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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > Recreation > Hiking > Brittlebush Trail
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Sonoran Desert Nat'l Monument
Brittlebush Trail

Trail Map (pdf)

GENERAL INFORMATION:  Brittlebush Trail is a nearly level, 6-mile route through the heart of the 63,200-acre North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness. The North Maricopa Mountains are a jumble of long ridges and isolated peaks separated by extensive, saguaro-studded bajadas and wide desert washes. Cholla, ocotillo, prickly pear, paloverde, ironwood, and Mexican jumping bean complement the thick stands of saguaro to form classic Sonoran Desert vistas. Commonly seen wildlife include desert mule deer, javelina, desert bighorn sheep, coyote, desert tortoise, and numerous varieties of lizards and birds. During wet spring months, the hillsides adjacent to the trail are awash with brilliant yellow blooms of the brittlebush.

Brittlebush Trail follows a combination of former vehicle tracks and wide, unmarked desert washes. No trail signage or directional markers are available along the route; therefore, this trail is recommended only for experienced hikers skilled in reading topographic maps. The northern terminus of the Brittlebush Trail intersects the Margie's Cove Trail in the interior of the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness.

ACCESS:  There is currently no motorized access to the area due to a temporary vehicle closure on the Sonoran Desert National Monument. Non-motorized access to hiking, bicycling or horseback trails is available from the Maricopa Road, approximately six miles from the trailhead.

FACILITIES:  There are no facilities at Brittlebush Trailhead.

MAPS:  Brittlebush Trail is not mapped; however, the route is depicted on the USGS 7.5-minute topographic map "Cotton Center SE, Ariz." The remainder of the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness is depicted on USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps "Butterfield Pass, Ariz.," "Margie's Peak, Ariz.," and "Mobile NW, Ariz."


  • Brittlebush Trail receives the greatest use from October through April. At other times, the trail is little used. Always tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Drinking water is not provided at Brittlebush Trailhead, so bring plenty.
  • The North Maricopa Mountains are prone to heavy rains and flash floods. Do not attempt to cross flooded washes.
  • You may encounter rattlesnakes or other poisonous creatures; watch for them and be careful where you put your hands and feet. Do not harass reptiles - most bites result from people playing with, collecting or attempting to kill them.
  • Fires are not allowed in the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness.


 Sonoran Desert National Monument
Monument Manager:  Dave Scarbrough
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
(623) 580-5500