Hassayampa River

Hassayampa River
Palm Lake at Hassayampa River Preserve.jpg
Palm Lake at the Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve, near Wickenburg, Arizona
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
 • locationnear Prescott, Arizona
 • location
Gila River

The Hassayampa River (Yavapai: Hasaya:mvo or ʼHasayamcho:[1]) is an intermittent river, the headwaters of which are just south of Prescott, Arizona, and flows mostly south towards Wickenburg, entering the Gila River near Hassayampa. Although the river has only subsurface flow for much of the year, it has significant perennial flows above ground within the Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness and the Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve, near Wickenburg.[2] The river is about 113 miles (182 km) long,[3] with a watershed of 1,410 square miles (3,700 km2),[4] most of it desert.

Aerial view from the south of the Hassayampa River, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix

A local legend purports that anyone who drinks from the river can never again tell the truth. As an anonymous poet wrote:

Those who drink its waters bright –
Red man, white man, boor or knight,
Girls or women, boys or men –
Never tell the truth again[5]

This lush streamside habitat is home to some of the desert's most spectacular wildlife. Yet many of them have become dangerously imperiled as riparian areas have disappeared from the Arizona landscape. In the Sonoran Desert, riparian areas nourish cottonwood-willow forests, one of the rarest and most threatened forest types in North America. An estimated 90 percent of these critical wet landscapes have been lost, damaged or degraded in the last century. This loss threatens at least 80 percent of Arizona wildlife, which depend upon riparian habitats for survival.

The Hassayampa River was the location of the 1890 Walnut Grove Dam failure, which led to over 100 fatalities along the river.

See also


  1. ^ William Alan Shaterian (1983), Phonology and Dictionary of Yavapai, University of California at Berkeley
  2. ^ Elizabeth Mitchell. "Hassayampa River Preserve - Wickenburg, Arizona". Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  3. ^ "USGS National Atlas Streamer". United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  4. ^ "Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  5. ^ quoted in: George Wharton James, Arizona the Wonderland, Boston: Page Co., 1917, pp. 363–364.

External links

  • Hassayampa River Preserve at The Nature Conservancy.

Coordinates: 33°55′58″N 112°41′50″W / 33.9327121°N 112.6972566°W / 33.9327121; -112.6972566

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