Wild Arizona: Down by the Creek, Up in the Peaks

Nathaniel Smalley | Wet Beaver Creek Trail

Nathaniel Smalley | Wet Beaver Creek Trail

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. To see our entire Wild Arizona series, click here

Wet Beaver Wilderness
This small wilderness includes Wet Beaver Creek, which winds through a canyon of sandstone and shale on the Colorado Plateau. A perennial desert stream, the creek attracts elk, deer, bears, lions, reptiles and birds. Two major trails offer easy access to the wilderness for hiking, fishing and picnicking.

Location: South of Flagstaff
Established: 1984
Size: 6,155 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Red Rock Ranger District, 928-282-4119 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino

Miller Peak Wilderness
The namesake peak of this wilderness has an elevation of 9,466 feet, making it the highest peak in the U.S. this far south. Sheer cliffs, oaks and aspens dominate the scenery, although some of the vegetation was burned in a 2011 wildfire. The area’s history as a mining and ranching hub is evident.

Location: South of Sierra Vista
Established: 1984
Size: 20,228 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Sierra Vista Ranger District, 520-378-0311 or www.usda.gov/coronado

Cottonwood Point Wilderness
Cottonwood Canyon divides the two main areas of this wilderness, which extends south from the Arizona-Utah border. With no established trails, it’s ideal for solitude and a favorite of backpackers, hikers and horseback riders. Its landscape is often described as reminiscent of Utah’s Zion National Park.

Location: Near Colorado City
Established: 1984
Size: 6,860 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Arizona Strip Field Office, 435-688-3200 or www.blm.gov/az

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John F. Kennedy Jr., Arizona Highways Fan

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 4.05.45 PMA while back, we received a scanned copy of this September 1995 letter to Lee and Sharon Young of Western Junk in Holbrook. Apparently, the son of the 35th president was a fan of Arizona Highways. Click the letter to enlarge it, or here’s a full transcript:

9-20-95

Dear Lee & Sharon:

Just a quick note to say hello and to thank you again as I sit here reading my Arizona Highways October issue. The only problem I have with the magazine is every time I read it I wonder what the heck I’m doing on the East Coast! Hope to be out there again soon. Hope you are both well.

Sincerely,
John Kennedy

We always love to hear about noteworthy people reading our magazine, so if you know of other correspondence like this, please let us know!

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Wild Arizona: Feeling Superstitious

J.T. Dudrow Photography‎ | Superstition Wilderness

J.T. Dudrow Photography‎ | Superstition 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. To see our entire Wild Arizona series, click here

Superstition Wilderness
Among Arizona’s most iconic wilderness areas, this place provides ample hiking opportunities on 180 miles of trails. Two of them, the Peralta and First Water trails, receive 80 percent of the Superstitions’ annual human traffic. Other trails are virtually deserted. Pack plenty of water and exercise extreme caution in summer.

Location: East of Phoenix
Established: 1964
Size: 159,757 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Mesa Ranger District, 480-610-3300 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto

White Canyon Wilderness
White Canyon features 800-foot walls, eroded formations and numerous side canyons, along with saguaros and other desert plants. When summer monsoon storms flood the area, look for waterfalls and quiet pools. Black bears and mountain lions are permanent residents here.

Location: South of Superior
Established: 1990
Size: 5,800 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Tucson Field Office, 520-258-7200 or www.blm.gov/az

Woolsey Peak Wilderness
You’ll find rugged topography and scenic vistas in this wilderness, which is dominated by 3,270-foot Woolsey Peak. An especially inviting region for desert backpacking, you’re likely to spot desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, hawks and owls here.

Location: Northwest of Gila Bend
Established: 1990
Size: 64,000 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Lower Sonoran Field Office, 623-580-5500 or www.blm.gov/az

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Wild Arizona: Up North and Out West

Jag Fergus | Petrified Forest National Park

Jag Fergus | Petrified Forest National Park

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. To see our entire Wild Arizona series, click here

Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area
Formerly a vast floodplain, this terrain now is filled with petrified wood that dates to 225 million years ago. The wilderness designation extends to more than half of Petrified Forest National Park, and backpacking and camping are permitted in the wilderness.

Location: Northeast of Holbrook
Established: 1970
Size: 50,260 acres
Managed by: National Park Service
Contact: Petrified Forest National Park, 927-524-6228 or www.nps.gov/pefo

Swansea Wilderness
This wilderness includes a 6-mile stretch of the Bill Williams River rarely seen by humans. In the north are eroded volcanic dikes and plugs, and in the west are the rounded Buckskin Mountains. The few humans who visit are mostly rock climbers and horseback riders.

Location: East of Lake Havasu City
Established: 1990
Size: 16,400 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Lake Havasu Field Office, 928-505-1200 or www.blm.gov/az

Warm Springs Wilderness
Black Mesa, a 10-mile-long plateau 1,000 feet above the surrounding desert, dominates this wilderness. If there’s enough rain in the winter, look for blooms on ocotillos, cactuses and other plants. There are water sources that make extended backpacking trips possible, but bring a map and compass.

Location: North of Lake Havasu City
Established: 1990
Size: 112,400 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Kingman Field Office, 928-718-3700 or www.blm.gov/az

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Wild Arizona: Granite Mountain, Rocky Landscapes

Karen Martin | Granite Mountain Wilderness

Karen Martin | Granite Mountain 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. To see our entire Wild Arizona series, click here

Granite Mountain Wilderness
The towns of Prescott, Chino Valley and Skull Valley are visible from the top of Granite Mountain, and you’re likely to see mule deer and javelinas here. Some 75 percent of this wilderness was burned in the Doce Fire in 2013, but hiking and horseback-riding opportunities still exist.

Location: Northwest of Prescott
Established: 1984
Size: 9,762 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Bradshaw Ranger District, 928-443-8000 or www.fs.usda.gov/prescott

Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness
Rosy boas, Gilbert’s skinks and desert night lizards are among the fauna found in this rocky landscape, but desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions also roam here. This wilderness’ canyons and ridges are ideal for hardy hikers and backpackers.

Location: West of Wickenburg
Established: 1990
Size: 25,050 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Lake Havasu Field Office, 928-505-1200 or www.blm.gov/az

Muggins Mountain Wilderness
Near Yuma Proving Ground is a cluster of rugged peaks that occasionally draw day hikers, backpackers and rock climbers. You’ll see colorful geologic formations and landforms here, but not much vegetation or wildlife. And there’s a good chance you’ll have this wilderness to yourself.

Location: East of Yuma
Established: 1990
Size: 7,711 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Yuma Field Office, 928-317-3200 or www.blm.gov/az

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Friday Fotos: Down by the Water

No Stone Unturned Photography | San Carlos River

No Stone Unturned Photography | San Carlos River

We got plenty of water in much of Arizona this week, so that was the inspiration for this week’s Friday Fotos theme. Thank you, as always, for your submissions. Have a great weekend!

By submitting photographs to Arizona Highways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or other social networking sites, the photographer grants Arizona Highways electronic rights. No financial consideration will be paid to anyone for publication on the Arizona Highways blog or website.

By publishing a photographer’s work to its blog, Arizona Highways does not endorse the photographer’s private business or claim responsibility for any business relationships entered into between the photographer and our readers.

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