Facility Activities

There are many ways to enjoy Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge including hiking, camping, hunting, photography, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. Birding opportunities are especially abundant in the spring and fall when migratory birds pass through the Refuge. For an overnight adventure, you’ll find primitive campsites along El Camino del Diablo and Christmas Pass.

Every second Saturday of each month, the refuge invites the public to drive their cars up to Child's mountain. 1,500 feet above the desert floor, this mountain offers incredible views of Cabeza Prieta NWR and Barry Goldwater Airforce Range. The next Child's Mountain tour will be September 9th, 2023

Chico Shuni Village 

Open Season: Open year round, best used October - April 

Length: 1 Mile (one way) 

Location of trail: Trail can be accessed by Bureau of Land Management road 8113F 

Surface: Gravel 


In 1939, a group of Boy Scouts concerned about the decline of desert bighorn sheep wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The result was the establishment of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to conserve the sheep and their habitat. Cabeza Prieta, Spanish for "dark (or dirty) head," refers...

Backpacking is allowed, by permit, on some sites where trails that pass through a refuge are too long or remote to hike in one day.

Biking is allowed on public access roads within the refuge, but beware - none are paved! Grab your mountain or gravel bike and enjoy an adventure through the Sonoran Desert. 

The refuge is home to numerous year-round resident birds, but many visitors love to visit during the spring and fall migrations, where seldom seen species use the refuge as a stopover on their journey. 

Be sure to report your observations to our rangers so they can go on our Recent...

Camping is a great way to enjoy the refuge, and to experience things you would miss on a one day visit.

Visitors are encouraged to camp at one of the established campgrounds on the refuge, although dispersed camping is allowed. The campgrounds, located along El Camino del Diablo, are...

Dog walking is allowed on refuge trails, as long as all dogs are leashed. 

Horseback riding is allowed on the refuge with a special use permit. Please contact Deputy Refuge Manager, Alfredo Soto (alfredo_soto@fws.gov) or call the Visitor Center at 520/287-6483 for assistance. 

The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge offers expansive opportunity for photography. From our wildlife to landscapes, there's always something to focus in on. 

A few of our favorite photography spots include the Pinta Sands, Charlie Bell Pass, and the top of Child's Mountain. The...

The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge offers multiple wildlife watching opportunities. From the wildlife water located behind our visitor center in Ajo to the countless opportunities provided by wilderness, there's always wildlife if you stop and look!