A thin four-wheel-drive road is all that separates Signal Mountain Wilderness from Woolsey Peak Wilderness to the south. Signal Mountain itself, rising just north of the center of the area, reaches a summit at 2,182 feet (1,200 feet above the surrounding desert floor). Here you'll find sharp volcanic peaks, steep-walled canyons, ragged ridgelines, arroyos (slim, usually dry riverways), and plains spreading out from the washes. Paloverde, saguaro, and creosote bushes are scattered throughout the bajadas and upland regions. Washes are lined with mesquite, ironwood, acacia, and more paloverde. Wildlife watchers may see desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and several species of raptors. A large number of quail live here, and quail and mule deer hunters are frequent visitors. Rock climbers are beginning to flock to the valleys and canyons around Signal Mountain, where bold cracked faces offer a multitude of routes of varying difficulty.
Leave No Trace
Leave the area as you would like to find it. Pack out all trash; do not bury it as animals will dig it up after you leave. Dogs disturb wildlife and other visitors; if you bring a dog, keep it under control at all times. If you need a fire, keep it small and away from rock outcrops. If you build a fire ring, please dismantle it when you are through and bury the ashes before leaving the area. Cigarette butts, pull tabs, orange peels, etc. are all litter. PACK IT IN-PACK IT OUT.
The 13,350-acre Signal Mountain Wilderness is in southwest Maricopa County, 18 miles northwest of Gila Bend, AZ and 35 miles southwest of Phoenix, AZ. This wilderness is adjacent to the 64,000-acre Woolsey Peak Wilderness, just to the southeast separated by a four-wheel drive road. The most frequently used access to Signal Mountain Wilderness and Woolsey Peak Wilderness is via Old U.S. 80, a paved highway, the Agua Caliente Road, an improved dirt road, and jeep trails. Travel to Signal Mountain Wilderness requires a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. The Signal Mountain Wilderness is bounded on the north by point-to-point, cross-country lines. The eastern and southern boundaries are primitive, two-track vehicle routes, and the western boundary is comprised of a grazing allotment boundary fence and ephemeral desert wash. For specifice access contact the Lower Sonoran Field Office.
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.
The most frequently used access to Signal Mountain Wilderness and Woolsey Peak Wilderness is via Old U.S. 80, a paved highway, the Agua Caliente Road, an improved dirt road, and jeep trails. Travel to Signal Mountain Wilderness requires a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. For specific access contact the Lower Sonoran Field Office.
Signal Mountain Wilderness offers outstanding recreational opportunities for cross-country foot and horseback travel, rock climbing, hunting and wildlife viewing. However, there are no marked trails, campsites, or other developed recreational amenities.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Signal Mountain Wilderness receives the greatest use from October through April, when the temperature is best suited for visiting. The wilderness area is prone to heavy rains and flash floods during the summer months. One should be prepared for hot and cold exposure with the correct clothing and equipment.
Safety and Current Conditions
As with other types of outdoor activities, wilderness travel poses some potential hazards and risks. You may encounter flashfloods, lightning storms, poisonous snakes, insects and plants. Carry an ample supply of water with you since the area has inadequate water sources.
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.