Badger Springs

Round Trip Distance: 1.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 3027 - 3150 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Badger Springs
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs

The Badger Springs trail is located in the Agua Fria National Monument between Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona. The trail follows Badger Springs Wash to the Agua Fria (AH-gwa FREE-ah, meaning 'cold spring') River. There are many archaeological resources that can be found in the area. This hike leads to a cliff point overlooking the river where there are many petroglyph covered rocks and a large boulder that once served as a metate.

From Interstate 17 Badger Springs is exit #256. The exit is about 40 miles north of Phoenix and 83 miles south of Flagstaff. After turning off of the Interstate follow the dirt road for about 1 mile to the parking area. About mid point along the road there is a staging area with a kiosk and restroom with vault toilets. Depending upon the road conditions a high clearance vehicle may be required. At the time of our visit we had no trouble at all driving to the trailhead in our Chevrolet Impala.

There are several jeep roads in the area but trail itself is restricted to hiking and horseback riding only.

The sign reaffirms that this is indeed Badger Springs Wash.

The wash varies from loose sand and gravel to larger rocks and boulders. The distance is just under 1 mile to the river and the hiking is easy.

Just before reaching the river look for a trail that climbs out of the wash on the left.

From here the petroglyphs can be found all along the point of the cliff.

Some of the petroglyphs resemble those of the Hohokam further to the south around the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

It is possible to hike up the river where other archaeological sites can be found but the route, as you can see, is strewn with many boulders.

There is also a well worn path along the opposite shore that travels down stream.

Several metates can be seen worn into the surface of this large boulder that has split apart since the troughs were originally ground into its surface.

The wash is an oasis compared to the desert that it cuts its path through.

Many of the plants here are in full bloom in March while areas further to the north are still trying to shake their cover of winter snow.

Monkeyflowers such as these are generally found along the cold steams in the mountains. They seem to have taken a good foothold here in Agua Fria.

It would be easy to spend several days exploring the area of the Agua Fria National Monument. From the time we left the Interstate until we returned we probably spent 2 hours for our hike on the Badger Springs trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.