On the western edge of the Buckskin Mountains where they flatten toward the lower Colorado River, Gibralter Mountain rises only 1,568 feet above sea level, a raggedy mass of volcanic rock cut by many deep, sandy washes and rocky canyons. Among the eroded volcanic tuff beds you'll find numerous fascinating alcoves and caves, and along the heights are rewarding vistas in all directions. Every year several hundred people come on foot and on horseback to see the sights and to photograph the colorful panoramas dotted with creosote bush, cholla, barrel cactus, and paloverde. Patient and observant wildlife watchers catch glimpses of desert bighorn sheep. A few rock climbers have discovered this area. The winding washes make fine pathways of travel. While some see it only as a barren land, others have found Gibralter Mountain a serene and beautiful desert refuge. Temperatures range from lows near 25 degrees F. in the months of December and January to highs that may exceed 115 degrees F. from July through September. Carry plenty of water, as this area only receives 2 to 8 inches of rainfall per year. Elevations within the Wilderness boundaries range from 560 to 2,100 feet.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.