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Aravaipa Canyon

Aravaipa creek
Egret enjoying Aravaipa creek
Aravaipa creek
Hikers in Aravaipa creek
map: Aravaipa canyon


How to Get There
This hike is located near Winkleman, AZ.

To get to the West trailhead: from the Phoenix area, take US-60 East toward Superior, AZ. At Superior, turn South on HWY-177 towards Winkleman. Continue South on HWY-77 for about 11 miles to signed Aravaipa Canyon Road on your left. The road turns to dirt and it's another 12 miles to the BLM trailhead. The well graded dirt road is usually in good shape, even for passenger cars. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead.

To get to the East trailhead: from the Phoenix area, take US-60 East to Globe. From Globe, take HWY-70 to the signed Klondyke road. Turn right and take this well graded dirt road 24 miles to Bonita Junction. Turn right and take the high clearance vehicle dirt road 17 miles to the trailhead.
Aravapa Canyon
Tucson Area and Southern Arizona

Hike details

10.50 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
The canyon length is 10.5 miles one way.
5.50 [Hours]
We went a little more than five miles in and turned around. It took us a leisurely five hours with a 30 minute stop for lunch.
Elevation Change
800 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Gain
400 Total Elevation Gain [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 400 ft.
Hike Trail Type
  • Out and Back
  • One way - Shuttle


Best Season
  • April
  • May
  • September
Worst Season
  • January
  • February
  • December
Season Details
Spring or Fall
Date Hike completed
May 08, 2010


Solitude Details
Not many people on this hike. The permit system caps the maximum amount of people in the canyon at 50. 30 from the West and 20 from the east.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
walking in water is fun! It's a fun hike for those of us that don't need a flat, well marked trail. You control how long you want to hike. This is a Moderate hike.


Permit Info
A permit from the BLM is required for this hike. The BLM-Safford office is (520) 348-4400. Make your reservations several months in advance, as weekends fill up quickly. There's a small fee to pay at the trailhead after you get your reservation.
Be Aware of
boulder hopping, route finding, flash flood danger, lots of walking through water, permits required

Hike up Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona.

Most of the hiking you will do on this hike will be in the creek. It's definitely a different kind of hike than most. There is no marked trail as you just follow the creek the entire hike. You will get wet and your progress will be slow. Don't be frustrated, relax and enjoy it. There's lots of vegetation and shade on this hike. As an added bonus, hiking in the creek is about 10 degrees cooler than hiking in the nearby desert.

I've never entered from the East trailhead. The hikes we've done have been day hikes from the West trailhead and just hiking as far as we felt like.

At the start of the hike (West trailhead) be aware of the private property on the left of the creek. Stay right and avoid private property so we can continue to enjoy access to this area. You'll be in Nature Conservatory owned land to start. After about a mile, you'll enter the wilderness.

Footwear is an important consideration on this hike. Boots will provide good ankle support, but will carry water and make the hiking more strenuous. Tevas will drain water, but are unstable in the water and pick up pebbles very easily. I found draining, closed toed water shoes plus a liner sock works well for me.

There's plenty of wildlife in the canyon. We saw several groups of Javelena as well as a Arizona Diamondback Rattlesnake (a little too close up for our comfort).  

There's lots of side canyons to explore as well. For full enjoyment of this area, you might want to camp a night and spend some time exploring the side canyons during the day.


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