Friday Fotos: National Parks (Not Just the Grand Canyon!)

AJ Ringström | Saguaro National Park

AJ Ringström | Saguaro National Park

Some people (including a few commenters on our Facebook page) think Arizona has only one national park. While the Grand Canyon may be the most famous national park here, Arizona is home to 22 national parks, monuments, memorials and historic sites. There are plenty of Grand Canyon shots in this week’s Friday Fotos gallery, but also plenty from some lesser-known parks in the Grand Canyon State.

Make plans to visit one of these parks soon! Don’t forget, entrance fees are waived next Saturday, September 27.

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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Wild Arizona: Up in the Chiricahuas

Judy Beachem | Chiricahua Mountains

Judy Beachem | Chiricahua Mountains

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 Wilderness
The mountain range for which this wilderness is named once was home to the Chiricahua Apache Tribe. There are 13 established trails here; the Morse Canyon Trail, in particular, provides views of some of the roughest country in Southeastern Arizona.

Location: Near Portal
Established: 1964
Size: 87,700 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Douglas Ranger District, 520-364-3468 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado

Arrastra Mountain Wilderness
It’s not easy to get here, but once you do, you’ll be treated to imposing landscapes and pristine Peoples Canyon. This wilderness a challenge for backpackers, as it lacks both designated trails and paved road access.

Location: Between Kingman and Wickenburg
Established: 1990
Size: 129,800 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Kingman Field Office, 928-718-3700 or www.blm.gov/az

Aubrey Peak Wilderness
Desert bighorn sheep are among the fauna in this wilderness, and their presence is unusual for the region — a transition zone between the Mohave and Sonoran deserts. There are no established trails, but old jeep roads lead to long-abandoned mines.

Location: South of Kingman
Established: 1990
Size: 15,400 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Kingman Field Office, 928-718-3700 or www.blm.gov/az

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Throwback Thursday: Arizona Highways, September 1961

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From the issue: “‘Trout Lake – Southwestern Colorado’ by Chuck Abbott. “

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Wild Arizona: Hellsgate (Much Nicer Than It Sounds)

Wib Middleton | Hellsgate Wilderness

Wib Middleton | Hellsgate 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

Hellsgate Wilderness
The perennial Tonto Creek runs through the center of this wilderness, which is at the base of the Mogollon Rim. Six trailheads provide access, but human use is relatively light, and foot travel can be difficult. Black bears, mountain lions and mule deer are among the animals that thrive here.

Location: East of Payson
Established: 1984
Size: 37,440 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Payson Ranger District, 928-474-7900 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto

Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
Eagletail Peak is the most prominent formation in this wilderness near Phoenix, but Courthouse Rock, a large granite monolith, is a popular destination for technical rock climbers. Great horned owls and coyotes call the wilderness home, and you’ll find plenty of saguaros and ocotillos here, too.

Location: Between Phoenix and Yuma
Established: 1990
Size: 97,880 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Yuma Field Office, 928-317-3200 or www.blm.gov/az

Bear Wallow Wilderness
The Wallow Fire torched much of this wilderness, but signs of recovery are evident everywhere. In addition, much of the wilderness experienced a lower-intensity burn due to earlier fires. True to its name, black bears abound here, as do elk, deer, birds and reptiles.

Location: Southwest of Alpine
Established: 1984
Size: 11,080 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Alpine Ranger District, 928-339-4384 or www.fs.usda.gov/asnf

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Next Saturday, Visit a National Park for Free

Remote Leigh | Glen Canyon

Remote Leigh | Glen Canyon

Next Saturday, September 27, is National Public Lands Day. To celebrate, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at national parks and monuments around the U.S.

To find a park in Arizona (or anywhere) where the entrance fee is being waived, click here. Keep in mind that many national parks and monuments never charge entrance fees.

The next fee-free day will be Veterans Day (November 11).

What’s your favorite national park in Arizona? Let us know in the comments!

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Wild Arizona: Bighorns, Bats and More

Harry Ford | Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Harry Ford | Aravaipa Canyon 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

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
Along with desert bighorn sheep (pictured), twelve known species of bats make their homes in caves and under ledges in Aravaipa Canyon.

Location: Between Globe and Tucson
Established: 1984
Size: 19,410 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Safford Field Office, 928-348-4400 or www.blm.gov/az

Baboquivari Peak Wilderness
This wilderness is Arizona’s smallest, but it features solitude and splendid views of its namesake peak. The mountain is the only major peak in the state that requires technical climbing ability to reach the summit, making it a popular rock-climbing destination.

Location: Southwest of Tucson
Established: 1990
Size: 2,040 acres
Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: Tucson Field Office, 520-258-7200 or www.blm.gov/az

Castle Creek Wilderness
Easily accessible from Phoenix or Flagstaff, this wilderness includes granite peaks at higher elevations and saguaros down south. It’s an ideal destination for casual hikers, as it features 30 miles of trails. It gets hot in the summer, though, and water is hard to find. Plan accordingly.

Location: Between Phoenix and Flagstaff
Established: 1984
Size: 25,215 acres
Managed by: U.S. Forest Service
Contact: Bradshaw Ranger District, 928-443-8000 or www.fs.usda.gov/prescott

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