Where to find ancient petroglyphs on Badger Springs Trail at Agua Fria National Monument


Just off Interstate 17, roughly half way between Phoenix and Sedona, is a quiet little spot at the Badger Springs exit to pull off and stretch your legs. While you’re at it, consider taking a jaunt down the Badger Springs Trail to see petroglyphs and more of Arizona’s other amazing natural wonders.

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Badger Springs Trail begins as a wide swath of packed desert soil void of obstacles.
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A few hundred yards into it, the path deposits you into a mellow sand-bottomed wash.
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Follow it downstream another half mile and you’ll find yourself on the edge of spring-fed pools.

On your journey to the pools, you’ll brush by native grasses, trees and other desert-hardy plants. Saguaro and prickly pear cacti dot the hillsides as you gradually lose elevation, while canyon walls rise higher and higher. All the plant life attracts a colorful menagerie of birds, lizards, snakes and insects.

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For many who venture down Badger Springs Trail, the highlight is finding the ancient petroglyphs etched into the canyon walls.
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Tip: As you near the dead end of the wash, stop at the large boulders in the center of the riverbed. Look just to your left for a lightly traveled trail.
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About 50 steps up the path you’ll see the stone etchings as you scan the slate to your left. From this elevated plane, it’s easy to look around and imagine a distant time when native people subsisted on the plants and wildlife of the region.

Although the trail rests on the grounds of a national monument, there is no charge for admission or parking. And unlike many national parks and monuments, the Agua Fria National Monument is typically uncrowded.

Tens of thousands of people whiz by the Badger Springs exit on I-17 every day. Those who take the time to stop and look around get to stretch not only their legs, but also their imaginations.


Want to go to Badger Springs Trail? Tap the map↓

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