You're practically in another state in Trigo Mountains Wilderness; the Golden State to be precise. Only a thin strip of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge along the lower Colorado River separates this Wilderness from California. The Yuma Military Proving Ground lies to the east. A road divides the area into northern and southern sections. Here you'll find 14 miles of the Trigo Mountain ridgeline cut by Red Cloud Wash in the south, Clip Wash in the center, and Hart Mine Wash in the north. Elevations range from about 300 to 1,700 feet. Numerous washes further dissect the area's sawtoothed ridges. Water often seeps to the surface in several springs. Folks set off on extended horsepacking and backpacking trips along the washes, and rock climbers scale the Trigo Mountains. The Colorado River supports diverse wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, gray foxes, coyotes, and ring-tailed cats, and typical Sonoran Desert vegetation covers the area. Year-round temperatures range from the low 50s to mid-90s and less than 5 inches of rain falls, 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 Trigo Mountain Wilderness.
The Trigo Mountains Wilderness is located about 25 miles north of Yuma, Arizona, in La Paz County.
From Yuma, travel north along Highway 95 to the Martinez Lake Road. Travel west on Martinez Lake Road to the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. Travel northwest on Red Cloud Mine Road to Red Cloud Wash. Roads near the wilderness include Cibola Road, Hart Mine Wash Road, and Lopez Wash Road. High-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for access to the wilderness boundary.
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 Trigo 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.
Avoid abandoned mine workings. These areas are susceptible to collapse and extremely dangerous. They are also home to a variety of animal species that might view your presence as a threat.
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.