El Camino del Diablo Back Country Byway

"The Road of the Devil"

El Camino del Diablo is a rough, unpaved route crossing the Barry M. Goldwater Range in southwestern Arizona. First used by Native Americans for their travels, the route was chosen by the Spanish soldier Melchior Diaz in 1540. Other historic figures followed, including Father Kino, Father Garces, and Juan Bautista de Anza. Beginning in 1849, the trail was used by immigrants from Mexico as a route to the California gold fields. Between 400 and 2,000 people died of thirst along the trail, making the Camino the deadliest immigrant trail in North America. Today's visitors travel through natural landscapes with scenery ranging from the desert mountain ranges of the Gila and Tinajas Altas Mountains to the low desert and sand dunes of the Yuma and Lechuguilla Deserts.

A U.S. Marine Corps permit is required for entry to the Barry M. Goldwater Range and is available from the Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Range Management Department (520-341-3402). El Camino del Diablo continues through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. A permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Ajo, Arizona) is required to travel on the refuge (520-387-6483).

There are no services, water, or facilities along this route. Summer temperatures often exceed 120 degrees; during winter, the lows can be below freezing. Bring at least one to two gallons of water per person per day, and pack at least two days extra water and food.

Four-wheel drive is recommended on all routes on the Barry M. Goldwater Range.


  Yuma Field Office
7341 E. 30th Street
Yuma, Arizona 85365
Phone: (928) 317-3200
Fax: (928) 317-3250
E-mail: YFOWEB_AZ@blm.gov 
Field Manager:  John MacDonald
Hours:  7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M-F