The United States Congress designated the Peloncillo Mountains Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 19,440 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Ragged and rugged, the Peloncillo Mountains stretch north from Mexico to the Gila River, and New Mexico is just across the border from this Wilderness. The historic Butter-field Stage Route forms the southern boundary, but within the area you won't find many history buffs--in fact, you'll find few signs of human activity at all. Violent volcanic upheaval pushed these mountains into a veritable maze of canyons extending in all directions. Little Doubtful Canyon on the eastern side is extraordinarily scenic with an extensive Emory and Arizona white oak forest on the bottom, but access gates at its mouth are often locked by landowners. Other canyons worth exploring include Ward, Indian Springs, Midway, Old Horseshoe, Millsite, and West Doubtful. Elevations range from about 4,000 feet to 6,401 feet, and the views are worth the climb to higher ground. Among the vegetation in this high, dry land is mesquite, snakeweed, burroweed, turpentine bush, creosote, catclaw, whitethorn, agave, prickly pear, and juniper. Desert bighorn sheep have been reintroduced, and peregrine falcons soar in the bright skies. A large deer population attracts a few hunters.