A Guide to the Wonders of SE Arizona and SW New Mexico

-or- Things to Do Within 100 Miles of Duncan

 

List - Bird Watching

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1

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness (AZ)



Its 19,410 acres southwest of Safford, includes 11-mile-long Aravaipa Canyon, surrounding tablelands and side canyons. The area supports native desert fish, desert bighorn sheep, and over 200 species of birds.
[ See their website ]   

2

Blue River Complex (AZ-NM)



Of the total 400,000-acre Blue River watershed, 99% is managed by the U.S. Forest Service for the public. Half of the watershed is a designated Primitive Area.
[ See their website ]   

3

Catwalk National Recreation Trail (NM)



Set deep in southwestern New Mexico`s rugged Mogollon Mountains, this meander takes you along the Whitewater Creek Canyon and across an historic metal catwalk. Much of the trail is wheelchair-accessible.
[ See their website ]   

4

Cave Creek Canyon



Nestled into the eastern slopes of the Chiricahuas, with spectacular soaring cliffs and other scenery, world class birdwatching, a riparian area teeming with unique wildlife, and a number of forest recreation amenities.
[ See their website ]   

5

Chihuahuan Wildlife Heart Bar Riparian Area (NM)



The Heart Bar Ranch, acquired by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish more than four decades ago, includes access to two riparian areas along the West Fork of the Gila River. One area is Little Creek Pond, with rushes, willow thickets, and cattails, flanked by tall cottonwoods on the west and rocky hills overlooking the river to the east. Another 1.5 miles down the road, an unmarked dirt track leads to a riverside cottonwood grove. Wildlife animal activity includes black-headed grosbeak, yellow-breasted chat, mallard, common merganser, even the common black hawk.
[ See their website ]   

6

Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area (AZ)



Its 788 acres at the base of the north slopes of the Pinaleno Mountains cover cottonwood-willow riparian woodland habitat, agricultural fields, and wetlands and ponds. Open to hunters in season so wildlife viewing is off-season only.
[ See their website ]   

7

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (AZ)



Hot springs, river rafting, birdwatching, and miles of trails make this accessible National Conservation Area popular but rarely crowded. Bonita Creek wildlife viewing area is accessible and has numerous interpretive displays and shade shelters.
[ See their website ]   

8

Gila Lower Box Canyon Wilderness Study Area (NM)



Managed as a biological Area of Critical Environment Concern by the Bureau of Land Management. Remote and lovely.
[ See their website ]   

9

Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness (NM)



The nations first designated Wilderness Area, championed by the famed naturalist Aldo Leopold. Spectacular Indian cliff dwellings and a couple of ghost towns are tucked in amidst 3.3 million acres of unspoiled cactus deserts, forested foothills, and aspen-covered peaks.
[ See their website ]   

10

Guadalupe Canyon (NM)



A remote but easily accessed wildlife preserve in the southern Peloncillo Mountains, said to be a bird watchers dream.
[ See their website ]   

11

Pinaleo Mountains/Swift Trail Tour (AZ)



The ecological equivalent of driving from Mexico to Canada all in one leisurely afternoon on a sky-scraping, switch-backing mountain road. South of Safford.
[ See their website ]   

12

Reay Lane Reclamation Ponds and Marsh (AZ)



This wastewater reclamation facility in the Town of Thatcher on Highway 70 provides excellent waterfowl and shorebird habitat and has yielded numerous rare bird sightings. Close to Safford and adjacent to the Gila River.
[ See their website ]   

13

Red Rock Wildlife Area (NM)



Very remote wildlife viewing area on the Gila River, and a refuge for desert bighorn sheep. Bicyclers are allowed on some roads.
[ See their website ]   

14

Roper Lake State Park (AZ)



Beautiful man-made lake of 30 surface acres, a boat ramp, natural stone hot tub, a swimming beach, a day use island with picnic tables and grills, and five miles of hiking trails. Boats are limited to small electric motors, so its great for a sail board or canoe.
[ See their website ]   

15

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway (NM)



Views of old volcanic mountain ranges and the wild, undammed Gila River, abundant wildlife including 337 species of birds, and the presence of seven of the eight distinct ecological zones.
[ See their website ]   

16

Village of Virden (NM)



Take the 26-mile loop from Duncan and back, or turn off and continue on into New Mexico. This is a hidden agricultural paradise along the Gila River. The ruins of the old Mexican settlement of San Antonio are there. There is excellent bird-watching at the Virden Bridge. Neldas Quilt Shop is open most afternoons. Buy fresh produce in season at a roadside stand. No public facilities.