Close to the California border stands a cluster of rugged peaks at the western extreme of the Muggins Mountains, a region of colorful geologic strata and scenic landforms. Within Muggins Mountain Wilderness, elevations range from about 200 to 1,600 feet with the most prominent summits being Muggins Peak at 1,424 feet, Klothos Temple at 1,193 feet, and Long Mountain at 914 feet. Deeply cut drainages, such as Twin Tanks Wash and Long Mountain Wash, dissect the area. Prominent species of vegetation in the area include Creosote Bush, Desert Lavender, White Bursage, Rock Hibiscus, Desert Ironwood, Foothills Palo Verde, Blue Palo Verde, Buckhorn Cholla, Brittle Bush, Ocotillo, Catclaw Acacia, and Saguaro Cactus. Common wildlife includes Black-throated Sparrow, Rock Wren, Great-horned Owl, bats, ringtail, and side-blotched lizards.
A few hardy day hikers, backpackers, and rock climbers make the trek here, but there is an excellent chance you'll have this dry area to yourself. This area only receives 3.8 inches of precipitation each year and July temperatures average between 79.6 and 106.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In December, temperatures average from 42.4 to 68.1 degrees. When crossing the Yuma Military Proving Ground, north of the Wilderness, visitors are required to stay on the main road. Muggins Peak Trail is 5.2 miles long and Muggins Mountains Trail is 5.0 miles.
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 Muggins Mountain Wilderness.
The Muggins Mountains Wilderness area is located approximately 25 miles east of Yuma, Arizona.
Access by high-clearance and/or four-wheel drive vehicles is recommended.
To access Muggins Wash, take exit 21 (Dome Valley) from I-8. Pass through Ligurta on Old Highway 80 and turn north onto County Ave. 20E. Turn east onto County 7th Street and Drive Beyond the Dome Valley Transfer Station to the Muggins Wash nonwilderness corridor. The corridor extends into the center of the Wilderness near the southern base of Muggins Peak but becomes rough, four-wheel-drive-only for the last mile or so. It is recommended that you leave your vehicle near the information kiosk or before descending into the wash.
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.
Recreational opportunities include hiking, primitive camping, horseback riding, and hunting. Noncommercial trapping is permitted in accordance with State and Federal laws. Hobby rock collecting is permitted, but limited to hand methods or detection equipment that does not cause a surface disturbance- digging and prying tools are not permitted.
To help preserve Wilderness character through responsible recreation, please:
Choose your equipment in earthtone colors that blend in with the environment.
Hike in small groups when traveling cross-country.
Camp at least ¼ mile from wildlife water sources.
Hide your camp from view and refrain from building camp structures.
Use camp stoves instead of campfires.
If you do build a fire, do not construct a fire ring and use only small sticks. Once the fire is out, scatter ashes and naturalize the area.
Pick up trash and pack it out (yours and others).
Be courteous to other people. Avoid loud music or noise and keep pets under control.
Bury human waste in cat holes 6-8 inches deep and at least 75 paces from your camp or water sources.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Temperatures can be as low as 30° Fahrenheit from December through January,, and can reach above 115° Fahrenheit or greater during June through September. Precipitation generally ranges from 2 to 4 inches per year. Rainfall, which can occur at any time of the year, is often preceded by strong and sudden windstorms. Watch for cloud build up and be aware of possible flash flooding in washes and drainages.
Safety and Current Conditions
For your safety:
Let a friend or relative know where you plan to go and when you plan to return.
Plan your trip. Take plenty of water; there are no permanent water sources or facilities in the Muggins Mountains.
Be prepared for extreme temperatures. Check weather forecasts. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can be life threatening. In colder months, guard against hypothermia.
Be aware of poisonous animals. The Wilderness is home to many reptiles and insects whose bite or sting could ruin your day. Never put hands or feet where you can't see.
Pace yourselves and recognize your limitations as well as your abilities. The terrain is rugged and there are no established trails. Watch your footing.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.