Ragged and rugged, the Peloncillo Mountains stretch north from Mexico to the Gila River and New Mexico is just across the border from this wilderness. The historic Butter-field Stage Route forms the southern boundary, but within the area you won't find many history buffs--in fact, you'll find few signs of human activity at all. Violent volcanic upheaval pushed these mountains into a veritable maze of canyons extending in all directions. Little Doubtful Canyon on the eastern side is extraordinarily scenic with an extensive Emory and Arizona white oak forest on the bottom, but just outside the Wilderness, access gates are often locked by landowners. Other canyons worth exploring include Ward, Indian Springs, Midway, Old Horseshoe, Millsite, and West Doubtful. Elevations range from about 4,000 feet to 6,401 feet and the views are worth the climb to higher ground. Among the vegetation in this high, dry land is mesquite, snakeweed, burroweed, turpentine bush, creosote, catclaw, whitethorn, agave, prickly pear, and juniper. Desert bighorn sheep have been reintroduced, and peregrine falcons soar in the bright skies. A large deer population attracts a few hunters.
Summer temperatures average from 60 to 97 degrees F and winter temperatures average between 27 to 58 degrees. Peloncillo Mountains Wilderness receives a total of 10.7 inches of precipitation, annually.
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 Peloncillo Mountains 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.