Cabeza Prieta Refuge Wilderness Trails

Ajo, Arizona

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The cabeza prieta refuge wilderness is the nation’s largest intact ecosystem south of Alaska—nearly half the size of the State of Connecticut. It is a land of broad, flat valleys and playas, ringed by low mountains—the Gila, Agua Dulce, Growler, Sierra Pinta, and the lava-capped range that give the wilderness its name, Cabeza Prieta, “dark head.” It is a land of little rain. In a good year only three inches fall on the western portions of the wilderness, but up to eight inches on the east side, a distance of only sixty miles. Coming in two seasons, summer and winter, the rains water desert arroyos where palo verde, mesquite, acacia, and giant saguaro trace ribbons of greenery across the parched landscape. It is an unpopulated land, untamed, what the Mexicans call desplobado—wilderness. This trail guide covers an area that has no maintained trails.

Cabeza Prieta Refuge Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"The cabeza prieta refuge wilderness is the nation’s largest intact ecosystem south of Alaska—nearly half the size of the State of Connecticut. It is a land of broad, flat valleys and playas, ringed by low mountains—the Gila, Agua Dulce, Growler, Sierra Pinta, and the lava-capped range that give the wilderness its name, Cabeza Prieta, “dark head.” It is a land of little rain.

In a good year only three inches fall on the western portions of the wilderness, but up to eight inches on the east side, a distance of only sixty miles. Coming in two seasons, summer and winter, the rains water desert arroyos where palo verde, mesquite, acacia, and giant saguaro trace ribbons of greenery across the parched landscape. It is an unpopulated land, untamed, what the Mexicans call desplobado—wilderness. This trail guide covers an area that has no maintained trails."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ajo
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Trailhead Elevation: 300 feet
Top Elevation: 3,027 feet
Local Contacts: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Local Maps: USGS Pozo Nuevo Well, Agua Dulce Mountains, North of Agua Dulce Mountains, O’Neill Hills, Las Playas, Monument Bluff, Palo Verde Camp, Antelope Hills, Pinta Playa, Paradise Canyon, Sierra Arida
Driving Directions: Directions to Cabeza Prieta Refuge Wilderness Trails

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May 2018