Camping in Pinaleño Mountains, Coronado National Forest

 

Pinaleno Mountains

 

The Pinaleño Mountains are a remote mountain range in southeastern Arizona within the Coronado National forest. There is over 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of vertical relief, more than any other range in the state.

 

Contact Information:

Safford Ranger District

711 14th Avenue, Suite D

Safford, AZ 85546

928.428.4150

 

Cunningham Campground and Corrals

 

Located high in the Pinaleño Mountains in an open, grassy stand of aspen and fir, this campground was constructed to provide a more primitive camping experience than most...

 

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Located high in the Pinaleño Mountains in an open, grassy stand of aspen and fir, this campground was constructed to provide a more primitive camping experience than most forest campgrounds. Campsites include a parking area and a fire grill. A public corral is available for riding and pack stock.

 

Cunningham Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 33 miles southwest of Safford.

Hospital Flat Campground

 

Hospital Flat is so named because in the 1880's it served as a site for a field hospital for ailing soldiers from Fort Grant.

 

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Hospital Flat is so named because in the 1880’s it served as a site for a field hospital for ailing soldiers from Fort Grant. That frontier outpost is located along Grant Creek on the south slope of the Pinaleños. The restorative powers of this cool mountain meadow, carpeted with wildflowers and traversed by a small creek, were sufficiently notable that it also became a summer retreat for officers and their families trying to escape the heat of their desert outpost. Fort Grant was closed in 1905 and now serves as an Arizona State Prison Facility. Hospital Flat still serves as a popular refuge for forest recreationists who come to its pleasant surroundings for much the same reason as did those soldiers of a hun.

 

Hospital Flat Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 31 miles southwest of Safford.

Noon Creek Picnic Area

 

The name "Noon Creek" comes from the fact that when pioneer settlers traveled this way on excursions into the Pinaleño Mountains, this was usually as far as they were able to...

 

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The name “Noon Creek” comes from the fact that when pioneer settlers traveled this way on excursions into the Pinaleño Mountains, this was usually as far as they were able to get via horse and wagon by lunch time of the first day. Noon Creek thus became a traditional lunch stop along the historic travel route into the Pinaleños and it remains a popular picnic spot today. The surroundings here are typical of mountain oak woodlands with junipers and scrub oaks standing as the tallest trees, while satin barked manzanita, saw-leafed sotol and soaptree yucca form a picturesque understory. As you enjoy your favorite picnic dish in this setting, keep an eye out for some of the local residents. You may catch a glimpse of a spiny lizard or a raspy-voiced cactus wren, a bird well adapted to life in this dry, bristling environment. Even if you don’t see the latter, you can usually hear their raspy call. Watch for roadrunners, too, as they dart among the underbrush always on the lookout for a slithery meal.

 

Noon Creek Picnic Area is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 15 miles southwest of Safford.

 

Riggs Flat Campground

 

The main attraction at Riggs Flat Campground is Riggs Flat Lake. Some come to fish in it, some to boat in it, and some to just enjoy the reflective beauty this small (11 acre) lake...

 

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The main attraction at Riggs Flat Campground is Riggs Flat Lake. Some come to fish in it, some to boat on it, and some just to enjoy the reflective beauty this small (11 acre) lake adds to such a scenic area. The dam which forms was financed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1957 to provide trout fishing for forest recreationists. The Department now stocks its waters with rainbow trout about once a month from May 15 through September 14. Brown and brook trout are stocked once a year in October. Boats are permitted on the lake may be powered by no more than a single electric trolling motor.

 

Riggs Flat Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 40 miles southwest of Safford.

Round the Mountain Trailhead, Picnic Area and Corrals

 

This mountainside picnic area is located along the scenic Swift Trail at a major access point to one of

 

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This mountainside picnic area is located along the scenic Swift Trail at a major access point to one of the Pinaleños’ more popular hiking and horsebacking trails. The Round the Mountain Trail #302 starts at the edge of the picnic area and wanders across the north slopes of the mountain 14.5 miles to the historic Columbine area high on its central plateau. Along this route, it winds across scenic slopes and through several creeks presenting some of the most varied views of any of the major trails in the Pinaleños. This is a very popular trail with those forest visitors who like to do their sight-seeing from the back of a trusty trail horse. For that reason, the Safford District of the Coronado National Forest developed a three-stall public corral here at the same time it installed the picnic tables.

 

Round the Mountain Picnic Area is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 15.5 miles southwest of Safford.

 

Shannon Campground

 

Shannon Campground is small and tucked away along the upper reaches of Marijilda Creek, a pleasant little brook that winds through a setting of tall trees and green grass.

 

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Shannon Campground is small and tucked away along the upper reaches of Marijilda Creek, a pleasant little brook that winds through a setting of tall trees and green grass. Campsites are shaded under mature Engelmann spruce and Douglas-fir. Two three-sided wood shelters of the type originally developed in the Adirondack Mountains of New York add to the historic atmosphere of this campground.

 

Shannon Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 30 miles southwest of Safford.

Soldier Creek Campground

 

Campsites at Soldier Creek are nestled in a forest grove where large granite boulders sculptured by the forces of nature help separate the sites and add to the area's scenic...

 

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Campsites at Soldier Creek are nestled in a forest grove where large granite boulders sculptured by the forces of nature help separate the sites and add to the area’s scenic beauty. A short walk from camp, an abrupt drop-off provides good views of the lower slopes of the Pinaleños, of the Aravaipa Valley and the Galiuro and Winchester mountains.

 

Soldier Creek Campground is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 37.5 miles southwest of Safford.

Wet Canyon Picnic Area

 

Wet Canyon Picnic Area is tucked away along the side of the Swift Trail where a small stream tumbles off the mountain down a serires of rocky little waterfalls.

 

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Wet Canyon Picnic Area is tucked away along the side of the Swift Trail where a small stream tumbles off the mountain down a series of rocky little waterfalls. Only 3 sites are available here because of the intimate nature of the area, but if you’re lucky enough to find a site vacant you should have no trouble enjoying yourself in this picturesque little hideaway. Each site is terraced into the mountainside in the shade of spreading Arizona alder and walnut trees that help add to the area’s unique atmosphere.

 

Wet Canyon Picnic Area is located in the Pinaleño Mountains 18 miles southwest of Safford.