Arivaca Creek Trail In Arizona

Here is everything you need to know about the Arivaca Creek Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Arizona
  • Length: 1.25 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Coronado National Forest
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Not available.

The Arivaca Creek Trail, located in southern Arizona, holds a significant historical background that dates back centuries. The trail follows the path of Arivaca Creek, which has been a vital water source for indigenous communities and early settlers in the region. Native American tribes, such as the Tohono O’odham and the Pima, have long relied on the creek for sustenance and as a gathering place.

During the Spanish colonization period in the 18th century, the Arivaca Creek Trail became part of the Camino Real, a network of trails connecting Spanish missions and settlements. The trail served as a crucial transportation route for Spanish missionaries, explorers, and traders, facilitating the movement of goods, livestock, and people between Sonora, Mexico, and the Spanish settlements in present-day Arizona.

In the mid-19th century, the Arivaca Creek Trail gained prominence during the era of westward expansion in the United States. The trail became part of the Butterfield Overland Mail route, which was established in 1858 to provide regular mail and passenger service between St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. The Arivaca Creek Trail served as a crucial segment of this route, connecting the towns of Tucson and Tubac.

Throughout its history, the Arivaca Creek Trail has witnessed the passage of diverse groups of people, including Native Americans, Spanish colonizers, Mexican settlers, American pioneers, and stagecoach travelers. Today, the trail stands as a testament to the rich historical heritage of the region, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Arivaca Creek area.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Arivaca Creek Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Arivaca Creek Trail. It is located near the town of Arivaca and provides parking facilities and trail information.

2. Arivaca Creek Crossing: This is a popular access point along the trail where hikers can cross Arivaca Creek. It offers a scenic spot for a break or picnic.

3. Arivaca Creek Campground: This campground is located along the trail and provides a designated camping area for hikers. It is a great place to spend the night and enjoy the natural surroundings.

4. Arivaca Creek Loop Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the junction of the Arivaca Creek Trail and the Arivaca Creek Loop Trail. It offers hikers the option to continue on the loop trail or return to the main trail.

5. Arivaca Creek Overlook: This is a viewpoint along the trail that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It is a great spot to take in the beauty of Arivaca Creek and its surroundings.

6. Arivaca Creek Trail End: This is the end point of the Arivaca Creek Trail. It is located near the Arivaca Creek Campground and provides a convenient spot to rest before heading back or continuing on to other trails in the area.

Transportation Available

1. Arivaca Creek Trailhead Parking Lot – Convenient parking area for hikers accessing the Arivaca Creek Trail.
2. Arivaca Creek Trail – Scenic trail for hiking and nature exploration along Arivaca Creek.
3. Arivaca Junction – Nearby junction providing access to various transportation options.
4. Arivaca Road – Main road connecting Arivaca Creek Trail to surrounding areas.
5. Arivaca Creek Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to and from the Arivaca Creek Trail.
6. Arivaca Creek Trail Bike Rental – Bike rental service for exploring the Arivaca Creek Trail and its surroundings.


The amenities available at the Arivaca Creek Trail may vary, but here are some common amenities that you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or along the trail. These could be portable toilets or permanent restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There should be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles while using the trail. These parking lots may have limited capacity, so it’s advisable to arrive early during peak times.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail regulations and management, there might be designated camping sites along the Arivaca Creek Trail. These sites could have amenities like fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: There might be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas could have picnic tables, benches, and trash bins.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead area may have additional amenities such as information boards, maps, interpretive signs, and sometimes even visitor centers or ranger stations.

6. Water Sources: If the trail passes by a water source like a creek or river, visitors might have access to water for drinking or other purposes. However, it’s always recommended to bring your own water as well.

7. Trail Markers and Signage: The trail should have markers or signs to guide visitors and provide information about the trail’s route, distance, and any potential hazards.

It’s important to note that the availability and condition of these amenities can change over time, so it’s advisable to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information before visiting the Arivaca Creek Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Arivaca Creek Campground – A campground located near the trail offering basic amenities for camping.
2. Arivaca Junction – A small town near the trail with various food services and lodging options.
3. Arivaca Fire Department – Emergency services available in case of any fire-related emergencies.
4. Arivaca Clinic – Medical services available for emergencies or general healthcare needs.
5. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center – Information center near the trail providing guidance and emergency assistance if needed.
6. Arivaca Sheriff’s Office – Local law enforcement agency providing emergency services and assistance.
7. Arivaca Creek Bed and Breakfast – Lodging option near the trail offering comfortable accommodations.
8. Arivaca Creek Trading Post – A small store near the trail offering food and supplies for hikers.
9. Arivaca Creek Trailhead – Starting point of the trail with parking facilities and basic amenities.
10. Arivaca Post Office – Postal services available in case of any mailing or communication needs.

Arivaca Creek Trail Difficulty Notes

The Arivaca Creek Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty for hikers. The trail spans approximately 6 miles and offers a mix of flat sections and gradual inclines, making it suitable for individuals with a moderate level of fitness. While there are some rocky and uneven sections along the trail, they are generally manageable. Hikers should be prepared for potential obstacles such as fallen trees or overgrown vegetation, which may require some maneuvering. Overall, the Arivaca Creek Trail provides a rewarding and enjoyable hiking experience for those seeking a moderate challenge.

Features And Attractions

The Arivaca Creek Trail is a beautiful hiking trail located in southern Arizona. While it is not a very long trail, it offers several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable points of interest along the Arivaca Creek Trail:

1. Arivaca Creek: The trail follows the Arivaca Creek, offering stunning views of the creek and its surrounding vegetation.

2. Arivaca Creek Bridge: This historic bridge is located along the trail and provides a picturesque spot for photos.

3. Wildlife: The trail is known for its diverse wildlife, including various bird species, reptiles, and mammals. Keep an eye out for deer, javelinas, and a variety of bird species.

4. Riparian Habitat: The trail passes through a riparian habitat, which is a unique ecosystem characterized by lush vegetation and abundant water sources. This habitat attracts a wide range of plant and animal species.

5. Historic Ranches: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of old ranches that were once part of the area’s rich ranching history. These structures offer a glimpse into the past.

6. Arivaca Lake: Although not directly on the trail, Arivaca Lake is located nearby and is worth a visit. It is a small lake surrounded by beautiful desert scenery, offering a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

7. Wildflowers: Depending on the time of year, the trail may be adorned with colorful wildflowers, adding to its scenic beauty.

8. Arivaca Cemetery: Located near the trail, the Arivaca Cemetery is a historic site that dates back to the late 1800s. It is the final resting place for many early settlers and provides a glimpse into the area’s past.

9. Arivaca Town: The trail starts or ends in the town of Arivaca, which itself has a rich history. Take some time to explore the town and learn about its heritage.

These are just a few of the highlights along the Arivaca Creek Trail. Exploring this trail will provide you with a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

Usage Guidelines


Seasonal Information

The Arivaca Creek Trail, located in southern Arizona, offers a beautiful and serene hiking experience for nature enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the desert landscape comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for your hike. The temperatures during this time are also pleasant, ranging from the mid-60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (18-29 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for outdoor activities.

During the fall season, the Arivaca Creek Trail showcases stunning autumn colors as the leaves change, providing a unique and breathtaking experience. The temperatures during this time are also comfortable, ranging from the mid-70s to mid-90s Fahrenheit (24-35 degrees Celsius). It is important to note that summers in this region can be extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Therefore, it is advisable to avoid visiting the trail during the summer months to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

It is also worth mentioning that the Arivaca Creek Trail may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work. It is recommended to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website before planning your visit to ensure that the trail is open and accessible. Additionally, it is always a good idea to pack plenty of water, wear appropriate hiking gear, and be aware of any potential wildlife encounters while exploring the Arivaca Creek Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Arivaca Creek Trail offers wheelchair accessibility with a paved path that allows individuals with mobility challenges to navigate the trail easily.
2. Accessible Parking: The trail provides designated accessible parking spaces near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available at the trailhead, equipped with features like grab bars and ample space for wheelchair maneuverability.
4. Trail Surface: The trail surface is smooth and even, making it suitable for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
5. Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas with benches and seating options, allowing individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage with braille and large print, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate the trail independently.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Arivaca Creek Trail, providing support to individuals with disabilities.
8. Trail Width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility devices, allowing for safe and comfortable passage.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail offers accessible picnic areas with tables and seating options designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
10. Trail Grades: The trail maintains gentle grades, ensuring individuals with mobility challenges can navigate the trail without encountering steep inclines or declines.

Safety Information

1. Flash floods: The trail is prone to flash floods, which can be dangerous and unpredictable.
2. Wildlife encounters: Hikers may encounter potentially dangerous wildlife, such as snakes or mountain lions, along the trail.
3. Extreme heat: The trail can be exposed to high temperatures, leading to heat-related illnesses if proper precautions are not taken.
4. Limited cell phone reception: The area may have limited or no cell phone reception, making it difficult to call for help in case of an emergency.
5. Uneven terrain: The trail may have uneven surfaces, including loose rocks or steep sections, increasing the risk of slips, trips, or falls.
6. Remote location: The trail is located in a remote area, far from immediate medical assistance, requiring self-sufficiency and preparedness.
7. Poisonous plants: Hikers should be cautious of poisonous plants, such as poison ivy or stinging nettle, which can cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.
8. Unmarked or poorly maintained sections: Some parts of the trail may be unmarked or poorly maintained, potentially leading to navigation difficulties or hazards.
9. Limited water sources: There may be limited access to potable water along the trail, requiring hikers to carry sufficient water supplies.
10. Limited shade: The trail may lack shade, exposing hikers to direct sunlight and increasing the risk of sunburn or heat exhaustion.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Arivaca Creek Trail is of significant concern due to various factors impacting its ecological integrity. The trail traverses through a diverse range of habitats, including riparian areas, grasslands, and desert scrub, which support a rich array of plant and animal species. However, the conservation status of this trail is currently classified as threatened, primarily due to habitat degradation and invasive species encroachment.

One of the major threats to the conservation status of the Arivaca Creek Trail is habitat degradation caused by human activities. Unregulated recreational use, such as off-road vehicles and excessive foot traffic, can lead to soil erosion, trampling of vegetation, and disturbance to wildlife. Additionally, illegal dumping and littering along the trail can introduce pollutants and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Another significant concern is the invasion of non-native plant species along the Arivaca Creek Trail. Invasive species, such as buffelgrass and tamarisk, outcompete native vegetation, altering the composition and structure of the ecosystem. These invasive plants can also increase the risk of wildfires, as they are highly flammable and can spread rapidly, posing a threat to both the trail and surrounding habitats.

Efforts are being made to address these conservation challenges and protect the Arivaca Creek Trail. Conservation organizations, land management agencies, and local communities are collaborating to implement strategies such as habitat restoration, invasive species removal, and educational programs to raise awareness about the importance of preserving this unique trail. However, continued monitoring and active management are crucial to ensure the long-term conservation of the Arivaca Creek Trail and its associated biodiversity.

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