San Pedro River Trail

Benson, Arizona

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This is a long-distance hike along the San Pedro River. The San Pedro Trail parallels the river through most of the San Pedro National Conservation Area (NCA). For much of its length, the trail is a fairly level, sandy path. It is open to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Along the way, you pass old mills, town sites, ranch ruins, and other historic and prehistoric sites. Several highways cross it, as well as several connector trails, which allow users to do shorter sections. There are seven entrance points scattered the length of the area. A few short sections are still under construction. Most of the hiking is along old roads or the river bank. Wading is sometimes required. This area offers opportunities for world-class bird-watching, wildlife viewing and photography, hiking, mountain biking, camping, seasonal hunting, horseback riding, nature study, and environmental education. The San Pedro River has been called one of America’s last great places. It’s one of the few rivers of any size in the desert Southwest that isn’t bone-dry most of the year. Preservation of this riparian habitat was recognized as being so important that in 1988 Congress created the 58,000-acre San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the first such preserve in the nation.

San Pedro River Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This is a long-distance hike along the San Pedro River. The San Pedro Trail parallels the river through most of the San Pedro National Conservation Area (NCA). For much of its length, the trail is a fairly level, sandy path. It is open to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Along the way, you pass old mills, town sites, ranch ruins, and other historic and prehistoric sites. Several highways cross it, as well as several connector trails, which allow users to do shorter sections. There are seven entrance points scattered the length of the area.

A few short sections are still under construction. Most of the hiking is along old roads or the river bank. Wading is sometimes required. This area offers opportunities for world-class bird-watching, wildlife viewing and photography, hiking, mountain biking, camping, seasonal hunting, horseback riding, nature study, and environmental education. The San Pedro River has been called one of America’s last great places. It’s one of the few rivers of any size in the desert Southwest that isn’t bone-dry most of the year. Preservation of this riparian habitat was recognized as being so important that in 1988 Congress created the 58,000-acre San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the first such preserve in the nation."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Benson
Distance: 40
Elevation Gain: 575 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Duration: Backpack
Season: Best October to April
Trailhead Elevation: 3,700 feet
Top Elevation: 4,200 feet
Local Contacts: San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Office
Local Maps: USGS Hereford SW, Stark, Nicksville, Hereford, Lewis Springs, Fairbank, Land
Driving Directions: Directions to San Pedro River Trail

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May 2018