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Agua Caliente

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Other Names

Agua Caliente Scenic Drive, Yellow Medicine Hills, Gila Bend Mountains, Sonoran Desert, Gila Compressor Station, Eagletail Mountain Wilderness, Saddle Mountain, Black Butte, Fourth Of July Butte, Face Mountain, Coppper Wash

Last Known StatusOpen

Because it is so hot and dry, Agua Caliente is best explored during the winter or spring months. Old mines and some narrow washes are among the many things to discover. (There used be a ghost town at Sundad but it has been leveled.) Although you won't find a lot of challenging terrain or specific motorcycle or ATV trails, there is still a large network of sand washes and general 4x4 roads in a very remote setting. It's a good place for cruising.

This area was a popular place to go in the late 1880's and early 1900's and the hot springs in the area were used for medicinal purposes. The sandy trails are surrounded by beautiful desert vegetation with the southern route climbing onto the Sentinel Plain lava flow - a landscape of lava from 15 to 45 meters thick.

There are no services and no drinking water in the area, but nearby Painted Rock Campground does have picnic tables, BBQ grills, fire rings and vault toilets, plus an opportunity to view the prehistoric petroglyphs.

Trail Map... Nearby ATV Trails...


Permit RequiredYesAZGFD sticker required
Dates OpenYear-Round
Other ATV Stickers AcceptedNoAll non-residents must purchase an Arizona OHV decal.
Spark ArrestorNoA spark arresting exhaust silencer or end cap is not required but is always recommended.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthNo Restriction
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles Motorcycles & Dirt BikesPermitted
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers ATVsPermitted
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTV & SXSPermitted
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates SUVs & Jeeps (registered)Permitted
Dune Buggy & Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
2 Stroke EnginesNo Restriction
MX Helmet RequiredYouth Onlyrequired for persons under 18 by state law
(RiderPlanet strongly recommends helmets for all riders.)
Camping / Overnight RV Parking CampingNo Restriction(camp anywhere)
Campfire Restrictions CampfiresNo Restriction
Night RidingYes
Trail BlazingProhibitedkeep on designated trails
Rule EnforcementFew/Periodic


Approx Size128,000 acres (200 sq mi)
Miles Of Trail25
Climate TypeDesert
Elevation800 to 1700 ft.
Trail MaintenanceNot Marked, Not Rated, Lightly Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has little loose dirt.Little
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has some sandy areas.Some
MudThe trail has no mud after it rains.None
DustThe trail has little dust on typical days.Little
RocksThis trail has little rocks.Little
TreesThe trail has no trees.None
Steep HillsThis trail has few steep hills.Few
Water CrossingsThe trail has few water crossings.Fewseasonal
Small JumpsThis trail has few small jumps.Few
Large JumpsThis trail has few large jumps.Few
BermsThe trail has no berms.None
Sand/Gravel PitsThis BLM land has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis BLM land has few single track trails.Few
RoadsThis BLM land has mostly roads.Mostly
IntersectionsThis trail has some intersections.Some
Rider TrafficThe BLM land has few rider traffic on typical days.Few
ShadeThis BLM land has few shaded areas.Few
Ranges/GunfireThis BLM land has few shooting ranges or gunfire.Few
HazardsThis trail has no hazards.None
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has mostly beginner terrain.Mostly
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has some intermediate level terrain.Some
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has little expert terrain.Little


AreaMotorized Trails



Gasoline Gasoline5-20 Miles (NE)Shell/Buckeye
Diesel Diesel5-20 Miles (NE)Shell/Buckeye
Potable Water Water5-20 Miles (NE)Shell/Buckeye
RV Hookups RV Hookup20-30 Miles (S)Augie's Quail Trail RV Park/Gila Bend (928) 683-2850
RV Dump Station RV Disposal20-30 Miles (S)Augie's Quail Trail RV Park/Gila Bend (928) 683-2850
Primitive Camping Campground5-20 Miles (E)Buckeye Hills Regional Park (623) 932-3811
Convenience Store Conv Store5-20 Miles (NE)Shell/Buckeye




Proslarge area, beautiful desert scenery
Consno services
Our RatingRatingGood
Recommended StayFull Day
Comments(Scroll Down For Rider Reviews & Comments)


Nearest CityArlington, AZ
AddressAgua Caliente Road, Arlington, AZ 85322
Go Back To Arizona List
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Phoenix, AZ
1) Take I-10 West to Exit 112
2) Merge onto Hwy 85 South, continue 3.5 miles
3) Turn right (west) onto Baseline Road, continue about 3 miles
4) Turn left (south) onto Palo Verde Road, continue 2 miles
5) Turn right (west) onto Old Hwy 80, continue about 11 miles
6) Turn right (west) onto Agua Caliente Road, continue .7 miles
7) Veer right to stay on Agua Caliente Road, continue about 300 yards
8) Turn left onto gravel road, stage here.


Contact InfoBLM - Phoenix Field Office
21605 N. 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2099
(623) 580-5500


Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Agua Caliente Trail

The area consists mostly of sand washes and 4x4 roads like this one.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A top down view of large rock boulders with sand washes cutting through.

There are some really cool sand washes and channels.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A close up photo of sandy wash surrounded by large rock boulders.

Some of the channels look pretty narrow but there wasn't anything too narrow for a compact truck.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Top down view of sand wash surrounded by saguaro cactuses and scrub brush.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A close up photo of wide sand wash surrounded by desert scrub brush, boulders and saguaro cactuses.

Although the terrain is pretty mild, the rules of the Arizona desert still apply.  Be sure to bring supplies, especially water.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Photo of Agua Caliente Road.

The main route is basically just a well maintained dirt road.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Scenic photo of desert scrub brush and cholla cactuses.

If you enjoy huge open spaces and appreciate scenic views you'll have a nice drive or ride.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Side view of sand wash surrounded by rugged rock boulders.

These channels in the sand wash were kind of fun.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A close up photo of a sandy 4x4 trail that cuts through a narrow channel surrounded by rugged rock boulders.

This was probably the narrowest of the channels we saw. A full size truck could maybe lose some paint here.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Scenic view of saguaro cactuses in the Sonoran Desert.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A primitive camping spot surrounded by desert scrub brush.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Photo of wide sand wash.


Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Panoramic view of saguaro cactuses in the Sonoran Desert.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A section of sandy wash surrounded by rock boulders and desert scrub brush.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Photo of a sand wash cutting through a narrow channel of large rugged boulders.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A photo of rolling hills and cactuses.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Photo of flat staging area with gravel and sand.

One of the places to set up camp.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

Scenic view of 4x4 trail surrounded by saguaro cactuses and scrub brush.

Agua Caliente Trail Photo

A scenic portion of the surrounding hills and cactuses.

Some nice scenery.

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