Arizona has many beautiful sites to see, the Grand Canyon being perhaps the most famous of them. However, scattered throughout the state are a long list of enchanted canyons that beckon for roaming spirits looking to dive into the marvels of planet earth. For the adventurous souls seeking solitude and to commune with earth’s beauty I have a place I visit annually that I would like to share with you.
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness lies 70 miles to the North of Tucson AZ. It is a naturally air conditioned canyon with a cool water stream that flows year round. There is no better way to beat the 106 degree heat of an Arizona summer than to enter this majestic canyon.
To get there from Tucson (70 miles, 1.5 to 2 hours): Take US Highway 77 through Oracle Junction to the Aravaipa Road, 8 miles north of Mammoth. Turn right on Aravaipa Road and go 12 miles to the West trailhead along a paved and graded dirt road.
You will need to acquire entry passes from the Bureau of Land Management to enter the canyon. They regulate the number of entries to 10 per day. Phone: (928) 348-4400. The canyon is 10 miles long.
After parking at the West end trail head you can sign a registry and begin your hike into the canyon. There is a slow decent down to the stream. The hike will be hot in summer and much needed relief comes when approaching the clear, cool shady stream. The further in you walk the higher the canyon walls. At points along the way, canyon walls shoot upwards of 400 feet above the creek. Wildlife is abundant in the canyon, great blue herons, javelina, humming birds, butterflies, bald eagles and much more. You will find pristine areas suitable for meditation and a swim. You will rarely encounter other parties.
This canyon was once a sacred hunting ground for the Apache Indians and their spirits linger, one can easily imagine. To protect the canyon, Congress created the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. Aravaipa Canyon’s outstanding scenery, wildlife, rich history, and opportunities for primitive recreation will remain free from the influence of man and are protected in this condition for future generations. Its 19,410 acres beckon adventurers who yearn for solitude and scenic splendor. Add this place to the top of your buck list for places to experience.
What to bring: 72oz of water, a lunch, snacks, sunscreen, a wide brim hat, a simple first aide-kit, a towel and most importantly proper footwear as you will be hiking in the stream at times. Warning, do not wear flip flops or water shoes as sand from the flowing stream will make walking very uncomfortable. I recommend a hiking boot with ankle support. I always have custom insoles for added stability for hiking difficult terrain. The best quality and most effective custom insole is one that was fabricated from impressions of each of your feet. Finally, you will need to bring your camera to capture the memories of Mother Nature at her finest.
I like to hike in approx. 4-5 miles, find a sandy shaded beach area and rest, relax, revitalize, swim and eat before turning around and heading back out. This is a full day’s excursion into the heart of nature’s beauty.
John R Allison
Marketing Exec at FootMindBody.com