Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona | Camping

Agua Fria River, along bank with polished stone

Agua Fria National Monument is located 60 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. “Agua” is a nice word to hear in Arizona, and there is plenty of it in the picturesque canyon where the Agua Fria River resides. This oasis in the desert makes for excellent wading and swimming on a hot day. The river canyon is also a great place to view wildlife.

Over 450 prehistoric sites have been discovered in Agua Fria National Monument. There are several Native American petroglyphs, which can be found on the surfaces of boulders and cliff faces. Four major settlements have been found inside the monument.

This is a rugged and rocky landscape and hiking cross-country is often difficult. However, there are jeep roads which make for great hiking and mountain biking. Hiking the washes and canyons is exciting, though some can be a challenge due to the large boulders.

The scenery itself makes a trip to Agua Fria National Monument worthwhile, and if you visit in the spring you’ll likely be treated to a colorful display of wildflowers.

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Where in The World?

Dispersed camping is allowed in Agua Fria National Monument for up to 14 days. Here are two areas in the monument with campsites, Badger Springs Road and Bloody Basin Road…

Badger Springs Road

Badger Springs Road takes you to Badger Springs Trailhead, which is the start of a beautiful hike along a small spring fed creek in Badger Springs Wash. The hike culminates at a rock wall with many petroglyphs, besides the lovely Agua Fria River.

RV camping can be a bit tight along Badger Springs Road, so it’s best for small RVs.

Camping Elevation: 3,122 feet

GPS Coordinates: N 34 13.934’ W 112 05.956’

Directions to Camping Area: Take I-17 exit 256 and drive to the parking area at the end of Badger Springs Road. There are a handful of campsites in this area, including one north of the parking area and very close to the wash.

Badger Springs Road Area Map

Bloody Basin Road

Additional camping can be found along Bloody Basin Road to the north. Bloody Basin Road travels through the heart of Agua Fria National Monument and provides access to Pueblo La Plata, the remnants of a Native American community that existed from 1200 to 1450 AD.

Camping Elevation: 3,500 feet

GPS Coordinates: 34°16’59.0″N 112°07’07.0″W

Directions to Camping Area: Take I-17 exit 259 and drive east on Bloody Basin Road. There will be four or five good campsites before you reach the vault toilets and the road climbs the hill up the mesa. Beyond the vault toilets the road becomes rocky and is best for small rugged RVs with high ground clearance.

Bloody Basin Road Area Map

Agua Fria National Monument RV Camping Journal

April 3, 2010

I’m camped near the Badger Springs Trailhead, off Badger Springs Road.

This is an excellent spot to camp, as long as no one else is in this spot, as it’s about the only place to camp with a 25 foot trailer. It’s very convenient being so close to I-17. In fact, I can see and hear the interstate from here – thankfully, it doesn’t detract too much from the camping experience.

I may have headed up north and into these mountains a bit too early in the season. A couple nights ago it got down into the 30s and the high during the day was in the 50s. I arrived here on March 28th and about half of the days here have been nice (in the 70s and sunny, though noticeably cooler at night).

It’s a beautiful area with a nice variety of plant life and many birds. I had a roadrunner come up to my camper and I hear their calls often. This area would be more fun in warmer weather as you need to get wet in order to see it all. There is water in both Badger Springs Wash and Aqua Fria River, which is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Both the wash and the river make for excellent hiking and exploring.

Agua Fria National Monument Video Slideshow

Agua Fria River, along bank with polished stone

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