U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Cabeza Prieta
National Wildlife Refuge


1611 North Second Street
Ajo, AZ   85321
E-mail: Margot_Bissell@fws.gov
Phone Number: 520-387-6483
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/cabeza_prieta/
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  History
Continued . . .

Those who came later had a different vision of desert riches. In 1540, Melchoir Diaz made a name for himself as the first European to travel through the area, 90 years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. A member of Coronados expedition, he was searching for the lost city of Cibola, a legendary city of gold.

El Camino del Diablo, or Devil's Highway, crosses the refuge. Spanish Conquistador Captain de Anza pioneered the trail, stretching from Mexico to California, in 1774. It earned its name from travelers who died in route to the California gold fields.

In the twentieth century, numerous prospectors combed the mountains in search of precious metals. The discovery of rich copper deposits led to the opening of the Ajo mines in 1916.


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