Motorized Recreation

 

Off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts of all skills levels can utilize their four wheel drive in Graham County. From an area with more than 2000 acres designated "open" to all types of vehicles including sand rails, ATVs, motorbikes and four- wheel- drive- trucks in the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area to the historic Rug Road, off-highway is a must in Graham County.

 

 

 

Frye Mesa

Black Hills Back Country Byway

 

The Black Hills Back Country Byway is unpaved, but is accessible to high clearance vehicles during dry weather.

 

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The Black Hills Back Country Byway is unpaved, but is accessible to high clearance vehicles during dry weather. Portions of the byway have narrow drop-offs or are confined by steep cliffs. Do not attempt the byway if you have a travel trailer or any vehicle more than 20 feet long. Motor homes and trailers can be left at parking areas provided near kiosks at each end. Please take extra care to drive defensively on this route. Always expect a vehicle around the next bend and remember: mountain courtesy gives uphill traffic the right of way.

 

The Black Hills Back Country Byway offers 21 miles of back country driving adventure through the northern end of the Peloncillo Mountains in southeastern Arizona. Along the Byway are sweeping views of the Black Hills, Gila Mountains, Mount Graham, and the Gila River Valley. Major attractions seen from the Byway include the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) along the Gila River, the Phelps Dodge Copper Mine at Morenci, a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, over 100 erosion-control structures, and a historic prison labor camp. Side trips off the Byway provide access to the Gila River and spectacular overlooks of the Gila River Canyon within the NCA.

 

Canyon Overlook Picnic Area

 

Canyon Overlook Picnic Area is located along the 21-mile-long Black Hills National Back Country Byway and provides a scenic vista of the Gila River canyon and nearby mountain ranges, Ramadas, picnic tables and grills.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

Safford Field Office

711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546
928.348.4400

 

website

Frye Mesa

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

 

Hot Springs, river rafting, birdwatching, and miles of trails make this National Conservation Area popular among those in the know.

 

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Hot springs, river rafting, birdwatching, and miles of trails make this National Conservation Area popular among those in the know. Bonita Creek wildlife viewing area is accessible and has numerous interpretive displays and shade shelters.

 

The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is located 20 miles northeast of Safford in Graham and Greenlee counties.

 

The 23,000-acre Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is truly an oasis in the desert. It has four perennial waterways - the Gila and San Francisco rivers and Bonita and Eagle creeks, which are the lifeline for this remarkable place. The Gila River canyon section, known as the Gila Box, is composed of patchy mesquite woodlands, mature cottonwoods, sandy beaches, and grand buff-colored cliffs. Bonita Creek, popular for birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking, is lined with large cottonwoods, sycamores, and willows. The perennial creek and riparian vegetation make this a cool year-round desert oasis.

 

Cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds make this year-round watery desert refuge worth the short drive from Safford.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

Safford Field Office

711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ  85546
928.348.4400

 

website

Hot Well Dunes Recreation

Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area

 

The sands at the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area were a beach surrounding a lake approzimately two million years ago.

 

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The sands at the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area were a beach surrounding a lake approximately two million years ago.  What remains today offers one of the most unique recreation spots in Arizona.  Where else does the opportunity to ride in sand dunes and soak in relaxing hot tubs exist at the same location?  However, please be considerate of your neighbors who may not be here to participate in the same activity as you.  This is the only way this area will continue to be available to have fun in the sand, sun, and water.

 

Fees collected at the site are returned directly to the site to improve and maintain the access roads, campsites, restroom facilities, hot tubs, picnic areas, and parking areas. We ask everyone to be partners in this effort by paying a few dollars to enjoy the public lands a whole lot more.

 

Permit and fee not required for vehicles in tow. The annual permit must be obtained from the Safford BLM office, 711 14th Ave, Safford, AZ 85546, or call (928) 348-4400.

 

Recreation use fees of $3.00 per vehicle per day or an annual permit for $30.00 are collected at this recreation area as part of a congressionally initiated program to generate revenues for improvements and maintenance of Federally-managed recreation sites.


From Safford, travel seven miles east on Highway 70.  Turn right (south) on BLM's Haekel Road and proceed 25 miles to the area.

 

Contact Information:

Bureau of Land Management

Safford Field Office
711 14th Ave
Safford, AZ 85546
928.348.4400

website

Frye Mesa

Rug Road

 

Rug Road got its name from the remnants of carpet that people have used to fille holes and ledges along the road to make it more passable.

 

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Rug Road got its name from the remnants of carpet that people have used to fill holes and ledges along the road to make it more passable.  The road is one of the roughest roads in the Safford Field Office - it is not for the faint of heart. Travel on the Rug Road requires a good high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle and experience driving in these conditions. The road transverses Table Mountain between Turkey Creek on the east end and Mammoth on the west end.  It is only about 20 miles long but will take a full day to traverse. You may want to plan for two days to be safe and to let your body recuperate from the rugged road!

 

Rug Road Location:
East End is 60 miles west of Safford. West end begins near Mammoth.

 

Access: From the east end parking lot of Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, travel up Turkey Creek for two miles.  The Rug Road leaves Turkey Creek just below the confluence of Oak Grove Canyon and Turkey Creek. The west end of the road begins across the San Pedro River from Mammoth.

 

 

Motorized Recreation Map