Where the Water Flows
Black Canyon City Water/Ways
Agua Fria River
Black Canyon Creek
Numerous ephemeral creeks and washes
Agua Fria Aquifer
Heritage Park Pond
Black Canyon City ~ Host Site Profile
Black Canyon City is located twenty miles north of Phoenix, just inside Yavapai County. The Agua Fria River, which starts in Prescott Valley, runs through Black Canyon City and the Black Canyon Heritage Park. Most of its waters end up in Lake Pleasant, but the Agua Fria does not end there. Although now mostly dry below the lake, with enough rainfall the river can come alive for a while, and flow far enough to meet the Gila River west of Phoenix. Black Canyon Creek is also an intermittent waterway. It runs from the north to merge with the Agua Fria River on the west side of Black Canyon City. The Agua Fria aquifer beneath Black Canyon City provides most of the water for domestic use and agriculture.
A Fluctuating Population
The area around Black Canyon City was part of traditional Yavapai territory. The migratory Yavapai people followed an annual route that maximized their ability to hunt animals and gather ripening plants. Settlers founded the town in the 1870s. It was a stopover on the stage route that ran from Prescott to Phoenix, and a supply center for miners working in the nearby Bradshaw Mountains. The town adopted several names as it struggled to stay on the map, including Goddard, after the first postmaster, and Cañon, later expanded into Black Canyon. Today, Black Canyon City is an unincorporated, census-designated place. The population fluctuates from around 2,000 to over 4,000 residents, depending on the time of the year.
Protecting a Riparian Heritage
In Black Canyon City, it is not only humans who are on the move. Migratory birds utilize the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek as an important breeding ground and stopover habitat. The river and creek support a fertile landscape that nurtures a variety of animals, including the endangered Desert Pupfish, Gila Chub, and Gila Topminnow. The economy in Black Canyon City relies on tourists who value the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek for birding and water-oriented activities. Black Canyon City seeks to promote this kind of tourism without sacrificing the delicate riparian environment. The 2012 opening of Black Canyon Heritage Park, which protects and conserves a portion of the riparian corridor, is a major part of this strategy.
AZ Water/Ways, a traveling Smithsonian Exhibit, comes to Black Canyon City 12/14/2019 - 1/26/2020 hosted by Black Canyon Heritage Park and made possible by the AZ Humanities. In promotion of the exhibit, the Agua Fria National Monument will lead field trips to the Agua Fria River and tributaries. Free event, open to the public. Scroll the calendar for scheduled outings, lectures, and sign-ups. The first stream hike is March 16. See their calendar for sign-up information - https://aguafriafriends.org/event-3292300?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=3/28/2019.
This state agency is tasked with conserving, enhancing, and restoring Arizona's diverse wildlife resources and habitats through aggressive protection and management programs. It also provides wildlife resources and watercraft and off-highway vehicle recreation.
The Chamber is proud to support local business in Black Canyon City and the greater Anthem area.
This park educates visitors on the riparian environment that is the basis for the ecosystem and human culture in the region.
Located at the Black Canyon Heritage Park, the historical society operates the Historic 1926 Schoolhouse and Museum.
The BLM Hassayampa Field Office manages public lands in the area for multiple use.
The District educates students from preschool to eighth grade in more than academics—it helps students become productive, responsible and culturally-enriched members of the community.
Acquires land for conservation, ensures stewardship in perpetuity to preserve public access, and engages with the community to connect people with nature.
The Friends protect and promote the Monument by monitoring trails and cultural resources, removing non-native plant species, performing trash pickups, recording rock art, and offering educational hikes.
This service partners with community groups, nonprofits, tribes, and state and local governments to design trails and parks, conserve and improve access to rivers, protect special places, and create recreation opportunities.
The New River Group is a management consulting group that specializes in helping small organizations optimize their opportunities and resources.
This federal agency manages the nearby Tonto National Forest and partners with residents on local and regional conservation efforts.