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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > National Conservation Lands > Wilderness Areas > Hell's Canyon
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Hell's Canyon Wilderness Area
Wilderness Management Plan

Location and Description

The 9,900-acre Hell's Canyon Wilderness lies 25 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona in Maricopa and Yavapai counties.

Nestled in the scenic portion of the Hieroglyphic Mountain Range, the most prominent peaks are Garfias Mountain (elevation 3,381 feet) and Hellgate Mountain (elevation 3,339 feet). Other peaks, most over 3,000 feet in elevation, encircle Burro Flats, effectively isolating the flats from the surrounding countryside. Most of the wilderness is covered by Sonoran desert shrub vegetation saguaro, paloverde, barrel cactus, ocotillo, and desert grasses.

Several mountains with cliffs offer climbing, and the canyons offer opportunities for miles of hiking and acres of sightseeing. The Spring Valley trail it the most popular in this wilderness primarily because it is the easiset to access.  Primitive camping spots are abundant, but water may not be present.  The area supports wildlife such as mountain lions, bobcats, javalina, and other smaller mammals, rattlesnakes, a variety of other non-venomous snake and the venomous gila monster.  A variety of cacti, succuents, and geological interests provide photographic and viewing opportunities.


From State Route 74, turn north at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park turnoff and continue north on the Castle Hot Springs Road. The only vehicle access to the wilderness boundary is the west side boundary road (Cedar Basin Road). High-clearance and four-wheel-drive vehicles are needed to reach most public access sites to this wilderness. Public access is not available across private lands abutting parts of the north, east, and south wilderness boundaries.  Access to the Spring Valley trail is located along Castle Hot Springs Road.

Nonfederal Lands

Some lands around and within the wilderness are not federally administered. Please respect the property rights of the owners and do not cross or use these lands without their permission.

Related Maps

  • 7.5-minute Topographic: Garfias Mountain, Governors Peak
  • 1:100,000 BLM Surface Management: Phoenix North
  • Game and Fish Management Unit 20B

For more information contact:

 Hassayampa Field Office 
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
Phone: (623) 580-5500
Fax: (623) 580-5580
Field Manager:  Rem Hawes
Hours:  7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., M-F

"Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you."
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)