Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Trails

Winkelman, Arizona

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Although severe flooding in 1983 and again in 1993 destroyed many mature cottonwood and sycamore trees, Aravaipa Canyon, cutting through the northern end of the Galiuro Mountains, remains a classic example of desert riparian habitat. Arizona ash, sycamore, walnut, fremont cottonwood, willow, hackberry, oak, and box elder line the entire elevenmile river corridor. The uplands above the river support saguaro cactus, barrel cactus, yucca, ocotillo and other plants typical of the Sonoran Desert. Sharp-eyed hikers frequently see desert bighorn sheep, which inhabit the upper reaches of the canyon, peering down from the rim. Other wildlife abounds. Troops of coatimundi are frequently encountered in the Aravaipa Wilderness region, as well as mule and white-tailed deer, mountain lion, black bear, ringtail, and coyote. The creek is habitat for minnows and suckers. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs above the canyon, and, as is typical with desert riparian habitats, an enormous variety of birds congregate along the creek bottom. The remains of dwellings show that paleo-Indians lived in Aravaipa Canyon region, and until the late nineteenth century, the wilderness area was inhabited by Apache people. This trail guide covers an area that has no maintained trails.
Guide to Arizona's Wilderness Areas

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Guide to Arizona's Wilderness Areas

by Tom Dollar & Jerry Sieve (Westcliffe Publishers)

Although severe flooding in 1983 and again in 1993 destroyed many mature cottonwood and sycamore trees, Aravaipa Canyon, cutting through the northern end of the Galiuro Mountains, remains a classic example of desert riparian habitat. Arizona ash, sycamore, walnut, fremont cottonwood, willow, hackberry, oak, and box elder line the entire elevenmile river corridor. The uplands above the river support saguaro cactus, barrel cactus, yucca, ocotillo and other plants typical of the Sonoran Desert. Sharp-eyed hikers frequently see desert bighorn sheep, which inhabit the upper reaches of the canyon, peering down from the rim. Other wildlife abounds. Troops of coatimundi are frequently encountered in the Aravaipa Wilderness region, as well as mule and white-tailed deer, mountain lion, black bear, ringtail, and coyote.

The creek is habitat for minnows and suckers. Peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs above the canyon, and, as is typical with desert riparian habitats, an enormous variety of birds congregate along the creek bottom. The remains of dwellings show that paleo-Indians lived in Aravaipa Canyon region, and until the late nineteenth century, the wilderness area was inhabited by Apache people. This trail guide covers an area that has no maintained trails.

©  Tom Dollar & Jerry Sieve/Westcliffe Publishers. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Winkelman
Trail Type: Several options
Trailhead Elevation: 2,600 feet
Top Elevation: 4,900 feet
Local Contacts: BLM, Safford Field Office
Local Maps: USGS Booger Canyon, Brandenburg Mountain, Holy Joe Peak, Oak Grove Canyon
Topo Map: Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Trails Topographic Map
Guide Book: Guide to Arizona's Wilderness Areas Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

3/3/2008

We hiked Aravaipa up to Javelina Canyon since we didn't get started until around 11:00 a.m. The water was a little cold but after awhile we got used to it. It did seem easier most of the time to hike in the water rather than climb over all the piles of flood debris. I last hiked Aravaipa Canyon before the 2006 flood and the changes to the canyon are amazing, especially in the lower canyon. I recommend wearing tennies or something similar. Some us wore water sandals, some open toed and some closed and we were continuously emptying out the small gravel and the sand. Once we got really into the canyon it was spectacular; but I am biased since this canyon is one of my favorites. No one else in our party of 6 had been there before but they all want to return and go further into the canyon. We saw black phoebes along the way and lots of small fish in the creek...and, of course, herons along the road after the hike. Unfortunately, we didn't see any bighorn sheep. And, we didn't make any wrong turns into side canyons...we watched out for that! p.s. The hike was on 2/24. No problems with water levels on our hike.

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