North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness Trails

Gila Bend, Arizona

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Afternoons, around the time of winter solstice, when pale light slants across the landscape and giant saguaros cast long shadows that hold forever, there’s no more beautiful place on Earth than the Sonoran Desert. And the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness is classic desert. Creosote, brittlebush, and bursage on the flats give way to saguaro forests upslope and along the bajadas. Chain-fruit and teddy bear cholla grow in impenetrable colonies. Ocotillo sprouts red floral banners after summer rains. Mesquite, palo verde, hackberry, and willow grow in or near wash channels where they contend with other plants for moisture in a place bereft of surface water. And there’s the summer poppy, related to creosote, that sprouts only once in several seasons and then only after seasonal rains rinse germination-inhibiting chemicals from its seed coat. This trail guide covers an area with 14 miles of trails.

North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"Afternoons, around the time of winter solstice, when pale light slants across the landscape and giant saguaros cast long shadows that hold forever, there’s no more beautiful place on Earth than the Sonoran Desert. And the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness is classic desert. Creosote, brittlebush, and bursage on the flats give way to saguaro forests upslope and along the bajadas. Chain-fruit and teddy bear cholla grow in impenetrable colonies. Ocotillo sprouts red floral banners after summer rains.

Mesquite, palo verde, hackberry, and willow grow in or near wash channels where they contend with other plants for moisture in a place bereft of surface water. And there’s the summer poppy, related to creosote, that sprouts only once in several seasons and then only after seasonal rains rinse germination-inhibiting chemicals from its seed coat. This trail guide covers an area with 14 miles of trails."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gila Bend
Distance: 14
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy
Trailhead Elevation: 840 feet
Top Elevation: 2,813 feet
Local Contacts: BLM, Phoenix Field Office
Local Maps: USGS Butterfield Pass, Cotton Center, Cotton Center SE, Cotton Center NW, Margies Peak, Mobile NW
Driving Directions: Directions to North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness Trails

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May 2018