The United States Congress designated the Needle's Eye Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 8,760 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Mescal Mountains cut across the middle of this Wilderness, their southwestern flank forming a spectacular striped slope of Paleozoic limestone that looms more than 2,500 feet high. The Gila River flows through this country and forms the Wilderness's southern border. The river threads through a marvelous section of steep-walled canyon so narrow it's earned the name Needle's Eye. Several small slickrock side canyons wind down to the Gila, bisecting the area. The narrow river channel lies tangled in dense riparian growth, often making travel difficult. The San Carlos Apache Nation lies north and south, rugged roadless BLM lands lie to the west and small parcels of private land dot the boundary of this Wilderness, eliminating open public access; you must obtain permission to enter here. If you enjoy hardy adventures, you'll discover a great deal of solitude in Needle's Eye.