Visit Us

National wildlife refuges offer us all a chance to unplug from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with our natural surroundings. The refuge offers many opportunities to enjoy wildlife-related recreation. Except for Brown Canyon, refuge trails are open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hunting, camping, picnicking and many educational opportunities are scheduled throughout the year. 

All our trails and guided hikes offer great birding opportunities. Many of the back roads in the southeast and northeast grasslands are also good for hiking and backpacking.  

The Brown Canyon Education Center provides many opportunities for learning about the environment and ecology of the region. Take a guided hike or visit with a group and receive on-site instruction by refuge employees.  

Hunting is permitted on approximately 90% of the refuge. Hunting opportunities include mule and white-tailed deer, feral hogs, javelina, coyotes, skunks, white-winged, mourning, and Eurasian collared doves, ducks and geese, coots, jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits. 

The refuge has 83 primitive campsites that are marked with a campsite symbol and number.  There is an occupancy limit of 14 days within a 30-day period. Fires are permitted using dead or downed wood only in established fire rings at designated sites. Campfires may be restricted during periods of high fire danger. Camping is only permitted in designated campsites. No reservations are required, and it is free. 

Horseback riders may ride cross country, on roads, and in washes, except for the Brown Canyon and Arivaca sections. Please avoid creating trails and ruts. Groups using horses must provide their own water and weed-free feed and clean the campsite of horse manure. Groups using four or more horses must possess and carry a refuge permit. 

Driving Directions

From Tucson, go west on Ajo Way (Highway 86) to Three Points. Travel 38 miles south of Three Points on Highway 286 to milepost 7.5. If traveling on Interstate 19, take the Amado/Arivaca exit west, turn right at the T, and then left at the Cow Palace onto Arivaca Road. Proceed west 35 miles on the Arivaca Road to Highway 286 and turn left at milepost 7.5. 

Fees

There is no charge to visit the refuge but special fees may apply for Brown Canyon activities.  

 

Activities

Come out and enjoy Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge! Open to the public, visitors can enjoy wildlife watching and photography, hunting, fishing, wildlife photography and special wildlife-related events.  

Trails

Arivaca Cienega Trail

Length: 1.25 miles 

Location of trail: 0.25 miles east of Arivaca 

Surface: Boardwalk and packed dirt 

Difficulty: Easy 

This trail provides opportunities to see abundant bird life in a rare desert wetland. The trailhead has picnic tables and restrooms. The Cienega is open to explore at your leisure or you can join Tucson Audubon for a free guided bird walk November through April on the first Saturday of each month at 8:00 a.m. starting at the trailhead. Contact Rob Rutledge by phone at 520-609-9675 or by email at merlin32757@gmail.com for more information

Arivaca Creek Trail 

Location of trail: 2 miles west of Arivaca 

This trail meanders along the seasonal stream beneath towering cottonwoods. 

Mustang Trail

Length: 5 miles, loop 

Location of trail: Branches off the Arivaca Creek trail, 0.25 miles downstream from the trailhead 

Difficulty: Hard 

This rugged trail climbs El Cerro, a small mountain with steep sections at the top.  

Driving Loop  

Length: 10 miles 

Location of trail: Follow signs off the entry road just south of headquarters 

Difficulty: High clearance vehicles recommended due to washboard conditions 

Pronghorn Drive circles through open grassland with sweeping views of the Altar Valley.  

Rules and Policies

All hunters must possess a valid Arizona hunting license and applicable tag(s) and/or stamp(s). Seasons for migratory game birds, upland game and big game follow applicable Arizona state regulations. Migratory game birds may be hunted from one-half hour before legal sunrise to sunset. Upland and big game may be hunted during daylight hours. Guide service providers must obtain a special use permit from the refuge. Check the Arizona Game & Fish Department for more information. 

Hunting regulations: 

  • Hunting is not permitted in high public use areas or near residences. “No Hunt Zones” are posted on the ground and are identified in the refuge hunt brochure. Brochures are available at the refuge visitor center or brochure boxes posted throughout the refuge. 

  • Brown Canyon: Refuge lands in Brown Canyon are closed to hunting.  

  • Keep in mind that access may be limited by weather conditions. 

  • The use of dogs when hunting big game is prohibited, without exceptions. 

  • Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on national wildlife refuges must comply with all provisions of state and local law. 

  • Hunt opportunities include mule deer, white-tailed deer, feral hogs, javelina, coyotes, white-winged doves, mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, ducks, geese, coots, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, and skunks. No other game may be taken from Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge as all other animals and plants are protected. 

  • Any discharge of a firearm except to take legal game is not permitted. 

  • The use or possession of crossbows, bows and arrows, air guns, spears, gigs or other weapons is prohibited except as may be authorized under approved hunting regulations. 

  • The use of artificial light, including automotive headlights, to illuminate wildlife is prohibited. 

  • Pits, permanent blinds and stands, trail and scouting cameras are prohibited. Temporary stands and blinds are allowed but must be removed at the end of each day. Hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven to support a hunter is prohibited. 

  • The use or possession of alcoholic beverages while hunting is prohibited. 

  • Baiting is prohibited. 

  • The use of flagging tape, reflective tape, or other signs or markers is prohibited. 

  • Leaving property abandoned on a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
    A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

    Learn more about national wildlife refuge
    is prohibited. 

  • All accidents involving injury to person(s) or wildlife and/or property damage must be reported to an on-duty Refuge official within 24 hours of the accident. 

  • Trapping and fishing are prohibited. 

Locations

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
7.5 Miles North Of Sasabe On Highway 286 Sasabe, AZ 85633
Driving Directions

From Tucson, go west on Ajo Way (Highway 86) to Three Points. Travel 38 miles south of Three Points on Highway 286 to milepost 7.5. If traveling on Interstate 19, take the Amado/Arivaca exit west, turn right at the T, and then left at the Cow Palace onto Arivaca Road. Proceed west 35 miles on the Arivaca Road to Highway 286 and turn left at milepost 7.5. 

Hours
Administration Building Hours
Mon - Fri
7:30 am - 4 pm
Visitor Center Hours
November - April, Daily
8 am - 4 pm
May - October, varies
Varies, please call ahead