register help

Agua Fria River via Badger, AZ

no permit
579 88 1
Guide 88 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Cordes
3.9 of 5 by 31
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 350 feet
Elevation Gain 235 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 - 4 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 5.18
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
1  2018-09-16
Badger Springs Trail
1  2018-08-26
Badger Springs Trail
12  2018-08-19 kelly14
11  2018-01-06 Bradshaws
6  2017-04-29 scikopas
3  2017-04-14 MountainMatt
11  2016-12-29
Badger - Baby - Agua Fria Loop
5  2016-05-23 kelly14
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
Author canyonD
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 42
Trips 2 map ( 9 miles )
Age 55 Male Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Co-Author joebartels
co-author avatarGuides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map (21,429 Miles)
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:32pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Big Canyon Rock Hopping
by canyonD & joebartels

The hike to the Agua Fria River is an easy 0.8mi hike from the trailhead. Once there you will be rock hopping thru the riverbed. Miles of rock hopping. Good footwear recommended. Your calves might cramp if you don't pre-hydrate, hydrate, keep electrolytes in balance or over do it.

It is a large canyon with much to see that is very cool. I saw mountain lion tracks and evidence of either racoons or ringtails digging after the crayfish that live in the algae filled pools in the river bed. The stream bed is choked with huge boulders and it takes some effort to make progress up or down the canyon. It's easiest to navigate with little to no water flowing. The boulders form many interesting areas to climb and explore. Don't let the minimal elevation change fool you, boulder hopping takes more energy.

Your destination is arbitrary. Data for this page is to a high point 2mi in and back. From the higher perched granite on the right you have good views further down canyon towards Perry Tank Canyon. This perch is maybe five minutes past what appears to be a semi-perennial pool judging by cattails found in abundance.

CanyonD's Visit
I hiked Agua Fria in late June. It was very dry at that time, but there were still pools of water. The water was nasty looking and I dont think I would try to filter it unless I had no options. I am sure the pools of water are fresher now with the area getting some rain storms in the past several weeks. I explored down Badger Springs road and Bloody Basin Rd.

Badger Springs has some cool 4x4 roads around it. The real reason I selected this hike was to test my new Dodge Durango 4x4 on some dirt trails. I was very pleased with the offroad abilities of my Durango and I only drove about 50% of the roads back here. Due to fire danger, most of AZ was closed to hiking. This area was about the only area I could find within 2 hours of Chandler. This is BLM managed land and informaiton about the area can be obtained below. They were very helpful when I called.

In the Area
Bloody Basin Road leads back to a real cool ranch in a valley about 5-8 miles back from I17. The road is best tackled in a 4x4, but a car could make most of the road back to the park boundary. You can actually drive this road all the way back to Cave Creek, but the drive is about 3 to 4 hours. Also there is a wash near cave creek that can be impassable if the water is flowing. There are many Indian Ruins back in this area and you can get details in guide books at REI. The Indian Ruins are located down infrequently traveled access roads that can very very rough and might required a lifted 4x4.

Updated with new trailhead location. Data and description revised/reorganized to make sense.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2002-10-20 canyonD & joebartels
  • description related image
    guide related

BLM Division Details
General National Monument Info The Agua Fria National Monument is located 40 miles north of Phoenix.

Brief Description The 71,100-acre Agua Fria National Monument contains one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. At least 450 prehistoric sites and four major settlement areas are known to exist within the monument. This area contains two mesas - Perry and Black Mesa - and the Agua Fria River Canyon. In addition to its rich record of human history, the monument contains a diversity of vegetative communities, pristine riparian habitat, topographical features and a wide array of wildlife. Elevations range from 2,150 to 4,600 feet.

Access Take Interstate 17 to either Badger Springs or Bloody Basin Road.

Permits Required Activities that were permitted on these public lands before the designation, such as grazing and authorized rights-of-way are still allowed, except for new mining claims. No new permits will be authorized until a monument management plan is completed.

Recreational Opportunities Prehistoric archaeological sites, such as stone pueblos and rock art, are numerous but remote and inaccessible. Currently, no sites have been developed for public visitation. Visitors who encounter archaeological sites are encouraged to observe, enjoy and photograph them while leaving all artifacts as found for others to discover and appreciate. Artifacts are a non-renewable resource, so we must take care of what remains. Defacing archaeological sites is vandalism and is punishable by law. Additional activities include wildlife viewing, photography, primitive camping, hiking, hunting and rugged back-country vehicle travel (no off-road travel allowed).

Safety Visits to the area require special planning. Potential hazards exist, including rugged and unmarked roads, poisonous reptiles and insects, extreme heat and flash floods. Visitors should bring plenty of water and gasoline, and stay on main roads. Four-wheel drive is recommended.
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 25 deeper Triplog Reviews
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
my daughter and I have been sick with bronchitis for almost 3 months! It’s been endless doctor appointments, coughing and medicine. My daughter even broke 2 ribs from coughing so much but we both have been feeling better so I suggested a hike. We both wanted to get out of the house and I had to try out my new Nikon D3400 :) After hiking for about an hour we both quickly realized we weren’t as well as we thought :( We both were panting, coughing and sweating like an old overweight dog. I’ll be giving it a few more weeks before I hit the trail again

This was the first time I’ve ever been to the Agua Fria and it have absolutely NO WATER in it. It was a beautiful day but a very exhausting and rough day of hiking!
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Well I drove down Bloody Basin Road just to check it out and see how far my corolla would take me. I drove until I came to where the Agua Fria crossed over the road. I think I could have made it but did not want to take the chance of getting munsoned out here.
So I ended up back at Badger Springs. I wished I would have at least worn my gaiters today as I kept getting stickers in my socks and shoes.
The water levels was down a lot since my last trip. And today I did get to see the petroglyphs that I missed my last time out. A really nice day to be out on the trails. ... GdAE
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Richinbar & Badger Springs
looking for hikes we haven't done before
john suggested badger springs trail, which we've all driven by many times without stopping
he also found richinbar mine for enough to make a day of it
got an early start and set out for the mine while still dark
breezy and chilly until the sun came up
explored the mine ruins, which are extensive
found the petroglyphs to the north
think we missed the old townsite
checked out the old corral area
lots of cool old stuff
drove two miles north to badger springs exit and hiked down badger springs trail to the agua fria
went upstream through the boulder playground - lots of fun with plenty of water flowing
found a cairned trail and then an old road that went up on perry mesa
didn't really see or know of a destination up there, so retraced our steps
the mesa is huge, with great views and much more to explore
on the way out, found the petroglyphs at the confluence of the wash and the river
the day warmed up nicely
we had thought about hiking up to the black mesa ruins, but will save that area for another time
had to get back for the super bowl ;)
fun day seeing something new - two good ideas, john
thanks for driving
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Perry Tank Canyon Out n Back
What a great day for a hike. The clouds worked with us and the wind wasn't too bad. The water water was super clear and tasted great through my new filter setup. The water was just low enough that we did not get wet on the way through, good thing it was cold. We saw what I think were brown trout maybe Gila. That is good news. Maybe in June my party can get this leg for the wet dry mapping for further exploration. On the way out I finally saw the petroglyphs at badger springs. Gotta look up more and less at my feet. The day was marred by the family happily chipping away with rock hammers and using metal detectors so close to the site. There is a clear sign...but as I did not look up, they did not look at the sign. Please respect our public lands when your out there so others can have the same experience. And that is the end of my rant..o pick up your shotgun shells..geez...ok now I'm done.
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Started early and was a little chilly at first - all the bouldering warmed me up pretty quick. Had a great time exploring the area and kept looking for the petroglyphs. As my group and I were leaving, a couple coming in mentioned that they were going to check out the "rock art" that was directly above my head at the junction of the spring and the river - we'd walked right by without even seeing it. We had the place pretty much to ourselves for the majority of the hike, and there was a good amount of water in the river. Stopped 2 miles in for some lunch - seemed like a good turn around spot. Saw remnants from the mine, which was pretty cool and made me wonder how they got all that pipe back there. Stopped at Rock Springs Cafe for pie on the way home - it was a great day!
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Wow, where to start :-k I went on this hike to see some of the cool pictographs and ruins. I got to the trailhead at 09:45. I've been here many times and this trip didn't seem any different. The hike started out great :) lots of flowers, butterflies, birds and water. Turned north at the end of badger springs trail. I went up stream for about 1.5 miles at that point I took a trail that showed up on my GPS to the top of the Perry mesa. From the top of the mesa I headed south. Perry mesa is as flat as a board so the going was very easy. I finally made it to the pictographs I was looking for and they didn't disappoint. This is where my hike turned in to a nightmare :o Now, before I get started :stop: I have no one to blame but myself. I didn't do enough research on this hike so I was TOTALLY unprepared for what was about to happen. From the pictograph wall I started my descent back down into the canyon. It was the roughest 2 miles I have ever traveled. Very, very rocky and many of the rock were loose. Some of the rocks that were loose were as big as a garden shed and the slightest touch made them move like they were made of styrofoam. This slot canyon had 4 or 5 sections of steep waterfalls that I had to climb through and one at the bottom that had I had to go around. At the bottom of this small canyon is where I ran out of water :doh: This has NEVER happened to me before. I had 3/4 of my water at the top of this little canyon but it was SO difficult that I burned though it. I was VERY,VERY LUCKY I had 3 water treatment tabs in my pack and even more lucky there was water flowing in these canyons. The lack of water and the difficulty of this hike drained my energy so bad that I had to stop every two or three hundred yard to rest. This hike took me twice as long as I anticipated and I use 3 time the water I would usually use on a hike this long. I ended my hike with absolutely ZERO water in my pack. At the car I had 1 gallon of water, 2 cold Gatorades and 2 frozen water bottles. The second I stop moving my legs began to cramp. I drank both the Gatorades an most of the gallon of water before I even sat down in my car. I've never felt so stupid or scared in my life. This will never, ever happen to me again....

This hike ended up being one of those life changing events that I've hear so many people talk about. I over estimated my abilities and under estimated the hike. This scared me and will forever change the way I hike.....
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Decided to check this out this morning on a whim, as it was the first hike in an AZ hiking book that I have. I'm glad I did! My knees needed a break after hiking the Superstition Ridgeline this past Monday. This hike was a nice change of pace, though hiking along a river & bouldering takes more effort than you think! The first .8 mile or so while hiking along Badger Springs trail, I was thinking that this was going to be a boring hike, as the trail was along a dry & sandy wash. Once this trail meets up with the Agua Fria river, the real fun began. I brought my dog along, which made things interesting, as he is super athletic, but not sure footed. There was plenty of water, and I only saw a few groups of people. If you enjoy hiking in riparian areas, this is a gem that is an easy drive from Phoenix! The turn around point is arbitrary -- I turned around around where the official route ends as it was starting to get warm out. Like most river hikes, the way back is always super quick as you know the route better.
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
It was so nice out today I decided to take the wife and kids out on a short hike :)

There has been a lot of water flowing through here since the last time I was here :o The trail was hard to find in many spots and a lot of the rocks were loose, even the really BIG rocks would move some. This made for an entertaining hike :sweat: not only for me watching my wife and kids fighting to stay dry but the other way around as well :sl: We made it in about one and a half miles in before everone wanted to stop and rest :? I got everone comfortable then headed up to the top of the canyon to check things out. From the canyon floor, there is a fence post sticking out from the top of the canyon wall, so I had to see why it was there. I was hoping it would be a mine shaft or something cool like that but when I got to it, It was simply the end of the fence :doh: So I headed back down, gathered up the troops and headed back to the car.

Great day! :GB:
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Went looking for an escape from the endless rain. A cool, moist evening seemed perfect for a desert hike. Flowers, greenery, and a sandy canyon bottom filled with the fragrant smell of canyon ragweed made for a nice hike. Roamed around the Agua Fria for a bit, watched the sunset, saw the petroglyphs, then headed home. I've always thought the Agua Fria was sin agua, but I was wrong. Nice area.
Agua Fria River via Badger
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I had to be in Payson for a family get-together so I was planning to hike a trail up in Payson but with the weather so nice I changed my mind. I love hiking in the desert while its raining. I still had to be up in Payson by noon so I had to make it a short hike. I chose this hike because I know the area pretty well and I love the rock hopping in the canyon. I got to the trailhead to find I was by myself :y: but I also noticed that there was a lot of broken glass from car doors :x so I packed all my stuff I had for my weekend in Payson into my bed and locked it up. It was absolutely beautiful! There were tons of flowers and butterflies :) . Once I reached badger springs I decided instead of heading south like I usually do, I would go north up the canyon. The rock hopping was going fairly well till the rain started coming down a little harder. Those granite boulders get a little slick ;) so after about 2 miles I went up. I climbed out of the canyon and followed the ridge line back toward my truck. Going off trail was slow going, the ground was super soft and the plants were very sharp.

I got to within 1/4 mile from my truck " CRASH!! HISS!! SNORT!!" Two deer jump out of some bushes less than 30' from me :o !! It scared me down to my soul!!! One of those scares that you're sure you've lost a few years of your life for. If I hadn't been sweating so bad I'm sure I would have wet myself.

After a good long rest I climbed down off the ridge to my truck and hauled :pk: up north..... But I was still about 40 minutes late :oops:

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From the Valley, take Interstate 17 north for approximately 40 miles to the Badger Springs Exit 256. Drive southeast on the Badger Springs road past the restrooms to the gravel circle trailhead.
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
help comment issue

end of page marker