Upper Burro Creek Wilderness is a 27,440-acre wilderness area in Arizona that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The name was derived from Burro Creek which flows through the desert. A nine-mile section of the creek passes through the wilderness. The creek is the sole reliable water source within the wilderness. As you head away from the creek you’ll pass through rolling hills and come to Negro Ed, a butte that towers above the surrounding landscape.
Visitors to Upper Burro Creek Wilderness will enjoy the quiet beauty of the desert as they explore the land. While there aren’t any official trails within the wilderness, many side canyons await hikers and hiking is popular along the creek as well. On a hot day, hop into the creek to cool off. Many different types of wildlife roam through the land including deer, antelope, mountain lions, and beavers. Keep a safe distance from any wildlife you see while in the wilderness. The abundant wildlife draws hunters to the area during the fall.
A BLM campground is located not far from the wilderness boundary. Burro Creek Campground has 30 campsites that can accommodate RVs. There are no hookups and very few amenities, so come prepared with extra supplies for a primitive camping experience. A section of the creek runs through the campground providing fun and relief from hot days.
Upper Burro Creek Wilderness lies in both Yavapai and Mohave counties in Arizona. Prescott is about 60 miles east and Kingman is approximately 60 miles northwest of the wilderness. Limited supplies and gas are just 10 miles away from the wilderness in Bagdad. The small community of Bagdad is known as a copper mining town. As you pass through, you may want to plan for a brief stop at the mining overlook.
There are four wilderness access points: Upper Burro Creek, Six-Mile Crossing, Sycamore Camp Access, and Goodwin Mesa Access. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary to reach the wilderness boundary on each of these routes. Goodwin Mesa, Upper Burro Creek, and Six-Mile Crossing routes become impassable after heavy rainstorms. These routes should be avoided for a few days after a storm or if rain is expected.
The routes to the wilderness aren’t suitable for most RVs or low-clearance vehicles. Visitors with RVs may want to first set up camp at Burro Creek Recreation Site then head out in a four-wheel-drive vehicle to navigate the wilderness boundary roads.
Burro Creek Recreation Site is a campground operated by the Bureau of Land Management. This campground is accessible to RVs. The roadway leading to the campground is paved, though it is narrow and also rough in some sections. RVers should also take caution as there is an eight percent downhill grade. Once in the campground, you’ll be driving and parking your rig on dirt and gravel.
Visitors to Burro Creek Campground can expect a mostly primitive experience, though limited services are available. A covered picnic table and fire ring are at each of the 30 campsites. While there are no hookups at any of the campsites, there is water available as well as a dump station. The campground also has restrooms.
Located near the creek, campers can beat the hot temperatures by taking a swim or wading in Burro Creek, which flows through the campground. Anglers may want to start or end their day fishing along the banks of the creek. Summers are harsh in the desert. Milder temperatures can be enjoyed by campers from October to April.
There are many miles of terrain for hikers to explore within the wilderness. There are no designated trails, but much of the landscape can be navigated. Routes ranging from easy to moderate can be found at the side canyons and along the lower end of the creek.
The upper section of Burro Creek provides a more strenuous hike. Come prepared to bushwhack through dense brush, particularly along the creek. The best time of year for hiking is from early fall to early spring when temperatures are more comfortable.
Upper Burro Creek Wilderness is a great spot to explore on horseback. Equestrians can ride along the creek corridor to find small waterfalls and the many pools the creek has created. Ride away from the creek into desert grassland and enjoy views of Negro Ed butte and many mesas.
While horseback riding is certainly a popular way to explore the wilderness, keep in mind there is very little shade throughout the wilderness. Bring plenty of water for both you and your horse. The creek is the only reliable source of water within the wilderness and the water should be treated prior to consumption.
Don’t forget your swimsuit and a towel! Burro Creek is refreshing on a hot day or after spending the day hiking. With daytime temperatures reaching well into the 100s from the late spring through summer, the creek is a welcome site to wilderness visitors. Even when the creek runs low, there is enough water to wade and splash in. A section of the creek runs through Burro Creek Campground, providing access from campsites.
Upper Burro Creek Wilderness is home to many types of wildlife that visitors may have the opportunity to see while at the creek or hiking the land. Birdwatchers will be thrilled to discover that over 150 types of birds have been seen in the wilderness. Down by the creek, a beaver may be spotted. Mule deer, antelope, foxes, and mountain lions are also common to the area. While it’s fun to see these animals in the wild, remember not to approach or touch them.
During the fall, the wilderness attracts many hunters to the area. An abundance of wildlife awaits patient hunters. Deer, antelope, and quail are commonly sought after although many other species of animals are common to the wilderness too.
Permits and information can be obtained from the Arizona Game & Fish Department. The wilderness falls under unit 18B and all hunting laws are enforced by the state.
Capture your adventures in Upper Burro Creek Wilderness. Whether you make a path along the creek or wander through the grassland, you’ll find many photo opportunities as you explore the wilderness. Snap a photo of the butte rising high above the desert landscape. Capture the many pools the creek forms. As the primary water source in the wilderness, you’ll be likely to spot some of the area’s wildlife nearby.