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:
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  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
The Cabeza Prieta Lecture Series on Natural History and the Environment features bi-weekly presentations from November to March at the community center. The 7 to 8 p.m. talks are free. Check with the refuge staff for dates and topics.

Cabeza Prieta NWR's limited, desert bighorn sheep hunt offers a high quality hunting experience in a desert wilderness setting each December. Long hikes are necessary just to arrive at the base of many of the mountain ranges. Use of stock animals is permissable. Hunters must carry in their own food and water. Please contact the refuge for more specific information about the bighorn sheep hunt.

A nature trail near the refuge office offers a first introduction to the ecology of the Sonoran desert. Several bird blinds and watering holes make ideal conditions for excellent viewing of birds and wildlife.

Wildlife Observation
For the well prepared, the refuge offers plentiful hiking, photography, wildlife observation, and primitive camping. Please do not linger near water holes. Wildlife depend on them for survival.

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Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a national educational program to inform visitors about reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. Leave No Trace principles and practices are based on an abiding respect for the natural world and our fellow wildland visitors. We can act on behalf of the places and wildlife that inspire us by adopting the skills and ethics that enable us to Leave No Trace.

1. Plan ahead and prepare.
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Minimize campfire impacts. (Woodburning on the refuge prohibited; only charcoal and propane.)
6. Respect wildlife.
7. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)

The refuge office and visitor center is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed from 12:00 p.m.-1:00p.m. and closed for Federal holidays.

The refuge at-large has an annual closer from March 15th to July 15th, in consideration of the Sonoran Desert pronghorn fawning season. There is a small portion of refuge on the west side in non-pronghorn habitat that remains open all year. Access to this area is from Wellton, AZ south onto the refuge, to Tule Well. All other refuge access is closed during this period.

Before entering the refuge, you must obtain a valid Refuge Entry Permit and sign a Military Hold Harmless Agreement. Free permits are available from the refuge office through the mail.

Because 93% of the refuge is the Congressionally-designated Cabeza Prieta Wilderness area, special regulations exist to protect wilderness values for future use by visitors and hunters.

The historical trail El Camino Del Diablo is open to public travel for 4-wheel drive SUV’s, jeeps or pickups. Camping and hiking opportunities are available along this trail.

Charlie Bell trail in the northeast section is open to the public for high-clearance SUV’s, jeeps or pickups. Camping and hiking opportunities are available in this area.

Bicycles are allowed on the public use roads only, not off road. Pack stock and horses are allowed on the refuge, both on and off public-use roads. Contact the refuge office for specific guidelines for stock animals before entering the refuge.

Entrance Fees
For groups of 4 vehicles or more, a Special Use Permit is needed. Contact the refuge office for further information.

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