Things to do in Phoenix : Bat WatchingHoly bat…watcher…man…woman…!

Okay, maybe not the most orignal exclamation but bats are an important feature in the Arizona wildlife landscape, and go unnoticed by many who live and visit the state. Phoenix is home to thousands of Mexican Free-Tailed bats for several months each year, right in the Biltmore area, a hop, skip and jump from Camelback road at the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel. While the bat exodus may not be on the scale of some of the better known swarms you might see in Texas, there are still some decent numbers of the animals.

Head north on 40th Street to the Arizona Canal. The path (levee) to the tunnel is located on the north side. Head west on the path about 200 yards (past buildings and parking garage) and you’ll see the flood control channel just north of the canal. 20 feet from the gravel path is the paved path which will take you to the top of the tunnel. Bat-watching information is signposted there.

Bats leave their roost at sunset. You have a 40-minute window in which to catch the bats leaving to hunt insects which helps keep the local bug population under control. If you’re more of a morning person, you might be able to catch them on their return at dawn.

The biggest challenge is finding parking. Parking in the area is limited, so you may have to walk. Of course, keeping safe is important, so use appropriate precautions, but it’s known as a place for twillight strollers enjoying the serenity of a canal-side walk.

You can find more information on the Arizona Game and Fish Department website (see below).

So, bat-people, have dinner at a local restaurant, grab a flashlight and camera and go discover the bat cave!


  • Approximately May-October
  • Just after sunset


  • Free


Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel
40th Street / Camelback

Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel (Approximate) Map and Directions

Arizona Game and Fish Department website – Bat watching information

As with any activity, check with the appropriate authorities before you go for conditions, dates, restrictions, accessibility, safety and other information appropriate to you and your party.