Area Status: Open

More than anything else, the 26,780-acre Santa Teresa Wilderness can be described as remote. Trails exist in many places only as routes kept open by cowboys driving their stock. These mountains are characterized by deep canyons, rocky outcrops and bald summits. Vegetation is predominantly thick chaparral with forests of ponderosa pine occupying high ridges. A stand of Douglas-fir grows on the sheltered north slope of Cottonwood Peak, the highest in the range. The granite cliffs, buttes and ridges of the Santa Teresas lend themselves to the weathering forces of nature in such a way that, in many places, they have been sculpted into strikingly picturesque formations. These natural works of art give the Santa Teresa Wilderness an unmistakable character. Because of this area’s remote nature, it serves as ideal habitat for wildlife species that prefer a high degree of isolation. Among those are black bear and mountain lion. Other desert species, such as mule deer, coatimundi and javelina, can be found here as well. When added to this area’s other notable attributes, the possibility of encountering some of these reclusive residents makes a trip to the Santa Teresa Wilderness well worth the effort.

At a Glance

Restrictions: Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness. Please abide by Wilderness rules and observe NO TRACE! ethics.
Closest Towns: 40 miles north of Willcox, 50 miles northeast of Tucson, and 30 miles southwest of Safford. (Straight line distances, not road mileages.)
Water: Water is available year-round at a limited number of springs. Purification of water is recommended.
Operated By: Safford Ranger District
Information Center: Safford Ranger District 928-428-4150


Day Hiking


Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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  Elevation : 
4,000 feet - 7,500 feet