Outdoor Sports & Recreation
Located between the mountains and the high desert plains, the area has the widest variety of animal and bird life of any area in the United States. Safford welcomes you to explore its state park, mountain peak, campgrounds, and their state of the art observatory.
Known as "sky island," this 10,700 ft elevation is easily accessed by paved Swift Trail off Arizona Highway 366. Families, hikers, and day-trippers flock to the mountain to enjoy the camping, hiking, fishing, and wildlife-viewing vistas.
Gila Valley Hiking Club
The Gila Valley Hiking Club (GVHC) is a group of individuals of all ages and from all walks of life who share the personal enjoyment of hiking. Visitors are always welcome to hike with us.
Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park, an education and entertainment retreat with a riparian habitat, is focused on the science and culture of the Gila Valley, encompassing mining, agriculture,. and space exploration. Its new science museum featuring interactive displays and interpretive exhibits showcasing the area's geological diversity and important role in the field of astronomy.
Mount Graham International Observatory
National, international, and accredited scientists are on sight to guide you through an astrological experience. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the center’s weekend tours located on the Discovery Park Campus; featuring a trip up scenic Mount Graham, lunch near the summit of the mountain; and a guided tour of the observatories.
Roper Lake State Park
The park is comprised of 150 acres of land surrounding a 15-acre pond, with five miles of scenic trails and paths that allow for a good stretch of the legs. Enjoy a self guided tour through the wildlife of this beautiful Arizona State Park.
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
The 23,000-acre area contains four perennial waterways which are the lifeline to an extensive riparian ecosystem abounding with a diverse plant and animal community. A canyon section, known as the Gila Box, is composed of patchy mesquite woodlands, mature cottonwoods, sandy beaches, and grand buff-colored cliffs.
Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area
Sound like a day at the beach? The sands at the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area were a beach surrounding a lake approximately two million years ago. What remains today is one of the most unique recreation spots in Arizona.
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area
Before highways and railways, before pioneers, the land we know as the United States was truly a vast wilderness. To protect these last remaining areas, Congress created the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. Aravaipa's outstanding scenery, desert fish and wildlife, rich history, and opportunities for primitive recreation will remain free from the influence of man.
Santa Teresa Wilderness Area
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.
Fishhooks Wilderness Area
Sharing a long northeastern border with San Carlos Indian Reservation, Fishhooks Wilderness is a haven of solitude in an isolated and seldom visited region of Arizona. Ruggedly beautiful with grand vistas, the area contains Upper, Middle, and Lower Fishhooks, as well as Sam, Steer Springs, and Dutch Pasture Canyons, all of which offer pleasant hiking among shady riparian vegetation.
Galiuro Wilderness Area
Rugged terrain, diverse plant and animal communities, old west history and plenty of solitude are available for lovers of wilderness in the Galiuros. These rugged block fault mountains rise over 3,700 feet above the semi-desert savannas of the Sulphur Springs and San Pedro Valleys in southeastern Arizona.