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.

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 a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. Yield to pedestrians; many refuge routes are multi-use trails. Biking may be permitted at sites where it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads and trails where traditional bicycle use is allowed, if it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose and the refuge manager determines it to be a compatible use.
From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.
A relatively small number of Fish and Wildlife Service sites allow backpack camping or RV camping. For a list of federal lands that allow camping, check recreation.gov.
Many sites do not allow dogs because they can disturb wildlife. Refuges that do allow dogs generally require that they be leashed. Some sites allow hunters and sledders to bring dogs.
Horseback riding is permitted on designated trails of a limited number of refuges. Riders must follow refuge rules and regulations for this activity. See individual refuge websites for details.
Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Sometimes, sites host public displays of artworks created on the refuge.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
A few sites allow picnicking at designated areas.
Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.