Bumble Bee Falls

Scout Route
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Eons ago, volcanic basalt flowed from a shield volcano east of the present-day Agua Fria River. The lava flows created what is now known as Perry Mesa. Later Perry Mesa became part of the Hohokam Culture's homeland. And more recently, European immigrants traveled from the gold fields of California to the slopes of the nearby Bradshaw Mountains, spawning a small village named Bumble Bee. On the western flank of Perry Mesa, these geological, archeological, and historical facts meet at a rare Sonoran Desert waterfall along the course of Bumble Bee Creek.

Bumble Bee Creek begins along Perry Mesa's eastern slope, gathering water percolating down the basalt from infrequent rainfall and rare snowfall. The creek's course leads southwest to the Mesa's edge, where it tumbles down to the Precambrian granite below, creating a small oasis. Hohokam residents knew this little respite from the normally dry desert. Faint petroglyphs at the bottom of the falls mark their passing. Today cattle graze below the falls, and the Bumble Bee dude ranch sits downstream.

The trail to Bumble Bee Falls is a lollipop beginning off Crown King Road. The northern side of the lollipop offers the most challenging terrain with a steep rutted hill climb, a ridge run, and a steep off-camber descent. The southern side of the lollipop has easy driving in Bumble Bee's sandy creek bed at the cost of pinstriping from the overgrown mesquite trees. Choose your flavor.

Several small campsites just off Crown King Road can accommodate four to five vehicles. The sites are sandy and level with a fire ring.