Description - The monument encompasses two mesas and the canyon of the Agua Fria River. Elevations range from 2,150 feet above sea level along the Agua Fria Canyon to about 4,600 feet in the northern hills. This expansive mosaic of semi-desert area, cut by ribbons of valuable riparian forest, offers one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. In addition to the rich record of human history, the monument contains outstanding biological resources.
- 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.
Recreation - Activities include wildlife viewing, photography, primitive camping, hiking, hunting and rugged back-country vehicle travel (no off-road travel allowed).
Climate - Mild winters: lows in the 30s, highs in the 60s; hot summers, lows in the 70s, highs in the 110s. Rainy seasons January/ February and July through September. Average annual precipitation: 15 inches. Average days of sunshine: over 300. Average humidity during dry seasons: 5-15%. Average humidity during rainy seasons: 30-50% (except when actually raining!)
The sun can be intense. Water, hats, and sunscreen are advised. Sturdy shoes or hiking boots are recommended for the Upper Ruin Trail. Sneakers or other good walking shoes are recommended for the Lower Ruin Trail.
The Agua Fria National Monument is located 40 miles north of Phoenix.
Take Interstate 17 to either Badger Springs or Bloody Basin Road.