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Santa Teresa Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Santa Teresa Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 26,909 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Forest Service. The Santa Teresa Wilderness is bordered by the North Santa Teresa Wilderness to the north.


Looking for an extraordinary desert mountain Wilderness experience? Then head to the Santa Teresa Mountains, but be forewarned: the going's not easy. Between Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation adjoining the BLM's North Santa Teresa Wilderness, access here is difficult. The Santa Teresas are a network of rugged mountains with bald summits, deep canyons, and sprawling mesas. Elevation ranges from less than 4,000 feet to 7,481 feet on the summit of Cottonwood Peak. Holdout and Mud Spring Mesas dominate the central Wilderness. Extremely rugged Holdout Canyon typifies the Santa Teresas: abundant caves and alcoves hollow into eroded cliffs with picturesque formations. Thick chaparral vegetation covers the terrain with stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir on the north flanks and the crest of Cottonwood Peak. Black bears live here among coatis, javelinas, and mountain lions. Peregrine falcons soar overhead, hunting for prey. Several foot trails give access to the more interesting spots in the Wilderness; some are maintained by cowboys driving their stock, but they are difficult to follow. Human use of the area is very light. Water flows year-round from a few springs.

Planning to Visit the Santa Teresa 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 Santa Teresa 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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