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Aravaipa Canyon

Trailhead: Aravaipa East or West

Length: 24 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Wilderness Area: Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Journal: "Aravaipa Canyon" and "Aravaipa Revisited"

Aravaipa Canyon

Directions to Trailhead:

There are two trailheads.

West: From Phoenix take US Highway 60 east to Superior, drive south on AZ 177 to Winkelman, and then south on AZ 77, 11 miles to Aravaipa Road. Turn east and drive 12 miles to the trailhead. The last 8 miles are dirt, but passable in a sedan.

East: From Phoenix (190 miles/4.5 to 5 hours). Take US Highway 60 to Globe. Continue on US Highway 70 to Klondyke Road (8 miles east of Fort Thomas). Take this graded dirt road 45 miles to the East Trailhead. Several stream crossings (NOT suitable for sedans) will be encountered in the last 10 miles. High clearance vehicles are required. 4WD vehicles are strongly encouraged!

UPDATE: The East entrance to the Aravaipa Wilderness Area is closed due to flooding.  Please check the BLM website for more information.

Trail Description:

An incredible adventure is the best way to describe this area. First of all, the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is run by the Bureau of Land Management, and they limit its use to 50 people per day. (Thirty from the west end, and twenty from the east.) Before you are permitted to enter the wilderness, you need to obtain a permit from BLM. Please contact the BLM for more information on obtaining a permit.

There are no maintained trails in the wilderness. Walking through the creek for extended periods is required, so don't bring your best boots. Tennis shoes or Tevas work fine. Be sure to bring a topographical map and use it! There are no directional signs in the canyon so monitor your progress by keeping track of the numerous side canyons as you pass them. Good map reading skills are essential. We encountered a boy scout troop that was a mile and a half from where they thought they were!

Camping is permitted anywhere within the wilderness and we found some really nice sites between Virgus and Booger Canyons. Due to the lack of trails and the rugged terrain, plan on a slow pace for your travel. We were only able to average about 1.5 mph.

This area is a haven for all kinds of wildlife. We have seen: blue herons, egrets, ringtail foxes, rattlesnakes as well as the tracks of deer, black bear, and raccoon.

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