Not counting the grand canyon, with its 1.2 million acres, only three other Arizona backcountry areas—Organ Pipe Wilderness, Cabeza Prieta Refuge Wilderness, and Kofa Refuge Wilderness—exceed the Mazatzal Wilderness in size. Originally established as a Forest Reserve in 1908, the Mazatzal was changed to a Primitive Area in 1938 and upgraded to wilderness classification in 1940.
The 1964 Wilderness Act confirmed its wilderness status; then in 1984 the Arizona Wilderness Act added 35,000 acres, increasing the Mazatzal to its present quarter-million acres. Stretching from the Salt River on the south all the way north to the Mogollon Rim, the Mazatzal Wilderness spans sixteen miles at its widest. The Verde River, Arizona’s only Wild and Scenic River, flows nearly twenty-eight miles through the northwestern portion of the wilderness before meandering just outside its southwestern boundary. Draining the basin to the west of the wilderness is Tonto Creek, which spills off the Mogollon Rim to flow south into the Salt River. This trail guide covers an area with over 240 miles of trails.
© Tom Dollar & Jerry Sieve/Westcliffe Publishers. All Rights Reserved.