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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Recreation > Camping > Developed Campgrounds & Picnic Areas >Serna Cabin Picnic Area & Historical Site
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Serna Cabin Picnic Area & Historical Site
This small developed picnic area is located along Bonita Creek near the historic Serna Cabin within the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA). It borders a riparian area with large cottonwood, sycamore and willow trees. The Serna Cabin was constructed in the 1920s and restored by the BLM in 1991.
serna cabin and historical siteLocation
The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA) is about an hour from Safford. The Serna Cabin is located at the confluence of Bonita Creek and the Gila River.
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 right fork in the road. Travel 0.6 mile to another fork and turn right. At the next fork, follow the signs left to the Bonita Creek Watchable Wildlife Viewing Area and Serna Cabin Picnic Area.
Visitor Activities
Picnicking, wildlife viewing, river floating, historical exploration, hiking
Special Features
Picnic tables, grills, restroom, historic Serna Cabin, interpretive sign, access to the Cottonwood Trail and the Gila Box River Trail.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
Day use only; no fees
No open fires; use grills
The road leading to the picnic area is a county-maintained dirt road; a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle is not needed. The restroom and picnic table located at the trailhead are wheelchair accessible.
Camping and Lodging
Developed campsites are nearby at the BLM’s Riverview Campground. Dispersed camping is also allowed on public lands; campers should choose previously disturbed sites to reduce impacts. Roper Lake State Park, located south of Safford, offers campgrounds and cabin rentals. Safford and Thatcher have a variety of lodging options.
Food and Supplies
Gasoline, food and supplies can be found in Safford and Thatcher.
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 nearest medical facility is the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford.
Additional Information
The entrance to the Bonita Creek Watchable Wildlife Viewing Area is located just on the ridge above the cabin. The Cottonwood Trail links the picnic area with the Wildlife Viewing Area, Riverview Campground, Flying W Group Day Use Area, and Kearny Camp Monument.
More information about the Serna Cabin can be found on page 119 in El Rio Bonito: An Ethnoecological Study of the Bonita Creek Watershed, Southeastern Arizona. (8M, pdf)

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
(928) 348-4400