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Swansea Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Swansea Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 16,400 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


A six-mile stretch of the Bill Williams River, rarely seen by humans, cuts a deep gorge through the center of Swansea Wilderness which ranges from 670 to 1,900 feet. The river flows into the south end of nearby Lake Havasu on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, creating a riparian habitat. In the northern portion of the Wilderness you'll find eroded volcanic dikes and plugs with precipitous cliffs, an extension of Black Mesa. The Buckskin Mountains form much of the western portion, and here the topography is subtle, rounded desert with a complex drainage system leading to the river. There are no trails, but you can hike along the water and up some of the side canyons. Rock climbing and horseback riding draw a few human visitors.

Planning to Visit the Swansea 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 Swansea 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.