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South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images


The United States Congress designated the South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 60,100 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


The South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness consists of a series of rocky, isolated summits and long ridges dissected by normally dry ephemeral drainages (or "washes") and separated by desert outwash slopes (or "bajadas") and vast, level valley floors. Elevations range from a low of approximately 1,280 feet above sea level on the western boundary to approximately 3,270 feet along the spine of the mountains. The wilderness is characterized by two major vegetation communities -- Paloverde-Mixed Cactii, which includes the dense "forests" of saguaro cactus, paloverde, and ironwood trees that presents the classic popular image of the Sonoran Desert, and the Creosote-Bursage community that covers low elevation valley floors in seemingly unbroken expanses. In 2001 the South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness was incorporated into the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Planning to Visit the South 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 South 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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