The United States Congress designated the Table Top Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 34,400 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The Table Top Wilderness is dominated by Table Top Mountain (4,373-feet in elevation), which abruptly rises above the nearly level Vekol Valley. Lower summits and ridges are covered with talus slopes of loose, blackened boulders and rocks interspersed with columnar saguaro cactus and the occasional stunted paloverde tree. Brief seasonal rainfall is channeled by normally dry ephemeral drainages (or "washes") that dissect desert outwash slopes (or "bajadas") leading to vast and level valley floors. 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. At the summit of Table Top Mountain is a small, 40-acre area of Sonoran Desert Grassland. In 2001 the South Maricopa Mountains Wilderness was incorporated into the Sonoran Desert National Monument.