Wild Arizona: From Cool Streams to Rocky Peaks

(Photo: Aaron Newman | Fossil Springs Wilderness)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each afternoon in September, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we’re spotlighting three of Arizona’s 90 wilderness areas. For more information about any of the state’s wilderness areas, visit Wilderness.net, a collaboration between several wilderness-related organizations. The information here comes from that site and the wilderness areas’ managing agencies. Always contact the managing agency before visiting a wilderness to learn about any restrictions that may be in effect. 

Fossil Springs Wilderness

This wilderness boasts what has been described as the most diverse riparian area in Arizona, and it includes Fossil Creek, a popular location for backpackers and campers. More than 30 tree and shrub species, along with more than 100 bird species, have been observed here.

Location: Northwest of Strawberry
Established: 1984
Size: 11,550 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Red Rock Ranger District, 928-282-4119 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino

Galiuro Wilderness

The rocky Galiuro Mountains jut from flat desert plains in this wilderness. There are no perennial streams, but several springs supply water to riparian areas almost year-round. Near the summit of Bassett Peak is the wreckage of a B-24 bomber that crashed in 1943 during a training run.

Location: Northeast of Tucson 
Established: 1984
Size: 76,317 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Safford Ranger District, 928-428-4150 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado

Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness

Joshua trees, desert shrubs and scattered grasses are the dominant plants in this wilderness, which straddles the Arizona-Utah border. The Arizona stretch of Interstate 15, featured in our August 2014 issue, separates this wilderness from the Paiute Wilderness to the south. There are no trails, so cross-country experience is recommended.

Location: Southwest of St. George, Utah
Established: 1984
Size: 18,667 acres (Arizona and Utah)
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Arizona Strip Field Office, 435-688-3200 or www.blm.gov/arizona

 

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