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Castle Creek Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Castle Creek Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 25,457 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Forest Service.


On the stark eastern slopes of the Bradshaw Mountains, Castle Creek Wilderness stands between Phoenix and Flagstaff, easily accessible from both. Extremely rugged topography rises to granite peaks that top off at 7,000 feet on Juniper Ridge, offering views of the Agua Fria National Monument. In the southeastern corner of the wilderness the elevation drops to 2,800 feet. Saguaro cactus, paloverde, mesquite, jojoba, catclaw, and grasslands dominate the lower elevations. Up higher you'll find chaparral communities of shrub live oak, mountain mahogany, and manzanita with pinion and juniper on southern slopes and small stands of ponderosa pine on northern slopes. Dense populations of mule deer and javelina inhabit this area, along with a few mountain lions, bobcats, black bears, coyotes, rabbits, foxes, skunks, and badgers. Snakes and lizards live here, and numerous birds soar overhead, including doves, quail, hawks, owls, ravens, jays, and many smaller species. You'll find limited water, despite the name, and raging summer temperatures. Nine trails offer approx. 30 miles of hiking through the area.

Planning to Visit the Castle Creek 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 Castle Creek 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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