BLM Winter Bucket List #25: Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona, for a Natural and Historic Getaway near Superbowl 49
The 70,900-acre Agua Fria National Monument, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands, is approximately 40 miles north of Phoenix, just a short drive from Superbowl 49 central next week.
The area is located on a high mesa semi-desert grassland, cut by the canyon of the Agua Fria River and other ribbons of valuable riparian forest. The diversity of vegetative communities, topographic features, and a dormant volcano decorates the landscape with a big rocky, basaltic plateau. The Agua Fria River canyon cuts through this plateau exposing precambrian rock along the canyon walls, offering one of the most significant systems of prehistoric sites in the American Southwest. In addition to the rich record of human history, the monument contains outstanding wildlife and biological resources.
This habitat provides visitors with a wide variety of activities within the monument, from exploring cultural sites to viewing wildlife to hiking scenic trails. The monument is a great natural and historic getaway less than an hour from the city.
This sacred place is on Navajo controlled land, which means you need a Navajo to guide you through. The canyon’s walls are 120 feet tall, which are comprised of petrified sand dunes that were later carved out by water. Every four feet of the canyon wall represents 1,000 years of sand accumulating. Side note: I barely even had to edit these photos. This place is just that breathtaking on its own.
Antelope Canyon, outside of Page, AZ. January 2015.