Hiking the Canyon
There are numerous hikes in the area, but serious hikers will enjoy the Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Nature Conservancy’s Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve—located three miles up the creek from the Inn. The BLM allows only 30 people (from the west entrance) a day to hike the 12 miles of canyon from one end of the preserve to the other. Information on how to obtain a permit is below.
Be prepared to spend most of the day slogging up the middle of the creek, or crossing repeatedly from one bank to the other. It’s slow going (plan on one mile per hour) and hiking sticks are highly recommended.
At mile two, imposing mountain peaks congregate around the narrowing canyon in an area nicknamed The Box. This makes a good half-day hike destination. At mile 2.3, the canyon widens and you can explore several side canyons interspersed along the creek. Some canyons intersecting with Aravaipa contain rare and beautiful ferns and other plants in varying microclimates throughout the canyon tributaries.
BLM opens reservations three months in advance. Go to recreation.gov and search for Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Permits or Please call the BLM in Safford, Arizona (928) 348-4400 and make reservations for a permit prior to your stay.
If you can’t get permits, ask us for directions to other nearby short day hikes or check out these popular hiking trails located throughout Southeastern Arizona:
- Upper Grant Creek
- Vault Mine Trail
- Marshall Gulch Trail
- Upper Sabino Canyon Riparian Area
- Meadow Trail
- Oracle Ridge Trail
- Road to Mount Bigelow
- Crest Trail (Moderate)
- Comfort Spring Trail (Moderate)
- Ash Creek Trail (Strenuous)
- Butterfly Trail (Strenuous)
- Carr Peak Trail (Strenuous)