Agua Fria National Monument is located in the U.S. state of Arizona, approximately 40 miles (64 km) north of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Created by Presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000, the 71,100 acre (288 km²) monument is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. 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.
The monument is a unit of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System. Over 450 distinct Native American structures have been recorded in the monument, some of large pueblos containing more than 100 rooms each. The enhanced protection status also provides greater habitat protection for the numerous plant and animal communities.
Petroglyphs are scattered across the numerous puebloan ruins, which were built between 1250 and 1450 A.D. when several thousand Native Americans, known as the Perry Mesa Tradition, inhabited the region. The petroglyphs depict animals, geometic figures and abstract symbols and are found by the thousands. Numerous ruins of agricultural terraces and irrigation devices indicate that farming was widespread during this period. Other historical entities that are found include 19th century mining features and Basque sheep camps.
Situated between 2,150 feet (660 m) and 4,600 feet (1,400 m) in elevation, the monument is a blend of desert and semi-desert ecosystems. Reptiles and amphibians including the Leopard frog, the Garter snake, the Desert tortoise, can be seen in the monument.