Sand dunes covering three square miles, relaxing hot tubs from an artesian well, and various spectacular sceneries make Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area a hotspot for vacationers and recreation. The sands in this Bureau of Land Management park in Arizona were once a beach that surrounded a lake about two million years ago. This has now left a beautiful recreation spot for all to enjoy.
If you’re driving to this BLM recreation area, you have a number of access routes, depending on where you’re coming in from. You can access the park from Safford and Bowie via BLM’s Haekel Road, off some major and minor roads. The access roads are good enough for personal and recreational vehicles.
Thanks to the numerous recreation options available, you get to choose what interests you here at Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area. Hot-tubbing, picnicking, photography, fishing, and off-highway driving in the sand dunes are some of the common picks among guests. Other activities that you can enjoy nearby include birdwatching, mountain and rock climbing, auto touring, hunting, and water-based recreation.
Tents and RVs are accommodated within the 10 campsites that are available in this recreation area. The sites are equipped with fire grills and vault toilets. Additional camping opportunities are provided at Gila Box Riparian NCA and Chiricahua National Monument.
Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area is located about 14 miles north of Bowie, Arizona. This Bureau of Land Management Recreation Area can be accessed from the north, south and western areas. Visitors that are coming in from Safford will gain access to this BLM area from the northern end, while those driving in from Bowie will access the southern area. The BLM’s Haekel Road is the link road to get to the park from the north and south.
From Safford, you should drive east along US Highway 70 for seven miles and make a right turn on to Haekel Road that is a 25-mile journey to the recreation area. From Bowie, drive two miles north to Fan Road, where you’ll link up with Donahue and Rosewood Roads that lead to Haekel. The drive north on Haekel Road from the south is six miles. Tanque Road is the access road for those coming in directly from Highway 191 to the west of the recreation site.
Note that there is a 10-mph speed limit for driving on and around 50 feet of the entrance to the recreation area, as well as places where people are gathered.
Parking areas are available around Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area and all guests are required to park their vehicles only in these designated parking spaces. Camping in parking lots is not allowed.
A really good place to relax and enjoy good camping opportunities in Chiricahua National Monument is Bonita Canyon Campground. This camping area lies in a pine and oak forest that provides shade and good views of the Bonita Canyon Creek.
If you’re planning to visit, note that peak season is from October to July, and during this period, the campsites can only be reserved online. First-come, first-served only works during non-peak season, and some sites may be closed.
In this campground, you’ll get the chance to make use of any of the 25 campsites and one large group site available. Amenities like flush toilets, potable water, and food storage lockers are provided to campers. In addition, picnics are great here because picnic tables and fire grills are on hand at each campsite.
There are no utility hookups and no dump station. If you’ll be camping in an RV or motorhome, ensure it’s no longer than 29 feet.
Some camping rules to note; quiet hours are 8 pm to 8 am, and the maximum stay is 14 consecutive days.
The 3.1 square miles of sand dunes in Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area is a delight to various trail users and riders. Thanks to the excitement available to explorers here, this BLM area is a Mecca for all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts ranging from hikers, to backpackers, cyclists and dirt bike riders, scenic drivers, and most commonly, off-highway vehicle riders.
You are guaranteed unforgettable excitement on the large expanse of land in this recreation area, as long as you choose the activity that you are best suited and equipped for.
If you want to take your adventure outside Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area, then you definitely should visit Gila Box Riparian NCA. Recreation enthusiasts who visit this BLM NCA pick their interests from exploring the hot springs, hunting game, rafting across river channels, to hiking along miles of trails. Besides, wildlife enthusiasts get to explore the wildlife viewing area in the park that features shade shelters and interpretive displays.
The list of outdoor activities is endless here and you’ll definitely be overwhelmed when you are done exploring this 36 square mile BLM property.
An interesting site located northwest of this BLM recreation area is Mount Graham. Mount Graham lies at an elevation of 10,720 feet at the summit of the Pinaleño Mountains. Named in 1846, this spot is home to eleven endemic species found nowhere else on earth.
Plant communities such as mixed conifer forests, Ponderosa pine forests, Madrean evergreen oak woodlands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and spruce-fir forests beautifully decorate the mountain range’s corridors.
Some of the things to do here at Mount Graham include hiking, sightseeing, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing.
A really good place to watch birds around Hot Well Dunes is Chiricahua National Monument. This park is home to a wide variety of birds, and has been identified as part of the “Important Bird Areas” in the US by the American Bird Conservancy.
You’ll find federally listed Threatened and Endangered bird species in this park, as well as migratory birds and reintroduced ones. In all, about 200 bird species have been documented in the park, so whether you’re a casual birdwatcher or a serious one, you’ll find more than enough here.
The beautiful setting that surrounds them and the wonderful backdrop they offer makes it possible for guests to enjoy picnics at the Bonita Creek and Faraway picnic areas at Chiricahua National Monument. While you’re there with your loved ones, you can make use of amenities such as picnic tables, trash cans, fire grills and restrooms to enhance your picnic experience.
Other areas that are open to picnicking in the National Monument are Massai Point, Sugarloaf, and Echo Canyon areas. Restrooms and picnic tables are also provided in these places.
Start your engines and have the time of your life as you drive along the Bonita Canyon Scenic Drive that will take up a gentle climb through pine, cypress, and oak forests, all the way to Massai Point in Chiricahua National Monument. As you drive along, keep your eyes peeled as you will move through Bonita Canyon Campground - the only developed camping area in the National Monument, multiple pullouts where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery, and the trailheads to the day-use hiking trails in the park.
You’ll get a 360-degree view of Rhyolite Canyon, surrounding mountain peaks and adjacent valleys as you explore this area.