Louise Speaks: This stop is not really a stop. As you know it is on our bucket list to visit all the National Monuments in Arizona. Well that is our reason for stopping here today. We’ve gone by this turn off almost weekly as it is in between our Mesa home and our Prescott home…we just never turned off. Today we made the time to stop. Turns out it is a sign at the entrance to a dirt road that is not drive able. Maybe by 4 wheel drive, but not by a regular car.
Agua Fria National Monument is approximately north of downtown Phoenix. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000. The 72,344-acre monument is managed by the BLM. The Bureau of Land Management already managed the lands; however, under monument status the level of protection and preservation of resources within the new monument have been enhanced. In doing my research I guess I’m giving too little credit to this monument. Turns out if we were able to go down this unpaved road we would find Indian ruins and large pueblos. Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of the large pueblos contain more than 100 rooms each. Although these pueblos were massive in the past, they seem to currently just be piles of crumbled rock.
The monument now is primarily composed of semi-desert grassland but also contains extensive riparian stands of cottonwoods and willows which are tied to the Agua Fria River. More than 140 bird species have been recorded at the monument. There are also species of wildlife and many endangered species calling the monument home. The enhanced protection status also provides greater habitat protection for the numerous plant and animal communities.
We can say we have been to this National Monument. We have a picture of the sign. We took a few pictures of the terrain and we are done. It is right off the 17 Freeway, but it is in no way worth a stop. In fact I’m not even going to rate it.