My trip out to the Agua Fria – uh, I mean the Ahhhhhhhhhhgua Fria…..Arizona!

Aqua Fria Skull

Agua Fria Skull

I recently had a rare opportunity to go deep into the Agua Fria National Monument here in Arizona. The
“Agua Fria”, as it is known locally, is just a stones throw (kind of) from my home in Scottsdale but I felt like I was hundreds of miles from the civilized world and that is very OK with me. Not only was the Agua Fria – or as I now call it the “Ahhhhhhhgua Fria” – VERY beautiful but it was also very “Fria”…….which means cold in Spanish. A bit of a cold front had gone through Arizona a few days earlier and the cold wind was howling up on this windswept mesa. It sure lived up to it’s name…brrrrrr!


Aqua Fria Prickly Pear

Agua Fria Prickly Pear

If you aren’t already familiar with this amazing unit of the BLM and National Landscape Conservation System just a quick 40 miles north of the Scottsdale/Phoenix area – let me enlighten you.  If you have driven north on I-17 towards Flagstaff then you have no doubt passed right through this amazing and rather “shy” Monument – there is a sign along the highway but this rugged and remote 71,000 – acre environment doesn’t scream out at you to come in and play unless you have an adventurous soul…..which luckily I do.



The city lights of Phoenix from my tent

The city lights of Phoenix from my tent

I ventured into “The Agua Fria” with a group of adventurous souls for a night of camping and then a day of rugged exploring into what turned out to be a virtual “Garden of Eden” in the middle of an arid prickly pear landscape. As we made our way down into this amazing canyon on our morning hike we passed by archaeological finds that boggled my mind – grinding stones just left in the grinding holes as if these people suddenly vanished off of the face of the earth. Archaic petroglyphs pecked into large stones that have stood the test of time for some 2000 years – WOW! So much to see and think about as I hiked – rock hopping from boulder to boulder down the wash and deep into the canyon. While many of the monuments archaeological sites are in remote and inaccessible areas damage and looting has occurred at some of them. As part of our nation’s heritage it is imperative that these prehistoric and historic sites remain untouched and protected – PLEASE help protect them! Remember, it’s BAD karma, not to mention it’s illegal, to take anything…..just sayin’!


Mano & Metate

Mano & Metate

Suffice it to say this was an amazing and quick trip but such a RICH trip. The photo opportunities were everywhere and I could go on and on about this national treasure but I won’t bore you with words. Below are more photos of the beautiful “Agua Fria” – I hope you have a chance to explore for yourself one day. I am sure you will agree that the name “Ahhhhhhhhgua Fria” is a perfect fit when you return home relaxed and recharged…..Ma Nature has a way of doing that. Thanks for letting me tag along….I will be back for MORE explorations into this land of rugged beauty and awe-inspiring archaeological wonders!



Aqua Fria BLM boys

Agua Fria BLM boys







Dramatic Wild West Landscapes

Dramatic Wild West Landscapes







Happy Campers

Happy Campers







For more information about Agua Fria National Monument click here – now get out and enjoy those WILD places and don’t forget to take your camera. Remember to take only photos and leave only footprints!

Fine Art Prints are available at Ancient Light Gallery – just click HERE!


Happy exploring – Cheyenne

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12 Comments. Leave new

Wow. I’m blown away. You’ve caught much of both the subtlety and drama of the Agua Fria National Monument. It’s a land of extremes…flat mesas and steep canyons, dry uplands and lush rivers and streams, and delicate artifacts and rugged, unforgiving landscapes. It’s one of the most important natural and cultural landscapes in the Southwest. You must keep shooting photos out there.

Rem – thank you – I love a land of EXTREMES since it makes for super dramatic photos and amazing experiences. And you KNOW I will keep shooting photos out here…..I had a wonderful introduction to “her” and I feel a strong connection to the area…… more photos to come for sure!

thanks again for letting me tag along on a fun adventure!


Wow what nice pictures in a such nice place !!!
With pleasure see you !!!

You have captured the Agua Fria like I’ve never seen before! It’s an amazing place to spend time…especially alone! Thanks for your wonderful talent. Will any of these photos be for sale?
I have to have one …it’s one of my favorite places in AZ…DW

Dana – thank you so much for your kind words – it was my 1st trip into the Agua Fria and I loved it….I will be going back soon to add more photos to my “Agua Fria Collection”. And yes, any of the photos that you see in the blog post can be ordered as a Fine Art Print….I will personally sign the print as well. Just let me know the title and I can let you know the print pricing. Also I do have a selection of 40 5×7 Matted/Signed photos in the Gift Shop here on my blog – just click HERE – you might see a photo in there that you like as well…although none of the Agua Fria photos are in there but like I said can easily be ordered! Cheyenne :o)

The Agua Fria is now featured on the home page of my website and now available to order as a Fine Art Print:

Shirley Anderson
February 22, 2012 5:19 pm

These are nice photos. It sounds like you have the bug of advenger. You can’t get enough of the land out there. If you want to see some really nice photos of the Perry Mesa you should check out the Landscapes Legacies at DeerValley Rock Art Center. Photogragher: Pat Gorraiz. We have been out on the Perry Mesa many times and each time we see something new.
Happy exploring, Shirley 🙂

Thank you Shirley – I loved the Agua Fria as you could tell and will be sure to check out the Perry Mesa photos……thanks!

Cheyenne 😀

What fantastic photos, Cheyenne! Elsie has never looked better….little did she know it was her big debut!! It was a pleasure meeting you and hiking with you. Your photos are amazing and show the Monument’s beauty and splendor like no others I have seen. We can’t preserve it if it isn’t appreciated and your photos make the case that it is an invaluable asset to Arizona. Thank you!

Grace – thank you so much – I just asked Rem for your email address so we could keep in touch about any AF adventures… was so nice to meet you too – I love your passion for the area as well as your knowledge!!! Next time so great clouds move in I will be heading back up to the AFNM to shoot photos at the Pueblo…..I am REALLY looking forward to it.

Here’s to great adventures!!!


Manjoo Singh
April 12, 2012 6:12 am

Absolutely marvellous to know about Arizona, i hv never been there, so enjoyed and thanx.

Thank you…AZ is a wonderful place!