The United States Congress designated the Castle Creek Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 25,457 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Forest Service.
On the stark eastern slopes of the Bradshaw Mountains, Castle Creek Wilderness stands between Phoenix and Flagstaff, easily accessible from both. Extremely rugged topography rises to granite peaks that top off at 7,000 feet on Juniper Ridge, offering views of the Agua Fria National Monument. In the southeastern corner of the wilderness the elevation drops to 2,800 feet. Saguaro cactus, paloverde, mesquite, jojoba, catclaw, and grasslands dominate the lower elevations. Up higher you'll find chaparral communities of shrub live oak, mountain mahogany, and manzanita with pinion and juniper on southern slopes and small stands of ponderosa pine on northern slopes. Dense populations of mule deer and javelina inhabit this area, along with a few mountain lions, bobcats, black bears, coyotes, rabbits, foxes, skunks, and badgers. Snakes and lizards live here, and numerous birds soar overhead, including doves, quail, hawks, owls, ravens, jays, and many smaller species. You'll find limited water, despite the name, and raging summer temperatures. Nine trails offer approx. 30 miles of hiking through the area.