more information , research the BLM web site. The one thing I'll point out in advance is that fewer people use the east entrance because it's a forty mile drive over rough, unpaved road to get there. This also makes taking two cars and doing a west entrance to east entrance hike rather difficult to pull off.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2003-04-07 Kip
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BLM Division Details

Plan and Prepare

Hiking in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is a wet hike. Bring sturdy shoes that will have good ankle support appropriate for hiking in the water and over rough terrain. Thick socks will protect your feet from becoming tender due to sand and gravel in your shoes. Making trails and "bush wacking" to avoid river crossings destroys wildlife habitat.

Check your pack for the outdoor essentials: safety kit, water, hat, sunscreen, map, hygiene kit (trowel, toilet paper, sealable sandwich bag for used toilet paper), sunglasses, and a light jacket. It's nice to have a dry pair of shoes and socks waiting for you back at your vehicle at the end of your hike.

Be sure you will have access to at least one gallon of drinking water per day to avoid dehydration. Aravaipa creek flows yearlong, but water must be treated before drinking.

Prepare for extreme weather by obtaining current weather information from the ranger on duty or from the National Weather Service. Flash floods occur in the summer and winter rainy seasons. It is difficult to predict exactly when a flash flood might occur. If you find yourself in a flash flood situation, get to the highest point you can. Usually flood conditions only last eight to 12 hours, but can last longer if a prolonged storm is in the area. These floods are life threatening and can be fatal. Stay in a safe place until the water subsides. Never make this hike alone. Always notify someone of your expected departure and arrival dates.

During the rainy seasons, avoid camping in the side canyons, across from them or near the creek. This will increase your safety during flash floods.

Do the required fees and permits apply to the entire wilderness?

Fees are charged for the main canyon of Aravaipa Creek and its side canyons. The areas above the canyon are open to use without fees or limits.

What is the difficulty level of this hike?

Depending on the length of your hike and the depth of the creek, the difficulty level could be easy or moderate. Hikers should be in good physical condition. Terrain is generally level but footing is often insecure due to rocky and slippery surfaces. The lack of trails requires that hikers travel through sometimes dense vegetation. Extremes in temperatures also impact hiking conditions.

Is it possible to hike Aravaipa Canyon without getting my feet wet?

No. There is not a trail in the wilderness, and hikers must cross the creek many times during a hike. Sturdy shoes, with good ankle support, that will hold up well in the water are recommended.

Can I take my dog?

No. To prevent harassment of wildlife or other visitors, dogs and other pets are not permitted in the canyon.

I require the use of a seeing-eye dog. Is my dog allowed in the wilderness?

Yes. Seeing eye dogs may accompany their owner on a hike. This is a rugged canyon and may not be suitable for all hikers and dogs.

Can I hike in one side and out the other?

Yes. Hikers must make their own arrangements for vehicles; there are no shuttle services. Hiking groups sometimes meet in the middle of the canyon and switch vehicle keys.

Who do I call for additional hiking information?

The Safford Field Office at 928-348-4400.

Why aren't there any signs marking the trail or side canyons?

There is no established trail through much of the canyon bottom. Since this is a wilderness area, no signs are posted in order to preserve its wild and remote character.

Am I limited to one trip per year?

No, however, each trip requires a separate application and payment of fees. There must be a break between visits.

Are there limits on the number of days I can reserve?

Yes. We allow a maximum of 3 days, 2 nights in the canyon wilderness area.

What is the group size limit?

No more than 10 persons per group. Equestrian use is limited to five (5) animals, and animals may not remain overnight in the canyon bottom.

Are there limits on the total number of people per day in the canyon?

Yes. We allow 50 people per day, 20 on the East entrance and 30 on the West entrance. A total of no more than 10 persons per group per permit. Groups should not camp in the same location as another group. The distance for groups should be out-of-sight and out-of-sound from other groups.

How many groups may enter per day?

The number of groups is not limited. However, group size is limited to 10 and the combined trailhead entry is no more than 50 persons per day.

Can I use a horse or other packstock on my trip?

Yes, however horses and packstock cannot remain in the canyon overnight. It is necessary to remove them to the uplands above the canyon each night. Due to the rugged nature of the canyon, only horses and stock that are sure-footed on rocks and in water crossings are recommended. Minimize impacts of stock animals to streamside vegetation. Equestrian use is limited to five (5) animals and a maximum of three (3) consecutive days.

Can I ride my ATV, mountain bike, or use my hang glider?

No. These and other motorized vehicles and mechanized equipment are specifically prohibited by the Wilderness Act and BLM wilderness management policy.

Prehistory and History During your travels you may find traces of people who lived in the canyon thousands of years ago. This evidence, such as prehistoric or pioneer artifacts, is used by archaeologists and historians to piece together what we know about Arizona's history. Please help the state of Arizona and Bureau of Land Management by respecting archaeological sites and not collecting artifacts.

The Aravaipa watershed was occupied by hunters and gatherers starting about 9,500 years ago during Archaic Period, and later by Mogollon, Hohokam, and Saladoan peoples. The Hohokam and Salado were traditionally agricultural people who lived in pithouse villages and had a complex social organization. The limited amount of space available in the canyon bottom was suitable for seasonal use but precluded extensive agriculture. People used a wide variety of plant resources from the riparian area and canyon slopes; among these were saguaro and prickly pear cacti, oak, juniper, pinyon, mesquite, palo verde, agave, and sotol. In addition, hunting and fishing were probably common seasonal activities. The Salado people abandoned the area by A.D. 1450. Traces of their culture can be seen at the Turkey Creek cliff dwelling, located 1.4 miles south of the east wilderness entrance. The cliff dwelling is one of the most intact structures of its kind in southeastern Arizona. It was probably occupied for a few months each year by prehistoric farmers around 1300 A.D. A trail leads visitors up to the structure. Help protect and preserve these ancient ruins; do not climb on the cliffhouse walls.

During the mid-19th century, the Aravaipa band of the Western Apache tribe inhabited Aravaipa Canyon and Aravaipa Valley between the Galiuro and Pinaleno mountains to the east. Their economic life was adapted to hunting and gathering wild resources, and they practiced some corn agriculture. During the year they moved around gathering ripened plant foods including mescal, saguaro fruit, mesquite beans, pinyon nuts, juniper berries, and Emory oak acorns, one of the most important foods collected. They lived in dome-shaped, brush-covered dwellings and used deep round baskets to store foods.

During historic times, Spanish and Anglo pioneers used the canyon as a travel corridor between Tucson and the Gila Valley. The Apache, used it as part of a raiding route into Sonora. The Sobaipuri Indians bordered the Apache west of the San Pedro River and provided the Spanish with a buffer against the Apache for many years but, in 1762, Apache depredations became so bad that the Sobaipuri left the area and joined Pima Indians at San Xavier Mission and Tucson.

As hostilities with the Apaches increased, Camp Grant was established in 1856 at the junction of the San Pedro River and Aravaipa Creek. In 1871, the Apache agreed to stop hostilities and settle near the camp. Later that year, the Camp Grant massacre took place; enraged by continuing raids, a party of Tucson citizens banded together with Tohono O'odham Indians. They attacked and killed over 100 Apaches. Camp Grant was moved in 1872 to the south side of Mount Graham due to an increase in malarial infections in the troops. Soon after, 1500 Aravaipa and Pinal Apaches were moved to San Carlos.

Anglo and Hispanic settlers began arriving in Aravaipa in the 1870s and engaged in mining, stock raising, and farming. Resolution of conflicts with the Apaches led to significant in-migration during the 1890s and a series of short-term mining booms contributed to the population increase. The village of Klondyke was surrounded by ranches, farms, and mining prospects, and became a distribution center for the east end of Aravaipa Canyon.
Geology Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is in the Basin and Range province and is surrounded by two mountain ranges, the Galiuro and Santa Teresa mountains. The Galiuros are mainly a thick pile of Tertiary volcanic rocks and the Santa Teresas consists mostly of Tertiary granite. This geological diversity was of interest to miners. Many abandoned lead, zinc and copper mines exist throughout the region.

The cavernous, buff-and-brown colored walls you see as you walk through the canyon from the east are composed of Hell Hole Conglomerate, which extends to Parson's Canyon on the south wall and Hell Hole Canyon on the north wall. From here and continuing west, the Galiuro Volcanics begin and shape Paisano Canyon, and from Booger to Horse Camp Canyon. This mid-portion of the canyon displays impressive red, orange, and gray walls with columns towering over 1,000 feet.

On the West end of the canyon, between Virgus and Hell's Half Acre canyons, the creek cuts through a dark red porphyry (rock containing crystal structures). This rock is considered part of the Pinal Schist group which originated in the Precambrian Era. It is older and harder that the other formations and may be why the stream has cut a narrower channel in this area.

Vegetation The area's uniqueness is most evident in the diversity of wildlife habitat. The Aravaipa region consists of five major terrestrial communities: Sonoran Desertscrub, Desert Grassland/Semi-desert Scrubland, Interior Chaparral, Evergreen Woodland, and Deciduous Riparian Forest.

Hikers follow the Deciduous Riparian Gallery that surrounds the creek. This riparian corridor is actually three very distinct associations: Cottonwood-Willow mix (throughout the canyon bottom, with the tallest trees in the canyon); the Mesquite Bosque (found across from Horse Camp Canyon and elsewhere); and the Alder/Walnut/Hackberry association (Oak Grove Canyon above Turkey Creek). The ecosystem includes more than 1,000 acres of riparian habitat in 12 drainages.

Saguaro-studded cliffs tower high above the creek. When rainfall conditions are right (good autumn precipitation), an abundance of colorful wildflowers will carpet the hillsides in Spring. Fall colors, mostly golden foliage of cottonwoods & willows, are a special treat.

Poison ivy is also found in riparian areas, so be careful if you are allergic to this plant!
Wildlife Aravaipa Creek is often considered the best native fish habitat in Arizona. It is the only low-desert creek in Arizona with an unprecedented seven species of native fish. Two of these, the loach minnow and spikedace, are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, with designated critical habitat in the creek. Aravaipa is one of the last creeks in the state to be in pristine condition; the segment within the wilderness is mostly free of contamination by non-native fish species. The native fish found here are abundant and doing well. White-tailed and mule deer, javelina, and coyotes often drink from the creek in the evenings, leaving their distinctive tracks in the mud. Mountain lions prowl craggy peaks, but are rarely seen. Desert bighorn sheep are often visible on canyon walls high above the creek. Nearly a dozen bat species flourish in Aravaipa's small caves, emerging at dusk to hunt for insects. Troops of coatimundi travel the canyon bottoms and are a special treat.

Several species of rattlesnakes inhabit Aravaipa Canyon, so visitors should take care to avoid them. Many other snakes including harmless garter snakes can be seen. Please do not harm any snakes. A variety of frogs, notably leopard frogs,

Aravaipa is famed as a birdwatcher's paradise. Nearly every type of desert songbird is found here, with more than 150 species documented in the wilderness. Saguaro and other cacti grow on Aravaipa's rocky ledges, providing nest sites for small owls, woodpeckers, and other desert birds. Mesquite-covered grassy flats furnish cover for abundant birdlife on the canyon floor. Species receiving federal and state protection include the peregrine falcon, common black-hawk, bald eagle, cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl, and southwestern willow flycatcher. Being close to Mexico, the wilderness is often visited by birds more common to lands south of the border.

Permits and Reservations

A permit is required to visit Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness per person per day. Canyon use is limited to 50 people per day, 30 from the West end and 20 from the East end. This system helps to reduce the potential impacts to the environment caused by human use and allows visitors to enjoy the canyon's solitude.

Are reservations recommended?

Yes. It is risky to wait until the day of your hike to try to get a permit. Reservations may be made in advance using any one of several methods.

You can use the link provided on this website.(Link is further down the page above the weather section) If you are making your reservation through the internet you are required to pay with a credit card for your permit to be issued.

You may also call the Safford Field Office at (928) 348-4400. If you make your reservation through the Safford Field Office, payment is also required in advance through cash, check or credit card. Those individuals that request a permit within a few days of their hike may pay at the Klondyke (East) or Brandenburg (West) ranger stations with check or cash. Permits are only issued by the rangers if space is available. No Golden Eagle, Golden Age or Golden Access card discounts are provided.

How can I find out about available hiking dates?

(Link is further down the page above the weather section)
The reservation system is a viewable calendar showing the number of available spaces or "full" dates up to 13 weeks from the current date. If you don't personally have internet capability, you may access the internet at most libraries. You may also call, fax or write to the Safford Field Office and we will check the calendar for you and make your reservation.

How far ahead may I make reservations?

You can make a reservation up to 13 weeks in advance of the day you wish to hike. Please remember that spring and fall weekends are most popular and fill up almost immediately on the opening day 13 weeks in advance.

Once I have made reservations, can I change dates or group size?

No. You must cancel and rebook another reservation. Due to expected large numbers of visitors trying to book hiking dates, permitted and paid for reservations are final -- no date or group size changes will be made. So be sure of your trip plans before you submit your reservations requests. Refunds are available for canceled trips, however a $30 processing fee will be charged.

How do I cancel a reservation?

You must call the BLM Safford Field Office in advance of your permitted dates to cancel. A $30 processing fee is charged for refunds requested.

Are permits required?

Yes. Each solo hiker or group trip leader will be issued a permit number following confirmation of reserved dates and payment of fees. This number must be carried by the hiker or trip leader during the trip. Infants carried in backpacks do not need a permit.

I am a TNC (The Nature Conservancy) member. Can I hike the first mile on the West side of the canyon without a permit?

No, the BLM and TNC have an agreement to limit the impacts on public and private land by limiting use to 30 people per day through the West entrance. This includes members of TNC.

I just want to walk in a few minutes and turn around. Do I need a permit?

Yes, the permit system was instituted to protect sensitive habitat and to provide a place of peace and solitude to human visitors. The most frequently used area of the canyon is the first section, thus the most impacted. A permit is always required.

Is it possible to get a permit to hike without having made reservations?

Yes. Unreserved hiking dates are generally available during the off-season (winter and summer). For those desiring a more unplanned, spontaneous visit to the area, any available unreserved dates can be obtained in person, first-come, first-served, by calling or visiting the Safford Field Office or stopping by the Ranger Stations located at Klondyke (East) and Brandenburg (West). Rangers are often in the canyon and not at the Ranger Station to issue permits, even if space is available.

How long will it take to get my permit after I make my reservations?

If you book online (this requires payment with a credit card), your permit number will be displayed on the screen immediately after completing the reservation; a permit will not be mailed. Your permit number is your authorization to hike; make a note of it or print the final permit screen.

If you call for your reservation and payment is made by credit card, you will be given your permit number immediately over the phone.

If you pay by cash or check, a permit will be mailed to you once the BLM Safford Field Office receives your payment. Be sure to allow sufficient time for your payment to arrive at the BLM office and for your permit to be mailed to you. Payments not received within seven days of booking your reservation will be automatically canceled.

Are permits required to hike the side canyons if I do not enter the main canyon of Aravaipa Creek?

A permit is required to hike all canyons within the wilderness. Those wishing to hike or hunt on the tablelands within the wilderness are not required to have a permit but cannot enter any canyon bottoms.

If I have an Arizona Game and Fish Department permit to hunt in this unit, do I need to make reservations and pay additional fees?

Yes. Reservations and a permit are necessary for all days both hunting and passing through the canyon.

What are the special hunting and fishing regulations for the wilderness?

Licensed hunters are permitted in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, but fishing is prohibited. All hunters using the canyon must obtain an Aravaipa permit. Hunting dogs are not permitted.

To ensure visitor safety, discharging firearms is prohibited in the canyon bottoms including Aravaipa Creek, the side canyons, and Turkey Creek. Above the rim of the canyon, hunting is allowed 50 vertical feet above the creek bottom. This rule does not apply to bow and arrow hunters.

No fishing is allowed in Aravaipa Creek. This is to protect the native fish found here.

Are fees required?

Yes. Fees are payable prior to permit authorization for each visitor, both adults and children. Infants carried in backpacks do not need a permit.

What are the fees?

$5.00 per person per day.

Does my Golden Eagle give me a discount on fees?

No. Golden Eagle passes are only good for entrance fees to areas such as national parks or some national conservation areas. The fees charged for Aravaipa Canyon, are use fees, which are not part of the Golden Eagle program.

What about Golden Age and Golden Access cards?

We do not accept Golden Age and Golden Access cards.

Where do I pay my fees?

Fees for online reservations can only be paid by credit card. Fees for permits issued by phone can be paid by credit card or check mailed to the BLM Safford Field Office; checks must be received before a permit number is issued. Fees for permits issued the week of the hike are paid at self-service stations at each trailhead by check or cash.

Are fee refunds made?

Yes, refunds can be made, but processing them substantially increases the cost of administering the area. Therefore, a $30 processing fee is charged. So be sure of your trip plans before requesting a permit and paying fees. If you plan to request a refund, you must call the BLM Safford Field Office (928-348-4400) to cancel your permit at least 24 hours prior to your hike date.

What happens if access to trailheads is impossible after I pay my fees?

If weather conditions have made access to the trailhead or access points impossible on the day you have reserved, you may reschedule another available date within 13 weeks of your original reservation at no additional cost. Call the Safford Field Office to obtain your new permit.

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 62 deeper Triplog Reviews
Aravaipa Canyon
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2 night trip with Dustin, Gil, Paul, and Kevin. Paul flew out from Ohio for his yearly trip to the southwest for this one. Originally planned to try to do this two weeks later to have more green on the trees, but work obligations dictated it be done in early February. Headed in about 10am under sunny skies. Most of the trees were still rather bare, but was happy to see some trees starting to bud out. The in-creek sections felt chilly at first, but as the day warmed up near 70 degrees, it started to feel good. The first couple miles were pleasant with the canyon more open, but got much more spectacular the further we headed upstream and the canyon narrowed. Having never hiked Aravaipa before, we were guessing we would try to find a campsite between 3 and 5 miles in. We passed on a couple decent sites at 2.5 and 3.5 miles in before finding a nice place at the 4 mile mark that was intimate but had a nice variety of spots for both tents and hammocks.

After setting up camp, eating lunch, and collecting some firewood, we headed further upstream for exploration, photo hunting, and rock climbing (for Dustin and Kevin at least). I got caught up photographing the creekside greenery and trailed behind. A little I came across Kevin decked out in climbing gear and spotting Dustin as he bouldered up a pock-marked cliff face. When Dustin returned to the canyon bottom, we continued upstream until turning back at the mouth of Virgus Canyon. Definitely blown away by the beauty of this canyon.

Back at camp we built a fire and broke out a bottle of Kraken spiced rum and some gin and tonic. It was a lively night around the campfire to say the least. Gil brought a soft cooler full of carne asada which we roasted over the fire and ate with tortillas and homemade salsa.

The next morning I went downstream a bit to try to grab a photo or two of a spot green with groundcover that we passed on the hike in. The creek was frigid in the morning shade, and I had to climb back in my hammock and sleeping bag to warm back up upon returning to camp. I wasn't the only one that was cold, despite being the only one to wade in the creek. Paul decided to scramble up the scree slope above us to get into the sunshine and warm his bones- Gil, Dustin, and I joined him to lounge on a sunny rock outcropping with a nice view up and down canyon. Kevin had to get back to civilization for work responsibilities so he packed up his stuff and bailed a day early.

Eventually we decided to go on a little dayhike upstream. As soon as we started hiking, I noticed a pain in my left ankle. I had rolled it during the previous night's exploration, and walking around on it further seemed to be aggravating it. I knew I was gonna have to cut the day's exploration's short, but continued with the rest of the guys to at least have a gander at what was past Virgus Canyon.

As we approached the mouth of Virgus, disaster struck, but not to my ankle. When I had zipped my pack closed, I left the two zipper pulls together at the top of the pack, and then carabinered a full nalgene bottle to the loop on the front of the pack. Gravity acting on the water bottle pulled the zipper open and unloaded the full contents of my daypack into the creek. This included a camera body and three lenses among other things. Dustin was nearby to help me collect everything, but the camera definitely got fully submerged. I'm still letting it dry out with hopes it'll come back to life. At least I had my other camera body with a lens on it in my hand, so not all of my gear went for a swim. Regardless, talk about adding insult to injury.

Not about to let an accident like that ruin my trip, I decided to grin and bear it. We continued upstream past Virgus in a rather open stretch of canyon bottom that featured huge cottonwoods towering over a row of primo campsites, each with big fire rings and lots of logs for seating. Lots of space for tents, but also options for hammock hanging. Definitely will be shooting to camp here when I make it back to Aravaipa.

Just after the campsites, Horse Camp Canyon opened up to the north. I didn't want to push my ankle any further and the sandy beach next to the creek looked enticing. I told the other guys to go ahead and explore up the side canyon and I would wait for them. After emptying the contents of my pack to start the drying process, I laid down on the sand and enjoyed the solitude.

The guys really enjoyed the hike up Horse Camp, but were treated to some even more special on the way back. As we wandered back by the campsites and big cottonwoods, we spotted a herd of about 10 desert bighorn sheep grazing up on the bluff across canyon. We sat down on a big ol' log and watched the do their thing for about fifteen minutes. Gil had been chomping at the bit to see some, he got his wish.

When we returned to camp, I decided it was best to get in my hammock and elevate my foot. Upon removing my shoes, it was apparent that my left ankle was a bit swollen compared to the right one. There was one spot on the front of the ankle that looked a little purple, and indeed felt tender when I tapped on it with my finger. I figured it was a light to moderate sprain. Dustin went out to do a bit of scrambling, I lounged in my hammock, Paul snored away in his own hammock, and Gil collected firewood. It was a pretty leisurely afternoon.

With my ankle pretty sore, I decided to forego the evening photo hunting. The wind blew up and some light clouds wafted across the sky. We wondered if some weather was coming in. Paul and I pitched our tarps just in case. At the very least, they would create a windbreak to keep us a bit warmer. With the added wind chill, we started the fire early, as well as the drinking. Within a few hours we had consumed yet another carne asada feast and also polished off the Kraken. It was another lively night around the campfire.

The next morning, the plan was to leave by 9:00am and be out around 1:00pm, but with my injury, I was thinking I needed to be ready before everyone and get an earlier start. Of course, hobbling around also made me slow at tearing down and packing up. I ended up the last one ready, but we did hit the trail by 8:30. I had an ace bandage and wrapped my ankle with it, and it did feel much better that way. As long as I didn't put weight on my heel, I was able to walk without pain, and was able to keep up with the rest of the guys so we maintained a reasonable pace. With a slight downhill and walking with the current in the creek, we were able to make good time hit the trailhead just after 11:00. Despite a minor injury and a camera gear disaster, it was an amazing trip! I'm definitely looking to get out to Aravaipa again in the future.
Aravaipa Canyon
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East Aravaipa
I had an opportunity to head to Aravaipa for a couple of days and having never been to the east end, jumped at the chance. I now know I prefer this side and will come back for sure. At 3 hrs, it's really not a bad drive to get there and the benefits outweigh a little extra time on the road.

Thursday night was the coldest of the season statewide, but we were prepared so it turned out to be no problem despite dropping into the 20s. Friday was an exceptional day exploring a couple of miles down Aravaipa and up the geologic wonder of Hell Hole Canyon. It was a real treat. I'd love to see this one with a little bit more water flowing in it.

After seeing a bighorn up on the cliffs earlier in the day, we spotted some deer as darkness fell. The next two hours proved to be very entertaining!

We wouldn't have noticed the next critter if not for its glowing eyes as we approached on the opposite bank, wondering what it was. Once we were perpendicular across the creek we shone our headlamps to get a better view. At this point it realized we would not just walk by without noticing it was there and it subsequently repositioned. When that happened both Jon and I caught a glimpse of its silhouette and both had the same reaction simultaneously: tarzan swing! That's a big cat! :scared: It seemed nervous at our presence as we shined our lights directly into its glowing green eyes 25 yards across the river. As is common on our hikes, Jon and I each complimented each other on how large and strong we were -- loudly and repeatedly -- :sweat: while once again heading upstream. Jon noted that our hurried 3mph pace in the dark had suddenly increased to about 4mph! :lol:

Shortly thereafter a new set of eyes was watching our passage, but these were yellow. Though they sat high above us along the creek, as we got closer we could see it was just a curious raccoon (my first ever az wild sighting!). As we neared the trailhead, a skunk waddled across our path and seemed to be in no hurry to let us by. At this point we were trying to figure out what animal we wouldn't see tonight! Of course we weren't done yet. Next we spotted a gray fox that thought it was hidden and didn't run until it was obvious we knew it was there. Not much later we spooked a herd of javelina, and enjoyed watching the babies fight the current while swimming across the creek their parents had simply walked across. :lol:

At this point we were happy we would be sleeping indoors for the night and headed back to TNC cabin to meet up with the others and share our stories over a warm fire and some wild fermentation in the coolship.

The next couple of days included more wildlife sightings including coatimundi, turkey, and bobcat. Apparently there are cool birds here too!

I'm a fan of wildernesses. Some are more wilderness-y than others. I've only been to Aravaipa three times, but I think it's one of Arizona's truly wild wildernesses and a wildlife gem. FWIW, we did not see a bear. ](*,) Maybe next time! :)

A little dull. Sycamores were solid rust. Some cottonwoods still had a lot of green, others had some nice yellows, and some were mostly bare. Walnuts were prime yellow. Ash hadn't started yet.
Aravaipa Canyon
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Aravaipa Canyon Family Affair, 2017

We were having a family gathering a while back, and I mentioned hubby and I were going to be backpacking into Aravaipa in September. I got a chorus of “I want to go!” from a bunch of them. So I reserved a permit for the max #, party of 10 for Sept 15-17. There were three generations of family on this trip which made it really cool. Every one of these kids have been taught the “leave no trace” concept, and they all followed it explicitly.

We went in from the west end, with the younger bunch striking out ahead of us. We told them to find an area hubby and I had seen before, that looked like it was big enough to hold all of us. It became the “spot where the naked guy was” because on our trip in 2012 there was a guy skinny-dipping there. So off the kids went. They would eventually stop and wait for us old folks, and then they would take off again. Probably about 4 miles in, we came up on the spot we had described to the kids, and they were nowhere in sight. They had kept going. So we dropped our packs there and my brother-in-law took off after them. Hubby and I headed up too, but not that fast!!

BIL caught up with them, they said they suspected that was the place but thought it was too close so they kept going. When they found out that’s where we would be camping, they dropped their packs on the trail and decided to go farther exploring. Out of 10 of us, only the 3 of us old folks had ever been in the canyon before. For the kids, it was like them being in a candy store.

All the kids in the group have backpacked before, it was a piece of cake for them. One of the boys carried up a set of regulation horse shoes with the stakes. Yes, you read that right! Even the youngest was a real trooper, she carried her pack for over half the trip up. But it didn’t fit her well, and her shoulders were getting sore, so it got passed off between the rest of them for the rest of the trip up. And hubby packed two folding chairs – one for me, and one for my niece who is mamma to the littlest hiker. What a sweetheart!!

When the kids decided to keep going, hubby and I returned to camp to start setting up. We set up camp and just hung around camp for the day. I gotta say, I’m probably 100 lbs heavier than I should be, and I estimate my pack weighed 35 lbs. After 4 miles of walking upstream, I was DONE. I decided my main goal for this trip was to survive without injury. When the kids all came back into camp for the afternoon, we had tin foil dinners and pitched horse shoes. After it got dark, it was adult drinks around the fire for the old folks, and crashing for the evening.

Day two, my BIL had to go home. So when he headed down, we headed up. We walked up the river to horse camp, probably another 2 miles. To date, that’s as far as I have ever been. The kids naturally were all over the place, and 4 of them climbed Virgus falls – including the littlest one.

We returned to camp, and ended up getting in the water to cool down. There are two holes big enough to swim in right at camp. We played cards, then sat by a fire and had a couple more adult beverages, and crashed.

Day three we had breakfast and hung around camp, packed everything up, pitched horse shoes again, then headed out around 11 or so to come home.

Temps were in the mid 90’s during the day, still almost too warm to sleep at night. Thank goodness for the water, because on the second night after we all decided to get in and cool off, it seems we all slept better than the night before. Everyone agreed, we will do this again. The kids had a blast; it was really fun just watching them enjoy the canyon.
Aravaipa Canyon
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Annual overnighter in Aravaipa - second time from the East side.
Aravaipa was the first place I ever backpacked, and I think it's the absolute perfect place to introduce someone to backpacking ... if a night or two there isn't for you, then backpacking probably isn't for you.
It's also the only place I keep returning to time after time - each time is different, and it's always magical!
I planned the trip for a couple weeks later this year than last, hoping for hotter weather, and it worked out great - I got in in between cold spells. I need air temps around the 90's in order to enjoy the cool water, rather than just tolerate it in lower temps.
From what I have observed, it seems as though at least half of the permits issued for entry from the East end go unused. There were 10 permits issued for the day I arrived, but only 2 signed in and one vehicle at trailhead.
I intended to use the same charming little campsite that I stayed in last April, right across the creek from the mouth of Booger Canyon. It was empty and waiting for me ... I did later discover an even nicer site also on creek left a few more minutes downstream that I may try next time - but the Booger site has served me quite well twice now.
I took an hour to rest, refuel, and set up camp, then explored up Booger Canyon for a few minutes. It looks awesome and rugged, and I would love to check it out further - but maybe not alone ...
Next I meandered downstream farther than I had been, for a half hour or so. The middle section of the canyon really is beautiful.
Back at camp I debated a bit then decided to go ahead and start a small fire - there was plenty of wood and I thought the smoke would discourage insects (though they weren't bad) and alert other animals that there was a human present tonight. Last time I camped here there was fresh bear scat close by.
Just as I was cleaning up after dinner, right before the daylight finished fading, I heard animals moving across the creek - noisier than deer and larger and more deliberate than coati's ... I stared hard into the trees at the mouth of Booger and soon saw a bear! I watched as the bear family took about 10 minutes to pass, flipping over rocks and searching for food as they went ... saw an adult and a cub, and heard one or two more. Despite the fact that they were only about 50 yards away and I had both fire and food, they didn't seem to notice or care that I was there. I am sure they knew ... the cub did look at me for a minute while I was taking video of it. This was only my second bear sighting ever, and it was pretty great - I didn't feel fear or much alarm ... just thrilled.
Bedtime rolled around soon, and it took awhile to get to sleep - listening to the sounds of the night and wondering if the Berenstain Bears would be coming back upstream on my side during their nightly rounds. Once I fell asleep on my brand new pad - more on that later - I slept great, just waking up cold at 3:30, donning my fleece, and then back to sleep for two more hours. Woke up for good at daybreak with the singing birds, and enjoyed a lovely morning around camp.
Took my time and enjoyed extended breaks at several nice campsites and swimming holes. I was really hoping to get lucky and catch a ride in the back of someone's truck from the 4wd trailhead back to my car at the 2wd trailhead, like I did last time - but it wasn't to be since there were no vehicles at Turkey Creek once I got there. I thought oh well, it's just another mile and a half trudge, and maybe I am meant to walk it because I will see something good. I did meet a very handsome gopher snake stretched out across the road, and I got to hike with a turkey. I came upon a group of them after following their tracks down the road for awhile, and while most of them scattered or ran way ahead, there was one that kept just running a little ways up then waiting for me to catch up before running ahead again ... even after it finally turned off into the woods and let me pass, I could still hear it calling for some distance. Very cute.
The drive home was uneventful except for some cows in the road - watch out for them.

Gear notes:
I am in love with my new NEMO Cosmo insulated sleeping pad! It's a tad heavier than my old Thermarest, but at 3.5 inches thick it is a dream to sleep on! The built in foot pump works perfectly - you can also inflate it with your hands by kneeling down and practicing your chest compressions on it - either way it inflates in a minute or less. The dump valve deflated it instantly.
The Mazama 2L hydration bladder I recently got in a Cairn box also passed the test. I like how wide the opening is, and the shape and profile fit better in my pack than my Camelbaks.
This was my first time using the Sawyer filter extensively, and I didn't love it. Using with a Smartwater bottle as a straw was unsatisfying - you have to suck too hard to get a good drink ... squeezing it from the bottle into the bladder wasn't ideal either. I actually used my back up chlorine tablets the second day instead - much simpler. I will probably stick to my Steripen and/or chlorine in the future.
I decided to hike in a long sleeved Columbia Ice shirt this time and I like that a lot - rather than short sleeves and sunscreen.

Overall another fantastic trip - I am so thankful that this is what I enjoy and that I am able to do it!
Aravaipa Canyon
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Our intention for the hike was to go in a couple of hours and turn around. Though the hike is not difficult technically, hiking through the water for hours is tiring :D We were thinking we'd find a couple of canyons - but we only found/ventured into Hells acre on the way back. Water level was ankle to knee deep & we found ourselves hiking in the water most of the way to our turn around spot - as it was cooler and easy to follow. Do not wear tevas - as rocks will be under foot all the time. I changed out of mine right away & put on boots (use socks too - and tie tightly to avoid the rocks entering).
We went in 3.4 miles, just before I guess Javelina Canyon -- there were waterfalls and we had lunch. The hike back with the sun starting to go down cast beautiful light in the canyon & we found our trek back (with the current) to be prettier and easier. We used a side trail for about a mile coming back and made better time. Our moving avg was 1.9 mph overall - so not fast whatsover. We hiked about 6.5 miles - as we must have hiked more directly coming back. We did run into 4 seperate groups of people & it was fun to chat. We were the only ones not there for multiple days. One hardy group of elderly women did the hike end to end w/ 1 night camping. Woohoo for them :y: They said the prettiest part of the canyon was in the middle - guess we would have had to go another mile or two in. Next time : )) We were very lucky to buy our permits the day before, as everything was sold out. Yee haa. Enjoy!

Purple fireweed, fairy trumpets, bottle brush etc..
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Hell Hole Valley - Deer Creek
Had opportunity to hike with a diverse group of fine hikers, 10 including me, guys, gals, old and young. We hiked about 2.5 miles up east end of Aravaipa Canyon and setup our camp for nite. We hiked in and out of creek but water wasn't very cold. Got some snowflakes and light rain the first nite -- had some good bourbon, whatnot and warm grub to keep us from freezing. The next day we hiked 4 miles up Hell Hole Valley (canyon) along Deer Creek and back. A wonderful experience. That nite was clear but cold, more bourbon, whatnot and warm grub to keep us warm. Ice over everything next morning. Hiked backed out after warm breakfast on day 3.
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This is the 5th of the past 7 years that I've visited Aravaipa/Turkey Creek area during the Thanksgiving weekend. I thoroughly enjoy hiking Aravaipa, its side canyons, and side canyons of the side canyons. So much to see, and still so much more to explore.

I started my day waking up at 3am. On the road at 3:45.

Arrived at the official th and signed the register at 7am.

Continued driving to parking area at Turkey Creek. Started hiking west down Aravaipa.

Hiked and explored for 3.5 miles before reversing course and heading back to Turkey Creek.

Lunch at the car around 1pm.

Drove further up Turkey Creek to dead end just before fork in road climbs out of the canyon to the right.

Hiked Turkey Creek and checked out two side canyons off Turkey. The first side canyon I explored came to a 15 foot dryfall. I climbed a dead tree that was wedged into the pothole below. Just above the dryfall was a grove of maples mixed in green and yellow leaves. This canyon split into two arms. First I followed the right arm until it became less interesting. Then, I turned back and tried the left arm. This arm led me to more maples that were mostly yellow, with one tall tree almost completely in red.

I made my way back out to Turkey and headed upstream towards the next side canyon. This side canyon consisted mostly of stone chutes and potholes. I followed this one all the way up and out the top. This is when I discovered the dark gray clouds and winds that were starting to drift in from the west.

I hustled back down towards Turkey and back to my vehicle. I arrived at the Tahoe later than planned. It was almost 5pm and I wanted to get out of Turkey Creek before darkness crept in. Its a rough road in spots and could be a little tricky to navigate in the dark. Plus, that threatening rainstorm probably wouldn't help much.

Felt good to be back on the Aravaipa Road heading towards Klondyke. It started to sprinkle on and off, but I was already out of the rough stuff and creek crossings. Continued on towards Klondyke Rd.

I heard a loud noise as I approached highway 70. Sounded like someone had just pelted the rear drivers side with a handful of gravel. But, I was in the middle of nowhere. I continued on. Nothing seemed to be wrong.

About 65 miles later as I drove through Globe, I heard a loud clunking noise and realized my left rear tire had just blown out. I could hear that I was on the rim. Pulled over just short of the light at 188 turnoff. Sure enough, not just a flat, but the tire looked like it had just exploded.

Threw on my headlamp, set up a safety strobe and started the tire change as it sprinkled. A couple Globe policemen showed up and provided extra roadside safety support. Back on the road at 8:10pm.

Then, it just started pouring almost immediately. The sky was so dark that I could not even see outlines of mountains. The lack of any light and hard rain made visibility pretty scarce. It rained my entire ride home. Arrived at the house around 9:30pm to wrap up an action packed 18 hour day.

Cottonwoods are looking pretty thin. Sycamores beautiful mix of color. Maples in Turkey Creek side canyons mixed. Many still green. Some solid yellow and came across one that was solid red.
Aravaipa Canyon
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Did a 3 day backpacking trip in the canyon. Actually my third visit there. All my visits have been in October, but I think this year was the warmest of the three. Water level was as close as I can tell the same as it had been for the others. The main difference was the lack of animals. Last time I bet I saw 30 big horned sheep, this time not a one. Last time I had to hike through various groups of javelina totaling about 30 along the trail, this time not one in sight. I don't know if this was caused by the warmth or not. I did see two large families of coatimundi. I love watching them as they always seem to be having so much fun playing in the trees. There were several different types of birds, hawks, great blue herons, lots of song birds. Lots more people too. Last time there was only one person I saw in three days, this time it was nine. Granted nine people spread over an eleven mile span doesn't make it all too crowded.

The water was great. Cool, about 40 degrees I would guess. This time I was smart and wore a pair of gaiters!!! They are worth their weight in gold. Not once did I have any sand or gravel in by boots. I would never do this hike again without gaiters.

I camped near Horse Camp Canyon.

This was the first time I knew to check for Hell Hole Canyon. In fact that was a goal of this trip. Hell Hole is so misnamed, it is a fantastic place. So different from Aravaipa, but still beautiful in it's own way. I hit it about 9:30am and exited just before noon. I found that a lot of it's beauty was more visible without the sun being directly overhead. Early morning and probably late afternoon are the best times to see this place. It's a slot canyon, not a sandstone one like Antelope, but well worth a visit. After about a mile and a half in I hit a point that it felt like the temperature spiked a good 10 degrees within a few feet. And it kept raising from there on. The walls were getting shorter, must have been getting towards the end of the canyon. It wasn't nearly as nice to view either.

Figuring out the distance and AEG hiked is the hard part. My GPS said I hiked 35.04 miles in the 3 days. But looking at the track shows that I must have scaled a lot of vertical cliffs. With the satellite signals reflecting off the walls I know this number is ridiculous. The BLM map's numbers show it would have been a minimum of at least 20 miles. After playing in MapDex, BaseCamp, and Google Earth I figure 25 to 30 miles is probably about accurate. Seeing as a hike here is like a billiard ball bouncing off the rails, most of the distance covered is spent crossing the stream. Likewise most of the AEG encountered is climbing out of the stream a hundred times. The GPS came up with an ascent of 1529' and a descent of 2468'... From the topos it looks like the west entry into the stream is at about 2600', the entrance to Hell Hole is at 3100' and as far as I went into Hell Hole it gets up to about 3300'. Add in a few side trips and climbing out of the stream a hundred times, I guess I'd figure about 1300' is fair.
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5am departure from Pima.
Very scenic drive into the East entrance during sunrise.
7am entrance into Aravaipa.
Downstream to Hell Hole Canyon and in up to the spring/hanging gardens.
Back upstream to Turkey Creek and a visit up to the cliff dwelling.
Overcast all day, water felt great, lots of greenery with hints of autumn to come.
Wildlife - 7 javelina (with young), 1 deer, 1 bobcat, 20 vultures, 2 hawks, 1 ring-neck snake, many creek fish, 1 heron, 10,000 caterpillars, 1000 butterflies, insects of all kinds & a very unpleasant amount of biting mosquitoes.
Solid 9 out of 10 trip (1 point deduction due to the mosquitoes).
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Got an early morning start at 8 from the TH on Fri and reached our planned campsite 6.8mi in at 11:30 for lunch. Spent the afternoon exploring Booger Canyon. Sat covered the full distance of Deer Creek Canyon to the wilderness boundry and back to camp. Had a troublesome canyon intersection filled with house sized boulders and log jams, fun finding a path through this mixing bowl of boulders and wood. Our crew had a great time watching the big horns on the cliffs above Deer Creek. Sunday AM back out and lunch at Los Hermanos in Superior.

Permit $$
Permit Required

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To canyon trip

West Trailhead

The access road is usually suitable for passenger cars year round.

From Phoenix (120 miles, 2 to 2.5 hours): Take US Highway 60 to Superior. At Superior, take State Highway 177 to Winkelman. At Winkelman, turn right / south onto State Highway 77, 11 miles to Aravaipa Road (at Central Arizona College). Turn left and go 12 miles to the West trailhead along a paved and graded dirt road. From the trailhead, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the west wilderness boundary.

From Tucson (70 miles, 1.5 to 2 hours): Take US Highway 77 through Oracle Junction to the Aravaipa Road (8 miles north of Mammoth). Turn right on Aravaipa Road and go 12 miles to the West trailhead along a paved and graded dirt road. From the trailhead, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the west wilderness boundary.

From Safford (115 miles, 2.5 to 3 hours) Take US Highway 70 west for about 73 miles. Just before Globe, turn left on State Highway 77. Drive 30 miles to Aravaipa Road (at Central Arizona College). Turn left and go 12 miles to the West trailhead along a paved and graded dirt road. From the trailhead, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the west wilderness boundary.

East Trailhead

The access road is not regularly maintained, and crosses Aravaipa Creek several times in the last 10 miles. High-clearance vehicles are recommended. Towing assistance is 50 miles away. Flash flooding can make the road impassable. Call ahead (928-348-4400) for road conditions.

From Phoenix (188 miles, 4.5 to 5 hours): Take US Highway 60 to Globe. At Globe, continue east on US Highway 70 to the Klondyke Road (8 miles past Ft. Thomas). Turn right onto this graded dirt road, go 24 miles to the "Y" intersection, turn right and go another 16 miles to the trailhead. From the trailhead parking and kiosk, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the east wilderness boundary.

From Tucson (148 miles, 2.5 to 3 hours): Take Interstate 10 east to Willcox. In Willcox, take Exit 340 north (left) toward Bonita along the Ft. Grant Road. At the "T" in Bonita, turn left and go 38 miles to the East trailhead. From the trailhead parking and kiosk, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the east wilderness boundary.

From Safford (53 miles, 1 to 1.5 hours) Take US Highway 70 west past Pima and turn left on the Klondyke Road. On this graded dirt road, go 24 miles to the "Y" intersection, turn right and go another 16 miles to the trailhead. Go through the gate to park at the trailhead. From the trailhead parking and kiosk, it is a 1.5-mile hike through Nature Conservancy land to the east wilderness boundary.

Is there a road connecting East and West ends of the canyon?

Travel between the two ends of the wilderness is best done using major highways. For those who are seeking a back country adventure, the "Rug Road" connects upper Turkey Creek on the East end of the wilderness with the town of Mammoth near the West end of the wilderness. This is an extremely rugged four-wheel-drive route for very experienced 4WD operators. Travelers should allow two days for this 84 mile trip and pack plenty of water and emergency supplies. The road begins in Turkey Creek, about 1.8 miles south of the East trailhead and ends on Copper Creek Road in Mammoth.

The Aravaipa Canyon Road (West end) says "local traffic only." Can I pass through?

Yes. Aravaipa Road is a county-maintained road that has washed out in the past. Due to these occurrences, travel is at your own risk. Having a permit gives you permission to pass through.

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