Wild Arizona: Down on the Hassayampa

Photo: Donna Drake | Hassayampa River

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.

Hassayampa River Canyon Wilderness

This wilderness’ namesake river supports a riparian habitat in the southern and eastern portions. You’ll also see striking rock formations and chaparral-covered canyons. Backpacking and horseback-riding opportunities are abundant here.

Location: North of Wickenburg
Established: 1990
Size: 12,300 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Hassayampa Field Office, 623-580-5500 or www.blm.gov/arizona

Imperial Refuge Wilderness

Split between Arizona and California, this wilderness is part of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. Gambel’s quail are everywhere along the Lower Colorado River, and you might catch a glimpse of the endangered Colorado squawfish, which sometimes reaches 5 feet in length.

Location: North of Yuma
Established: 1990
Size: 15,056 acres (Arizona and California)
Managed by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contact: Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, 928-783-3371 or www.fws.gov/refuge/imperial

Juniper Mesa Wilderness

The view south from atop Juniper Mesa are some of the most stunning in Central Arizona, and on a clear day, climbers can see several other wilderness areas. Fifteen miles of trails lead through this wilderness, but human use is light. Be on the lookout for black bears, elk, mule deer and bobcats.

Location: North of Prescott
Established: 1984
Size: 7,406 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Chino Valley Ranger District, 928-777-2200 or www.fs.usda.gov/prescott

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