North Santa Teresa Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

If you’re looking to enjoy memorable primitive camping and recreational opportunities, you should take a trip to the nine square mile North Santa Teresa Wilderness located 25 miles west of Safford, Arizona. This Bureau of Land Management property, bordered by the San Carlos Indian Reservation, preserves Black Rock, a geological landmark that is spiritually significant to many Native Americans. This wilderness is accessible from Arizona Highway 70 and is best negotiated with high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

There are no developed campsites or campgrounds within this BLM wilderness. However, opportunities abound for dry and free camping across the wilderness areas. Ensure you have all you’ll need for your adventure because there are no facilities provided. RV camping is provided nearby at Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area and Catalina State Park.

Activities to enjoy at North Santa Teresa Wilderness include horseback riding, hiking, flora and fauna observation, and nature viewing. Nearby attractions which offer more recreation include Santa Catalina Natural Area and Gila River.

North Santa Teresa Wilderness was designated by the United States Congress in 1990.

RV Rentals in North Santa Teresa Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

North Santa Teresa Wilderness lies about 25 miles west of Safford in Graham County, Arizona. Access to the eastern boundary of the wilderness is off Arizona Highway 70, through Fort Thomas to the Klondyke Road. No legal access is available to this BLM park from the San Carlos Apache lands. If you wish to get to the wilderness from the south, you will need to get permission from the private landowners first because private lands border the wilderness to the south. High clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for the dirt roads that lead to this wilderness.

Within the boundaries of North Santa Teresa wilderness, the use of motorized vehicles and mechanical equipment is not allowed. Therefore, you should look out for signs and posts that indicate places where you can park your vehicle outside. Navigation within the wilderness is either on foot or on your horse. Wheelchairs are allowed within the wilderness.

There are no direct public transportation services to North Santa Teresa Wilderness.

If you wish to get RVs and trailers for modern camping nearby, you will find equipment available at Fort Thomas and Safford.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in North Santa Teresa Wilderness

Campsites in North Santa Teresa Wilderness

First-come first-served

Gila Box Riparian NCA Campgrounds

At Gila Box Riparian NCA, there are two developed campgrounds that consist of 20 campsites available for tents and RVs. Pets are allowed within the campgrounds and amenities such as shade structures, picnic tables, trash cans, and restrooms are provided. Potable water is provided in one of the campgrounds.

Things to do in the camping areas include bird watching, wildlife and flora viewing, picnicking, hiking and swimming.

RV/trailer length limit within the campgrounds is 45 feet. No hookups for RVs/trailers are available.

Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Seasonal activities in North Santa Teresa Wilderness

Off-Season

Santa Catalina Natural Area

Santa Catalina Natural Area is a wonderful site south of North Santa Teresa Wilderness, in southeastern Arizona that features hills and mountains that rise from about 2,700 feet to over 9,000 feet. The regions within this natural area that feature pine forests and lowland deserts are designated for recreational activities such as skiing, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and educational programs. Sightseeing is also a fascinating outdoor activity here because of the outstanding scenery and resplendent flora that decorate the area.

Gila River

Gila River, just north of this BLM wilderness, off Highway 70, is a popular destination among water-based recreation enthusiasts at North Santa Teresa Wilderness. In addition to hunting and fishing opportunities on the river, spring and summer are good times to enjoy river floating sports due to the gentle flows during those periods. Rafting, canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts are quick to take advantage of the spring run-off that offers easy to moderately challenging floating experiences.

Gila Box Riparian NCA

A host of recreational opportunities are open to visitors at Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area. Whether your interest is water sports such as rafting, canoeing, swimming, or fishing, you’ll find plenty of room to stay active in the park.

Birdwatching, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and wildflower viewing are other fun activities in the recreation area. Visitors with vehicles can also enjoy scenic drives through the park’s areas. Picnic areas are provided for memorable meals with family and/or friends.

In-Season

Flora

If you’re looking to take pictures of beautiful flora that are characteristic of the southeastern Arizona area, you will find yourself right at home at North Santa Teresa Wilderness. The corridors of this Bureau of Land Management property are enhanced by vegetation, some of which include dense desert and mountain shrub, riparian vegetation and grasslands. A stroll through the boulder-strewn areas in the park that support these plant communities leaves nature lovers and flora enthusiasts excited.

Fauna

A number of mammals, reptiles, and birds are frequently sighted in North Santa Teresa Wilderness. These wildlife species which inhabit the BLM park’s areas provide excellent viewing opportunities for visitors and campers. Those who have their cameras do not pass up the chance to take good pictures of these animals as they thrive within their natural setting.

Examples of wildlife that live within this BLM wilderness include mountain lions, javelinas, black bears, coyotes and peregrine falcons.

Sightseeing

Landmark features and high-rise mountains within North Santa Teresa Wilderness provide scenic views for guests at the park. Black Rock, for example, is a geologic landmark that rises up to 1,000 feet above its base, encircled by cliffs hundreds of feet high.

Another beautiful feature that provides spectacular views at this wilderness is Jackson Mountain, which is 5,890 feet high and is dissected by different canyons. Many more amazing natural landscapes are present at Santa Teresa Wilderness, south of this park.

Find the perfect campsite.