On the fringes of California’s border with Mexico, lies a 7,711-acre wilderness region managed by the Bureau of Land Management, that encompasses the western end of the Muggins Mountains of southwestern Arizona.
Muggins Mountain Wilderness contains a cluster of rugged peaks that comprise of vivid and colorful geologic strata and solid rock formations. Below these peaks lie deeply cut drainages or washes that dissect the region and give it its unique topography.
Elevations along this wilderness region can range from about 200 to 1,600 feet. This remote and wild terrain offers refuge to various species of fauna and flora. The rugged and sparsely vegetated landscape offers the perfect stage for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike to hike and backpack their way through this wild-west terrain, enjoying its scenic landforms and exotic wildlife.
The closest town of Yuma, AZ lies about 25 miles away from the wilderness region in Arizona’s Yuma County district. Muggins Mountain Wilderness also lies adjacent to agricultural land found in Dome Valley, by the Gila River. To the north of the wilderness region lies the Yuma Military Proving Ground and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
Either explore the popular trails of Muggins Mountain Wilderness or simply spend a few days camping amidst its scenic natural beauty in complete solitude. The scenic views, temperate climate, and gorgeous night skies will make for an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Muggins Mountain Wilderness is located about 25 miles east of Yuma, AZ. It is recommended to drive down to the wilderness region in high clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles as the terrain can be rough in places.
If you are looking to access the wilderness region through Muggins Wash, take Exit 21 to Dome Valley from Interstate 8. Drive east past Ligurta on Old Highway 80 to Dome Valley Road before turning north on to Avenue 20E. Turn east onto County 7th street and continue driving, past the Dome Valley Transfer Station, until you reach the Muggins Wash non-wilderness corridor.
The wash extends all the way into the center of the wilderness region to the southern base of Muggins Peak. As you get closer to the peak, the road can get quite rugged and rocky and can only be accessed by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. It is best to park your RVs and trailers close to the information kiosk and proceed via foot from there forth.
This BLM owned land allows for primitive camping in previously disturbed campsites as long as one adheres to the seven standard Leave-No-Trace principles. Motorized equipment and vehicles are largely prohibited in federal owned wilderness regions. Camping is allowed on BLM land for stretches of up to 14 days.
No hookup services or any form of amenities are available, so make sure you pack all the supplies you need for your wilderness camping holiday. Pets are allowed in the wilderness region as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.
If you plan on visiting Muggins Mountain Wilderness in your RVs and want to have a more luxurious camping experience than you can opt to spend the night outside of Muggins Mountain Wilderness near the region of Gila River on Interstate 8, on the Arizona side.
Private RV campgrounds here offer full-hookup services and plenty of modern amenities, facilities, and recreational activities for RVs, trailers, big rigs, and motorhomes. Spacious campsites equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, grills, electric and water hookups, and clean nearby washrooms make for a comfortable and luxurious stay.
There are a few marked and unmarked trails in this wilderness region that are lightly trafficked by both humans and animals. This remote destination means that more often than not you will find yourself alone on a hiking trail with no one around you for miles.
Two of the more popular hiking trails include the five-mile Muggins Mountains trail and the 5.2-mile long Muggins Peak Trail that take hikers past narrow canyons, rocky outcrops, dense vegetation, and loose rock slopes that make for an adventurous and thrilling trekking experience.
Perhaps, the most popular landmark in Muggins Mountain Wilderness is Muggins Peak. From the base, the climb can look daunting but it is certainly doable and not that dangerous. This class 3 climb is relatively easy for most of the uphill surge, apart from a few areas of loose rock that can make for some hairy moments. Tread carefully and you should make it to the summit and back in no more than a few hours.
The journey from the base to the top is over three miles and includes about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. A five-mile loop hike around Muggins Peak can also be done by those looking for an easier hiking challenge.
Muggins Mountain Wilderness comprises the western extreme of the Muggins Mountain Range and offers rock climbers the opportunity to take on some challenging climbs over both loose and hard rock. The most prominent summits in the region are Muggins Peak, Klothos Temple, and Long Mountain.
The peaks are at an elevation ranging from 900 to over 1,400 feet above sea level. The peaks are that tall or high but the hard rock does make for some excellent rock climbing challenges.
Muggins Mountain Wilderness is home to desert bighorn sheep that can often be spotted along the trail near the bast of Muggins Peak. Other common wildlife that can be spotted in the region includes blotched lizards, bats, owls, rock wren, and black-throated sparrows.
The region also supports plenty of vegetation including species such as Desert Lavender, White Bursage, Rock Hibiscus, Desert Ironwood, and Saguaro Cactus to name but a few.
When visiting Muggins Mountain Wilderness, make sure to pack your camera and lenses along. The unique geology of the place combined with stunning views from the top of its most popular peaks makes bringing a camera with you simply a must. Take pictures of wildlife and unique desert vegetation, or if you are feeling more adventurous, climb your way to the top of more easy to climb peaks for an aerial shot of this majestic landscape.
If you plan on spending a few nights in Muggins Mountain Wilderness, you won’t be disappointed. Being so remote and far-away from the nearest towns and cities means that artificial light here is largely non-existent.
During the night the skies can get really dark, highlighting the billions of stars above. You can spend hours star gazing at night in this remote wilderness and never get bored of it.