|Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve|
American naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch once said that "No other area in Arizona is more deserving of preservation" than Sonoita Creek. This perennial reach of Sonoita Creek supports a riparian corridor with high biodiversity and was the first preservation project of The Nature Conservancy in Ariz...
Patagonia Lake State Park - Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
|Description: Patagonia Lake State Park, one of the state’s premier year round birding spots, is an outstanding example of riparian woodland habitat, dominated by giant Fremont cottonwood, willow, velvet ash, and Arizona walnut trees. Extensive mesquite bosques are found in lowland areas at the upper end of the lake.. The centerpiece of the park is the 250 acre Patagonia Lake, which provides rare open water habitat that attracts a tremendous variety of wildlife, particularly waterbirds. Visitors come from all over to see southeast Arizona specialty bird species Riparian habitat is concentrated on the northeast end of the lake, where Sonoita Creek enters. The creek exits the lake to the southwest below the dam providing perennial waters and riparian habitat through the Sonoita Creek Natural Area. Designated in 1994 as Arizona’s first major state natural area, Sonoita Creek Natural Area provides an important wildlife viewing site, while preserving a unique riparian area.|
Wildlife to Watch: Birds of prey include osprey, common black-hawk, gray hawk, and zone-tailed hawk; specialty birds include elegant trogon (winter), yellow-billed cuckoo, green kingfisher, broad-billed hummingbird, black-capped gnatcatchers, crissal thrasher, Lucy’s warbler, Bell’s vireo, varied bunting, summer tanager, hooded oriole, and many species of flycatcher, such as vermilion flycatcher, rose-throated becard, and northern beardless-tyrannulet. Wetland birds include Virginia rail, sora, neotropic cormorant, green heron, and various species of grebes and ducks. Great blue herons nest in the giant cottonwood trees on the east end of the park. Mammals include white-tailed deer, ringtail, coatimundi, javelina, mountain lion, bobcat, and gray fox; lesser long-nosed bats are present but difficult to see. Reptiles include Gila monster, western diamond-backed rattlesnake, green ratsnake, coachwhip, and kingsnake. Gila topminnow are found at Coal Mine Spring in the north end of the Natural Area.
Special Tips: Fee site. The park offers a variety of guided nature tours. Check website for schedule and availability. Park closures can occur during peak summer visitor months. The park is extremely busy on weekends and holidays and in summer months; please call in advance to determine if closures are in effect.
Other Activities: A 1 ½ mile trail is open with more trails planned. Site includes self-guided trails with displays.
Ownership: Arizona State Parks
Size: 10,546 acres
Closest Town: Patagonia
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: