Tres Rios Wetlands

Located southwest of Phoenix, Tres Rios is a habitat restoration and water reclamation project resulting in an extensive riparian and wetland area near the confluences of the Gila, Salt, and Agua Fria Rivers that is a birder’s paradise. Originally the territory of the Hohokam, O’odham, Maricopa, and Apache, it was opened to the public in 2014. It comprises nearly 700 acres, and is administered by the City of Phoenix Water Department.

The 10 Essentials

ACTIVITIES:

  • bird-watching
  • equestrian
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • picnicking
  • trail running

HIGHLIGHTS:

More than 250 observed bird species!

Several miles of easy multi-use trails

Part of the 315-mile Maricopa Trail

Part of the 120-mile Sun Circle Trail

HABITAT:

Lower elevation Sonoran riparian.
Elevation ranges from ~750 – 970 feet.

AVAILABILITY:

Open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
Ideal seasons are late fall – early spring.

AMENITIES:

Parking area
Porta potties
Interpretive panels

PERMITS / FEES:

A FREE permit is required to access the wetlands. It is valid for six (6) months from issuance. Request your permit here.

SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS:

Tres Rios is included in the Lower Salt and Gila Riparian Ecosystem Important Bird Area, and is one of the sites of the Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Kid-friendly
Dog-friendly (must be leashed)
ADA: Many of the walking paths are accessible.
No public transit.

NEAREST SERVICES:

Phoenix is the closest full-service city.

HEADS-UP!

Although it’s primarily a riparian habitat, it is still the desert, so there may be rattlesnakes, scorpions, etc.
PLAN AHEAD! It may take up to five (5) days for your permit to be issued; they are only processed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
Because virtually all of the water has just been through the water treatment plant, it is NOT safe for drinking, and puts off a fairly strong chemical odor.

Flora & Fauna

Tres Rios is inarguably a hot spot for birders, but it also is home to a variety of flora and fauna associated with desert riparian areas. You may see:

  • Yuma clapper rail (ENDANGERED)
  • Black-crowned night heron
  • Gooding willow
  • Bald eagle
  • Muskrat
  • Gila woodpecker
  • Glossy pennywort
  • Western burrowing owl
  • Beaver
Phoenix
70°
Sunny
7:08am5:21pm MST
Feels like: 70°F
Wind: 2mph WSW
Humidity: 16%
Pressure: 29.95"Hg
UV index: 3
WedThuFri
72/45°F
72/45°F
68/43°F

Explore Tres Rios

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Nichelle

Nichelle

Meet Nichelle, who when not teaching yoga and pilates in Phoenix, enjoys the natural wonders of Arizona… and the occasional trip to California for some beach time!

Nichelle

Nichelle

Meet Nichelle, who when not teaching yoga and pilates in Phoenix, enjoys the natural wonders of Arizona… and the occasional trip to California for some beach time!