The United States Congress designated the Rawhide Mountains Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 38,470 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Just beyond Alamo Dam, the Bill Williams River cuts through this Wilderness, dividing two mountain ranges, the Rawhides to the north and the Buckskins to the south. For more than five miles the river traverses the colorful 600-foot-deep Bill Williams Gorge, a stretch of white water that attracts many river runners. Several small rocky side canyons join the river, their waters feeding into the main flow over low falls. The riparian habitat supports cottonwood and willow, and provides habitat for beavers, several species of raptors, amphibians, and reptiles. At least one pair of bald eagles nest here.
The Rawhide Mountains are low, with elevations from 700 feet to 2,430 feet. Numerous outcroppings break the skyline, and several washes and canyons cut through the Rawhides. Mississippi Wash is probably the most notable, a winding canyon with several waterfalls. The Buckskin Mountains are higher and more scenically appealing, with elevations from 1,700 feet to 3,927 feet on Ives Peak, but they are less easily accessed. Blessed with year-round water, the area makes a fine choice for extended backpacking trips.