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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HIKING WITH TOURISTS : PART 2

BADGER SPRINGS WASH
Agua Fria National Monument
Air travel these days is a real bear. What with the body scans, shoe searches and the outright abuse  of  overhead bin space, trying to cram a decent pair of hiking boots and a backpack into weight-restricted luggage is certainly not at the top of the “to do” list of many holiday travelers.  Yet, with so much to see in the great Arizona outdoors, we simply should not let the lack of good equipment put a damper on treating our winter visitors to a hike.  Here's one local favorite that's not too rough but has a nice wilderness feel to it.  Badger Springs Wash Trail is a short, sandy gateway to Agua Fria Canyon ending at the mouth of the gorge just before the going gets tricky. One of only two  “official” trails in Agua Fria National Monument, the route delves into a world of steep granite walls and gangly scrub with a panel of ancient petroglyphs at trail's end serving as the outing's  piece de resistance. Although properly-equipped hikers can stumble through the full length of the boulder-strewn canyon, tourists are usually thrilled by the unfamiliar sights
and satisfied with the enormity of eye-candy along this abbreviated trek. 

Head of Agua Fria Canyon, Dec. 9, 2011

Boulders & Sand define Badger Springs Wash
LENGTH: 2 miles roundtrip
RATING: easy (some rocky spots)
ELEVATION: 3,100' – 2,900'
GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go roughly 40 miles north on I-17 to exit 256 for Badger Springs Road.  Turn right and continue about 1.2 miles (past the restroom) to the circular parking area. This last mile is on rugged dirt/gravel, so a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.
The trail begins at the southeast side of the lot.  You'll see a sign and register box about 50 yards in.
INFO: Bureau of Land Management, 623-580-5500

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