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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Recreation > Boating & Floating > Old Safford Bridge Picnic Area
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Old Safford Bridge Picnic Area
picnickingwildlife watchingwater playfloating
old safford bridge picnic areaDescription
A small, shady picnic area in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA), this site is located in a mesquite grove along the Gila River.

Take U.S. Highway 70 east of Safford for 10 miles and turn north on U.S. Highway 191. At Three Way, turn left and continue to follow Highway 191 to milepost 160 (four miles south of Clifton) and turn left onto the Black Hills Back Country Byway. Follow this graded dirt road for four miles to the Old Safford Bridge at the Gila River. Turn right before crossing the bridge.


Visitor Activities
Picnicking, wildlife viewing, water play
Special Features
Picnic tables, grills, river access
Permits, Fees, Limitations
This site if for day use only. Do not build open campfires; use grills provided.  In addition to existing rules and regulations, there are supplemental rules which are used to help manage this site.
The Black Hills Back Country Byway that leads to the site is county-maintained and does not require a high-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle. The picnic area is a sandy site which is not fully accessible.
Camping and Lodging
Dispersed camping is available on public lands along the Byway; campers should choose previously disturbed sites to reduce impacts. Developed campsites are just up the hill at the Owl Creek Campground. Safford, Thatcher, Morenci, and Clifton have a variety of lodging options including motels and campgrounds. Roper Lake State Park offers cabin rentals.
Food and Supplies
Gasoline, food and supplies can be found in the towns listed above.
First Aid
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 Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford has emergency and medical/surgical capabilities.
Additional Information 
Those who wish to launch their rafts, kayaks and canoes should utilize the Old Safford Bridge Boat Put In on the other side of the river.

Streamflow Data

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.

 Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
Manager:  Tom Schnell
711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546
(928) 348-4400