Popular for its narrow red-walled chasm and boulder-strewn canyon, Redfield Canyon Wilderness is a famous destination in southeastern Arizona for primitive camping, nature exploration, and outdoor recreation. This ten square mile Bureau of Land Management property lies about 30 miles north of Benson, Arizona, and can be accessed either via public lands or private property. If you arrive through private property, then you should get permission. As with other BLM wildernesses, vehicles are not allowed in the wilderness area.
There are no services or facilities within this BLM park, so developed camping opportunities are not available. However, visitors who wish to enjoy RV camping can visit Catalina State Park and Saguaro National Park.
Opportunities to have fun abound in this wilderness, from the chance to hike through the canyon areas and view natural landscapes such as caves, deep pools, and cascades, to horseback riding. So many remarkable sites surround Redfield Canyon Wilderness, all of which offer unique recreation. The nearby sights include Galiuro Wilderness, Bassett Peak, and Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area.
Redfield Canyon Wilderness is located within Graham and Cochise counties, about 32 miles north of Benson, Arizona. The wilderness is accessible from private and public lands. If you’re coming to park from Redington, the only way into the wilderness is via State Trust Lands, which will require you to get permission before you cross. Coming in from Wilcox will take you to Mileshoe Ranch, where you can access Jackson Cabin Road that leads to the park. Jackson Cabin Road is best negotiated with four-wheel drive vehicles.
At Redfield Canyon Wilderness, motorized vehicles and other mechanical equipment, including motorhomes and bicycles, are not allowed. So, as you approach the park, look out for signs and posts that indicate where the wilderness boundaries are so that you’ll be able to park your vehicles. Getting around in the wilderness is either on foot or on your horse. Wheelchairs are allowed within the wilderness.
There are no direct public transportation services to Redfield Canyon Wilderness. For guests who wish to get RVs and trailers for developed camping opportunities nearby, rental equipment is available at the nearby Catalina State Park and Saguaro National Park East.
The Santa Catalina Camping Area consists of developed campgrounds in Santa Catalina State Park. The campgrounds are open year-round and permit pets. You can make reservations for the campsites within the camping area, and the maximum stay in a campsite is 14 consecutive nights. RVs up to 155 feet long can enjoy a stay here.
There are 120 campsites within the camping area, all of which are equipped with electric and water hookups for RVs. Campsites also have picnic tables, barbecue grills, modern flush restrooms, hot showers, and dump stations. The campground roads are paved, and so are the provided parking pads.
Recreational opportunities that campers can enjoy include bird watching, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and photographing wildflowers.
Redfield Canyon Wilderness features lots of areas that are ideal for hiking adventures, and this makes the park a favorite destination for backpackers. The canyon, for instance, is a narrow red-walled chasm that encourages hiking adventures during spring and fall. The elevations in the Redfield Canyon range from 3,400 feet to 6,200 feet, so you should have enough water so that you can stay hydrated on the walk through the wilderness area. Be prepared to discover hidden cascades and deep pools in the side canyons too.
Nature observation and sightseeing abound at Redfield Canyon Wilderness and its environs, mainly due to the fantastic landscapes and natural features that are present. The red-walled chasm canyon that is bound by tall cliffs with eroded caves is one of the most striking features of the wilderness. The pools and cascades within the canyons also thrill photographers. The perennial streams that exist in the small canyons in the wilderness offer the chance to see small aquatic life that flourishes in season.
Flora and fauna observation are popular activities at Redfield Canyon Wilderness as well as at Saguaro National Park's eastern Rincon Mountain District. Here, the elevation ranges from about 2,700 feet to 8,700 feet and there are six ecozones.
The flora communities within the low elevation areas include desert scrub and grassland, and oak woodland. As you go up the mountain, the plant communities you’ll come across are pine-oak woodland, pine forest, and mixed conifer forest. Wildlife in the area include black bear, Arizona mountain king snake, Mexican spotted owl, and white-tailed deer.
Bassett Peak, located just north of the Redfield Canyon Wilderness, is an inviting spot for wilderness explorers. Rock climbing is an immensely gratifying exercise here as the peak features amazing scenery for hikers and climbers.
Ash Creek is also a beautiful sight by the peak in fall. As you walk through the ridge, the volcanic rock formations present spectacular and alternating views, both to the west and east. As soon as you make your way to the top, you’ll see the sky islands in all their magnificence. The grasslands below are also a sight to see from up above.
Every once in a while, explorers at Redfield Canyon Wilderness take their adventure up a notch by visiting Galiuro Wilderness, a rugged terrain that lies north of this BLM park. Galiuro Wilderness is a historically significant site as it contains elements and remnants of the old west. In addition, diverse plant and animal communities reside in the wilderness. Douglas-fir and bigtooth maple are common sights in the area. Black bear and mountain lion are found here as well.
The Muleshoe Ranch CMA is a composite of public and private lands managed by The Nature Conservancy, BLM, and Coronado National Forest. Within this 78 square mile area, lush riparian habitats and rugged landscapes are prominent.
Several ranches and homesteads are also present in the CMA, demonstrating the importance of this area to early settlers. The streams within Muleshoe are home to five species of native fish, which present fishing opportunities for anglers, by respecting state laws. Hiking opportunities are also available year-round in the CMA.