|Oracle State Park|
This state park, at an elevational range of 3,500 – 4,500 feet, lies in the northern foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains among an oak grassland and upland mesquite desert scrub landscape. Tours of the historic Kannally Ranch House (National Register of Historic Places), nature education pro...
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
|Description: Aravaipa is one of Arizona’s most scenic canyons, with stunning multicolored cliffs studded with saguaro cactus rising above the canyon. Fern-draped grottoes, seeps, and springs line the canyon. There are numerous archaeological sites, including a cliff dwelling along Turkey Creek. The riparian area includes scattered cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, Arizona alder and Arizona walnut.|
Wildlife to Watch: Aravaipa is famed as a birder's paradise, with nearly every type of desert songbird and more than 150 species documented in the wilderness.
Saguaro and other cacti grow on Aravaipa's rocky ledges, providing nest sites for small owls, woodpeckers, and other desert birds. Mesquite-covered grassy flats furnish cover for abundant birdlife on the canyon floor. Birds of prey include peregrine falcon, common black-hawk, zone-tailed hawk, and elf owl. Migratory songbirds include vermilion flycatcher, black phoebe, canyon and rock wrens, white-throated swift, yellow warbler, and Bell’s vireo.
The sheer cliffs are good places to look for bighorn sheep. Riparian species include javelina, Coue’s white-tailed and mule deer, coyote, mountain lion, ringtail, and coatimundi. Nearly a dozen bat species flourish in Aravaipa's small caves, emerging at dusk to hunt for insects. Aravaipa Creek is often considered the best native fish habitat in Arizona, the only low-desert creek in the state with an unprecedented seven species of native fish, including the round-tailed chub, speckled dace, desert sucker, loach minnow, and spikedace. Reptiles and amphibians include canyon treefrog, lowland leopard frog, red-spotted toad, black-necked gartersnake, and a variety of rattlesnakes.
Special Tips: Fee Site. Wilderness permit required from BLM. While a hiker can cross from the west end of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness to the east end by hiking only 11 miles, the entrances are nearly 200 miles apart by road. Canyons are subject to flooding; be aware of weather forecast before entering.
Other Activities: The 11-mile trail follows Aravaipa Creek through Aravaipa Canyon; several side canyons are worth exploring. Overall the trail is easy to moderate in difficulty and requires continual creek crossings.
Ownership: Bureau of Land Management
Size: 19,400 acres
Closest Town: Mammoth
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: