The enclosed section of the canyon is part of the 19,410 acre Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
, which extends across the surrounding peaks and plateaus, and includes the various tributary ravines. A permit system is operated by the BLM to limit visitor numbers, preserve solitude and hence protect the canyons; a maximum of 50 people are allowed to enter per day; 30 from the busier west trailhead, and 20 from the less accessible east entrance. Popular times, like weekends in the spring and fall, may require reservations several months in advance (permits become available 13 weeks ahead). The maximum stay is three days, and the maximum group size is ten. Pets are not allowed. Land at either side of the wilderness is also protected, part of the Aravaipa Canyon Preserve
, which is managed by the Nature Conservancy.
The majority of visitors enter Aravaipa Canyon from the west, since the access road is shorter and fine for regular vehicles, though not large RVs. Aravaipa Road forks eastwards off Highway 77 between Mammoth and Dudleyville, initially crossing empty, public land that offers some free camping places, and becoming unpaved as it enters the mouth of the canyon, continuing through mostly private land for the next 8 miles, a mix of homes and ranches. The road becomes more winding and narrow 4 miles from the end, and climbs up and down a few steep sections, since it crosses the hills a little way up the north side of the valley rather than following the flat canyon floor. A ranger station is passed 3 miles from the end, and after here the route is somewhat rougher. Trailhead parking is on a flat bench 120 feet above the canyon floor, beyond which the road is closed by a gate; it continues a short distance to the furthest ranch in the canyon, just before the boundary of the wilderness area.