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North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images


The United States Congress designated the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 63,200 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


The North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness consists of a series of rocky, isolated summits, long ridges, and vast, level valley floors. The ridges are dissected by normally dry washes and separated by desert outwash slopes (bajadas). Elevations in this wilderness range from approximately 900 feet, near Gila Bend, to approximately 3,000 feet, at Butterfield Pass. The two major vegetation communities which characterize this area include Paloverde-Mixed Cactii, which consists of dense "forests" of saguaro cactus, paloverde, and ironwood, and Creosote-Bursage, which covers low elevation valley floors in seemingly unbroken expanses. Common wildlife roaming the area includes desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, coyotes, bobcat, fox, deer, Gambel's quail, and raptors.

This area receives 8.5 inches of precipitation annually with temperatures ranging from 82.9 to 107.4 degrees Fahrenheit in July and from 43.7 to 67.6 degrees in December. Spring and fall temperatures are more moderate. The 9-mile Margie’s Cove Trail and 6-mile Brittlebush Trail take you through the heart of the Wilderness and a portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail borders the southern boundary of the Wilderness. In 2001 the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness was incorporated into the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Planning to Visit the North Maricopa 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 North Maricopa 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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