Skip Navigation

Wilderness Areas

View from Chupadera / Daniel Perry ©Wilderness designation ensures this amazing desert landscape is protected for future generations.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge includes three wilderness areas, a combined 30,400 acres. All three units were given the important designation by Congress in 1975. 

Chupadera Peak Wilderness Area
The 5,440 acre Chupadera Peak Wilderness Area is nearly six miles long and about one and a half miles wide. Elevations range from 4,600 feet to 6,272 feet at the top of the Chupadera Peak. In the heart of this unit is an area of rugged Chihuahuan Desert habitat. here, outcroppings of rich brown, almost reddish, cliff-like formations, some more than 100 feet high, form what is probably the most spectacular characteristic within this wilderness area.

A four and a half mile trail takes hikers to the top of Chupadera Mountain for breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding Middle Rio Grande Valley. Hunting of mule deer and small game is allowed in this area in accordance with federal and state regulations.

All public access to the Chupadera Wilderness Area is through the Chupadera Wilderness National Recreational Trail, located off State Highway 1 within the refuge. The Chupadera Wilderness Area is open to foot-traffic only. Motorized vehicles of any type or make, bicycles, and horses are not permitted.

Indian Wells Wilderness Area
The 5,100-acre Indian Wells Wilderness Area averages about two miles in width and is approximately four miles long. This unit is located in the southwestern portion of the refuge, adjacent to the Chupadera Wilderness Area. Average elevation is 4,500 feet and the vegetation found along the small ridges and mesas includes creosote, black gama grass and fluffgrass, as well as snake week and prickly pear. Juniper trees are scattered along some of the ridges.

Named for a distinctive geological formation in the foothills that trapped and held water, which was used by Native Americans and settlers alike, this wilderness area also provides access to the Chihuahuan Desert. Public access is from the Canyon National Recreation Trail, which enters the wilderness boundary. Once inside the Indian Well Wilderness, visitors may access it at any point along the Canyon National Recreation Trail. The area offers hiking and wildlife observation/photography. Hunting of mule deer and small game is permitted in the Indian Wells Wilderness Area in accordance with federal and state regulations. It is open to foot-traffic only. Motorized vehicles of any type or make, bicycles, and horses are not permitted.

Little San Pasqual Wilderness Area
The 19,859-acre wilderness area averages two and a quarter miles in width and 14 miles in length and comprises the entire section of the refuge east of the gas pipeline that runs through Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Elevations range from 4,500 feet to 5,500 feet at the top of Little San Pascual Mountain near the southeastern corner of the wilderness. Most of the unit is very gently rolling terrain until reaching the mountainous portion of the unit.

The area offers limited hiking and wildlife observation/photography. Hunting of mule deer and small game is permitted in the Little San Pasqual Wilderness Area in accordance with federal and state regulations. All public access is through San Pedro Road entrance, located on the northern boundary of the wilderness area.

Motorized vehicles of any type are not permitted. During hunting season, the use of horses and bicycles is permitted in support of hunting activities, but only on a limited basis. Hunters are urged to check in with the refuge prior to their actual hunt to check current conditions.
Page Photo Credits — View from Chupadera / Daniel Perry ©
Last Updated: Oct 01, 2013
Return to main navigation