The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA) is about an hour northeast of Safford. The Lee Trail area provides a quiet retreat for a picnic and offers excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities.
From Safford, travel approximately five miles east on U.S. Highway 70 to the town of Solomon and turn left onto Sanchez Road. Travel north for eight miles, crossing the bridge at the Gila River, to a Gila Box RNCA sign. Turn left onto that dirt road. Travel another 3.8 miles and take the left fork onto the West Bonita Rim Road. Follow the signs to the Lee Trail Picnic Area. A high-clearance, four-wheel drive is recommended for the steep hill during the last part of the drive.
Picnicking, hiking, wildlife viewing
Restroom, picnic tables, grills
Permits, Fees, Limitations
Day use only; no fees
No open fires; use grills
A four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle is recommended; the hill leading down to the site is steep and sometimes difficult to travel. The restroom at the picnic area is wheelchair accessible.
Camping and Lodging
Dispersed camping is allowed on public lands; campers should choose previously disturbed sites to reduce impacts. The nearest developed campsite is at Riverview Campground
. Safford and Thatcher offer a variety of lodging options including motels and campgrounds.
Food and Supplies
Gasoline, food and supplies can also be found in Safford and Thatcher.
No first aid available on site. Dial 911 for emergencies; cell phone coverage is limited in some areas, so you may have to seek higher ground to reach cell service. The nearest medical facility is the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford.
The Graham County Chamber of Commerce can provide more information about local recreation opportunities, as well as lodging and restaurant options on their website or by calling 1-888-837-1641.
Further information may be obtained by contacting:
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
Manager: Tom Schnell
711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546