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Big Horn Mountains Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Big Horn Mountains Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 21,000 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


Big Horn Peak emerges 1,800 feet above a desert plain, near the middle of this wilderness, which ranges from 1,400 to 3,500 feet in elevation. Neighboring escarpments add to this area's exceptional scenic value. Nine miles of the jumbled ridgeline of the Big Horn Mountains cross the Wilderness, surrounded by small hills, fissures, chimneys, and slim canyons which are covered with saguaro cactus, cholla, apache hedgehog cactus, ocotillo, mesquite, ironwood, paloverde, and creosote. Here, you'll find desert bighorn sheep as well as Gila monsters, kit foxes, and desert tortoise. Other permanent residents include golden eagles, prairie falcons, barn owls, and great horned owls, all of whom nest on the walls of the canyons. Just to the north of this area lies Hummingbird Springs Wilderness.

Although there are no trails, hikers can access the area via unmaintained and primitive two-track routes from the northern, eastern, and western boundaries. In addition to backpackers, the area draws expert rock climbers. Primitive camping opportunities exist throughout the Wilderness for the well versed camper. Although the area receives 6 inches of annual precipitation, water is limited and unavailable during most months. Average annual temperatures range from 35 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to 105 degrees in summer.

Planning to Visit the Big Horn Mountains Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Big Horn Mountains Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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