Looking for an extraordinary desert mountain Wilderness experience? Then head to the Santa Teresa Mountains, but be forewarned: the going's not easy. Between Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation adjoining the BLM's North Santa Teresa Wilderness, access here is difficult. The Santa Teresas are a network of rugged mountains with bald summits, deep canyons, and sprawling mesas. Elevation ranges from less than 4,000 feet to 7,481 feet on the summit of Cottonwood Peak. Holdout and Mud Spring Mesas dominate the central Wilderness. Extremely rugged Holdout Canyon typifies the Santa Teresas: abundant caves and alcoves hollow into eroded cliffs with picturesque formations. Thick chaparral vegetation covers the terrain with stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir on the north flanks and the crest of Cottonwood Peak. Black bears live here among coatis, javelinas, and mountain lions. Peregrine falcons soar overhead, hunting for prey. Several foot trails give access to the more interesting spots in the Wilderness; some are maintained by cowboys driving their stock, but they are difficult to follow. Human use of the area is very light. Water flows year-round from a few springs.
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 Santa Teresa 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.