Pajarita Wilderness Trails

Nogales, Arizona

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No lure is more powerful than running water to a desert dweller, and Sycamore Canyon in the Pajarita Wilderness, snugged up against the Arizona-Mexico border, is one among a handful of perennial streams in Southern Arizona. Located in the Atascosa Mountains, a range wild enough to make the short list as a Mexican gray wolf reintroduction site, the Pajarita Wilderness, although small, is a magical place. The creek bubbles to the surface at the trailhead near historic Hank and Yank Springs. From the spring, verdant with clumps of watercress, the creek flows 5.3 miles south into Mexico. The first couple of miles are part of the Goodding Research Natural Area, named for botanist Leslie N. Goodding. Several Southwestern plant species bear Goodding’s name, including the Goodding willow and the rare Goodding ash. Typical of natural environments along the border with Mexico, more than 600 species of plants, including a number that are rare or endangered, are found in the Pajarita Wilderness. Growing here, for example, is a species of fern found only in two other places in the world.

Pajarita Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"No lure is more powerful than running water to a desert dweller, and Sycamore Canyon in the Pajarita Wilderness, snugged up against the Arizona-Mexico border, is one among a handful of perennial streams in Southern Arizona. Located in the Atascosa Mountains, a range wild enough to make the short list as a Mexican gray wolf reintroduction site, the Pajarita Wilderness, although small, is a magical place.

The creek bubbles to the surface at the trailhead near historic Hank and Yank Springs. From the spring, verdant with clumps of watercress, the creek flows 5.3 miles south into Mexico. The first couple of miles are part of the Goodding Research Natural Area, named for botanist Leslie N. Goodding. Several Southwestern plant species bear Goodding’s name, including the Goodding willow and the rare Goodding ash. Typical of natural environments along the border with Mexico, more than 600 species of plants, including a number that are rare or endangered, are found in the Pajarita Wilderness. Growing here, for example, is a species of fern found only in two other places in the world."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Nogales
Distance: 9.5
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy
Trailhead Elevation: 3,800 feet
Top Elevation: 4,800 feet
Local Contacts: Coronado National Forest, Nogales Ranger District
Local Maps: USGS Ruby
Driving Directions: Directions to Pajarita Wilderness Trails

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May 2018