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.
Organ Pipe Cactus Wilderness
Ninety percent of the organ pipe cactus’ range in the U.S. is contained within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, of which this wilderness is part. You’ll also see elf owls, javelinas, coyotes, snakes and bighorn sheep, among other animals. This wilderness is Arizona’s third-largest.
Location: South of Ajo
Size: 312,600 acres
Managed by: National Park Service
Contact: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, 520-387-6849 or www.nps.gov/orpi
Santa Teresa Wilderness
This wilderness is located between the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and it’s not easy to access. If you do get there, though, you’ll be treated to deep canyons, sprawling mesas and abundant caves. Look for black bears and peregrine falcons.
Location: West of Safford
Size: 26,780 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Safford Ranger District, 928-428-4150 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado
Wabayuma Peak Wilderness
Wabayuma Peak (7,601 feet) towers over this wilderness in the Hualapai Mountains. The northernmost saguaros in Arizona can be found here, along with ponderosa pines and Gambel oaks at higher elevations. Extended backpacking or horseback-riding trips are possible year-round.
Location: South of Kingman
Size: 38,944 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Kingman Field Office, 928-718-3700 or www.blm.gov/az