Wild Arizona: Wonderlands of Rocks, Sand and Recreation

Gary Smith‎ | Chiricahua National Monument

Gary Smith‎ | Chiricahua National Monument

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

Chiricahua National Monument Wilderness
As the name suggests, this wilderness includes most of Chiricahua National Monument, located in a “sky island” mountain range. Coatimundis, javelinas and black bears are common here, as are a multitude of bird species. The wilderness includes 17 miles of day-use trails.

Location: Northwest of Portal
Established: 1976
Size: 10,290 acres
Managed by: National Park Service
Contact: Chiricahua National Monument, 520-824-3560 or www.nps.gov/chir

East Cactus Plain Wilderness
The plain for which this wilderness is named is an eerily quiet place, dominated by shifting sands and desert vegetation. Some of the plants found here, such as Death Valley Mormon tea, are found few other places in Arizona. There are no trails here, so bring a map and compass, along with plenty of water.

Location: Southeast of Parker
Established: 1990
Size: 14,630 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Lake Havasu Field Office, 928-505-1200 or www.blm.gov/az

Mount Nutt Wilderness
The Black Mountains of the Mohave Desert are the main geologic features of this wilderness, providing ample opportunities for rock climbers and backpackers. Mornings and evenings, when the sun casts a delightful glow on the carved volcanic landscape, are the best times for photography.

Location: Southwest of Kingman
Established: 1990
Size: 28,080 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Kingman Field Office, 928-718-3700 or www.blm.gov/az

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