Descent From Black Mesa
This is an old trail that descends down the east side of Black Mesa from Sunset Point down to the Agua Fria River Canyon in the Agua Fria National Monument. This is a pleasant in and out hike to the (usually trickling) river, or a possible exit after an adventure down the canyon from Badger Springs.
Take the I-17 exit for the Sunset Point Rest Area, but turn to the east. (The rest area is west.) The trail begins just beyond the end of the pavement on the left.
The trail angles down to the bottom of a side canyon in the first quarter mile. For the remainder of the hike, the trail follows this side canyon (Let's call this Sunset Point Canyon.) until it reaches the Agua Fria River about 800 feet below the rest area.
The trail stays mostly on the right (south) bank of the wash, except for 4 excursions to the left bank. Near the bottom, the trail angles to the right (south) to meet the river about 1/4 mile below the entry of the side canyon. There is a large granite rock protruding from the rocky river bed at this point, which is a good landmark for locating the bottom end of the trail.
From the end of the trail, one can explore up the rugged Agua Fria Canyon along the rocky river bed. (Downstream is less scenic.) Then the return is up the same trail.
There are 2 gates in barbed wire fences along the route. Please leave them as found (whether open or closed).
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.