Corbitt's National Parks
     Agua Fria
                National Monument


2000: National Monument

Size: 72,544 acres

2011 visitors: Approx. 82,000

Stamp: No

Rating (1-5):

About the Site

This Monument contains one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. So says the Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for maintaining this site and developing a management plan. But if it's so significant, why wasn't it designated a National Monument before 2000? Anyway, at least 450 prehistoric sites are known to exist within the Monument boundaries. It also contains a diversity of vegetative communities, pristine riparian habitat, topographical features and a wide array of wildlife.

What You're Going to See

This is still pretty much an undeveloped area. It was only designated in 2000, and the BLM is still working on a management plan. Activities that were permitted on these public lands before 2000, like grazing and authorized rights-of-way are still allowed, except for new mining claims. There are no facilities on the site, except for an information kiosk just off the freeway.

Personal Observations

When I visited Agua Fria earlier in 2004, it struck me as just another patch of desert. I grew up in this area, 40 miles to the south, and to my unscientific eye there's nothing special about this place. But I must admit I haven't explored it at all, and I haven't looked for any archaeological sites.

Since there's no visitors center on site, there's no stamp. I haven't investigated the regional office in Phoenix to see if it has a stamp -- I'll let you know. And I'm not sure how many visitors it gets; since no BLM people are on duty at the entrance, I doubt they know either.

Getting There

From Phoenix, take I-17 north (or from Flagstaff take I-17 south) about 40 miles to exit 259. The road east leads directly into the Monument.

Nearby Attractions

Tonto National Monument is about 60 miles to the southeast. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is about 90 miles to the south, on the other side of Phoenix. Hohokam Pima National Monument is 30 miles southwest of Phoenix. Tuzigoot National Monument is about 40 miles to the north. Walnut Canyon National Monument is about 80 miles north and east, directly east of Flagstaff. Meteor Crater (not a National Monument) is about 80 miles northeast.

Visited April 2004.