The United States Congress designated the Cedar Bench Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 16,009 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Cedar Bench falls along a broad northwest-southeast trending ridge or "bench," and from this elevated perch visitors can glimpse stunning views of the desert's vivid colors. The Wilderness occupies the dividing line between the Verde River and the Agua Fria River drainages, with the Wild and Scenic Verde River forming a portion of its eastern boundary. The Verde is a dangerous and difficult waterway that supports many species of wildlife that are endangered or of special interest to biologists. Elevations in the area range between 4,500 feet and 6,700 feet with a primary vegetative cover of chaparral and lesser amounts of pinion pine and Utah juniper. In the lower reaches along the river, saguaro cactus can be found hiding on south facing hillsides. There are eight trails totaling 32 miles in the area, some that are maintained and others that are brushy and difficult to follow. The brushy slopes of this wilderness can be extremely hot in the summer, even at higher elevations. If you enjoy solitude and wildlife observation, your efforts will be well rewarded.