BLM Arizona COVID-19 Facility Updates
Effective November 19, 2020, BLM public rooms in Arizona are open for business via phone and email only. Click here to keep up to date on all changes to facilities and services in Arizona in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
View the alert: BLM Arizona COVID-19 Facility Updates
Two hikers on a gravel trail surrounded by saguaro and cholla with mountains in the background

Arizona Recreation

The Bureau of Land Management recognizes the importance of quality recreation experiences to national and local economies, as well as to the health and well-being of society and the enjoyment of our visitors. We are committed to managing and protecting the lands, natural attractions, and sensitive areas so that the areas and activities which are most important to you are still available for years to come.

Check out the sections below for recreation activities in Arizona.

Target Shooting

Arizona Target Shooting

Areas closed to target shooting

For information about designated shooting ranges, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department 

Additional Resources

Contact a BLM office.

Many take advantage of the opportunities to target shoot on public lands.  On public lands in Arizona there are no designated target shooting sites managed by the BLM. Shooting is strictly prohibited in some areas due to high public use and resource concerns. Prohibited areas include all developed recreation sites and other areas where posted. Specific areas are listed below. You are generally allowed to target shoot on all other BLM managed public lands, as long as you clean up your targets, shell casings, and trash. Target shooting may be prohibited in areas where fire restrictions are in effect. 

It is illegal to shoot (or place targets) on trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment or use.  It is also imperative to follow all state laws and county ordinances concerning the safe and legal use of weapons and ammunition.  National BLM regulations are listed below; however, each local area may have additional requirements. The shooter has the responsibility to know applicable laws and to use firearms in a safe manner. For the most accurate information, please contact the managing BLM office with any questions you may have regarding target shooting on the public lands. 

Join us in the partnership effort to sustain existing shooting opportunities in the Sonoran landscapes of southern Arizona by participating in Tread Lightly's Respected Access campaign. Take part in events, and help spread the word about appropriate recreational shooting habits to your shooting friends and partners. 

National BLM Target Shooting Regulations:Target shooting

Shooting and possession of firearms is allowed on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management provided that the specific shooting activity involved:

  • Does not create a public hazard, public nuisance or direct threat to public safety and use. (paraphrased from Title 43 CFR Sec. 8365.1-4.)
  • Does not damage or destroy natural features, native plants, cultural resources, historic structures or government and/or private property. (paraphrased from Title 43 CFR Sec. 8365.1-5)
  • Does not facilitate and create a condition of littering, refuse accumulation and abandoned personal property. (paraphrased from Title 43 CFR Sec. 8365.1-1)
  • Does not violate an existing use restriction, closure order or supplementary rules notice. (paraphrased from Title 43 CFR Sec. 8365.1-6)

Things to consider when selecting a location:  

  • Proper access to public lands must be through public roads.  Crossing private lands to access public lands is not permitted unless you first obtain permission from the private landowner.One Less Spark - Target Shooting
  • Check with local sheriff or land management agencies before using an area for shooting. Private and state lands are located adjacent to many public lands. Do not shoot on private lands without the owner's permission.  Shooting is not permitted in state parks or state trust land.
  • Know your target and what is beyond it. Shots fired across the open desert can travel for more than a mile. Find a safe backdrop.  A spot with a large mound, hill, or cliff directly behind the target is ideal.
  • Firearms must not be discharged within 150 yards of residences, buildings, campsites, occupied areas, recreational areas, or domestic livestock.
  • Shooting across a road, trail, or wash is not permitted.
  • Shooting should only take place in areas well away from other concentrations of people and property.
  • Shooting from a vehicle is not permitted.
  • When driving to your target shooting location, stay on designated routes.  Cross-country travel is not permitted outside of OHV open area boundaries.

When shooting on public lands,

  • The use of fireworks, exploding targets, tracer ammunition and other incendiary devices are prohibited on BLM Arizona managed public land. Fire Prevention Order: AZ910-2020-0001 (PDF). 
  • Use the correct ammunition for your firearm and wear the appropriate eye and ear protection devices.
  • Shoot only retrievable, freestanding targets. 
  • Shooting glass objects, electronic waste and items that may contain hazardous materials (i.e. Freon, propane, etc.) is prohibited.
  • Do not attach targets to living plants or attach targets to rocks, plants, or solid objects.  It is illegal to deface or destroy trees, signs, outbuildings, or other objects on federal lands that are for the public's enjoyment. (paraphrased from CFR 8365.1-5 (a) (1) & (2))
  • Always pick up and remove targets, empty shells, and any other shrapnel or debris before you leave. 
  • Do not act in an aggressive or threatening manner towards other public land users.
  • Avoid being under the influence of alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs while shooting.

BLM Arizona areas closed to target shooting:

Due to safety concerns, litter problems, high fire danger, and wildlife management issues several areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management are closed to target shooting. These areas include:

The Bureau of Land Management has color-coded 1:100,000 scale surface management maps available displaying public and private land ownership, roads, water features, points of interest and other topographic information. The maps do not display specific shooting sites, but can provide guidance to those seeking appropriate public lands for target shooting. The maps may be purchased from the Arizona State Office and at the various field offices. Contact a BLM field office.

The BLM encourages the use of designated shooting areas for the best resource protection and to reduce litter and firearm shrapnel.  A list of designated sites and a map is provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  

Recreation Permits (On-Line)

For public safety and land health, the Bureau of Land Management provides access to multiple sites through public lottery and permit systems.  

You can apply for and purchase recreation permits on-line to visit three BLM special areas in Arizona — Aravaipa Canyon, Paria Canyon, and Coyote Buttes ("The Wave") wilderness areas.  

Your adventure starts here:

Arizona Recreation Lottery and Permits

 

Your Pass Now logoBuy and Print Your Pass Online

Save time and skip lines. You can buy annual or weekly pass online at Recreation.gov

Available for the following BLM Arizona sites: 

Biking

For the biking enthusiast, BLM lands offer nature's peacefulness along breathtaking Arizona backdrops. Biking trails include old mining and railroad routes, and back county paths. These showcase the diverse history and geology of the Southwest. Skill levels range from easy to difficult, and trails vary on surface types and profiles. Enjoy biking on public lands, and please take care of these lands like they were your own—because they are!

These BLM-managed sites offer biking opportunities:

Arizona Strip District

Arizona Strip Field Office

Colorado River District

Kingman Field Office

Lake Havasu Field Office

  • Crack in the Wall Trail

Gila District

Safford Field Office

Tucson Field Office

    Phoenix District

    Hassayampa Field Office

      BLM's Top Mountain Bike Opportunities


      Biking Safety:

      • Know your equipment.
      • Know your ability.
      • Know the area.
      • Always carry extra drinking water.
      • Carry recommended safety equipment: bicycling helmet, appropriate scale maps, spare tire tube or patch kit, pump, first aid kit and basic tool kit.
      • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

      Biking Rules and Etiquette:

      • Share the trail.
      • Bicyclists yield to hikers and horseback riders. When overtaking another trail user, let them know you are approaching.
      • Practice low-impact cycling: Be sensitive to the resources—stay on the trail, do not create new trails, and avoid skidding or spinning your wheels. Leave gates as you find them (open or closed).

      Get additional guidelines for responsible biking:

      Boating, Floating & Water Sports

      Picturesque landscapes and long seasons of warm weather make Arizona’s public lands a perfect location for those wishing to swim and participate in water sports. 

      Whether your pleasure is jet-skiing, kayaking, or simply floating down the river, BLM public lands offer a variety of boating, floating, and water sport opportunities in Arizona. The State has numerous lakes and rivers suitable for both motorized and non-motorized, boating activities.  Two of the most popular sites for water-based recreation are the Gila and Colorado Rivers, which provide recreational prospects with unparalleled scenic views, wildlife, and fishing. The following BLM sites offer opportunities for water sports in Arizona:

      Colorado River District

      Kingman Field Office

      Lake Havasu Field Office

      Yuma Field Office

      Gila District

      Safford Field Office

      Tucson Field Office

      • Gila River Sites


      Rules & Etiquette

      • Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don't. 
      • Never boat or float alone. Participate in water activities with a buddy.
      • Be prepared and know your skill level. Be sure your skills and experience are equal to the river and the changing river conditions.
      • Beware of fast-moving currents and possible undertows.
      • Wear a Coast Guard-approved type III-V, properly-adjusted, lifejacket at all times when you are in or near the river.
      • Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Don’t be caught off guard.
      • Know how to recognize and react to river hazards such as holes, wrap rocks, undercut boulders and walls, rock sieves, and horizon lines across the river.
      • Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Learn or review medical aid responsibilities and CPR.
      • Be cautious on remote rivers through isolated areas. It can be difficult or impossible to get help in case of an accident.
      • Be careful when consuming alcohol and participating in any recreational activity.

      graphic of a boat on a boat ramp. text reads clean, drain, dry.

      Stop Aquatic Invasives

      CLEAN off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from all equipment before leaving water access.

      DRAIN motor, bilge, live well, and other water containing devices before leaving water access.

      DRY everything for at least five days or wipe with a towel before reuse.

      DISPOSE of unwanted bait, worms, and fish parts in the trash. Never dump live fish or other organisms from one water body into another.

      You can schedule a decontamination by calling the Lake Havasu Field Office at 928-412-5965.

      For more information visit: http://stopaquatichitchhikers.org.

      Additional Information

      Camping & Picnic

      Developed Campgrounds and Picnic Areas

      BLM Arizona manages many developed campgrounds and picnic areas in the state.  Each campground offers a different mix of facilities, landscapes, and outdoor activities. Most campgrounds have use fees ranging from $4 to $10 per unit per night.  Camping is allowed on public lands in Arizona for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days, unless otherwise identified.  

      Long-Term Visitor Areas

      Long-Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) are specially designated areas located on BLM lands in California and Arizona. These LTVAs provide places for people to stay for longer periods of time between September and April. A seasonal special recreation permit is required, and the permit allows visitors to stay in any of the six LTVAs in California or two LTVAs in Arizona: Imperial Dam LTVA near Yuma and La Posa LTVA near Quartzsite.  The "America the Beautiful: The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass" is not accepted for LTVAs. 

      Dispersed Recreation Camping

      Camping on public lands away from developed recreation facilities is called "dispersed camping." Dispersed camping is allowed on public lands in Arizona for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days.  The 28-day period begins when you first occupy a specific location on public lands. You can reach the 14-day limit either through a number of separate visits or through 14 days of continuous overnight occupation during the 28-day period.  After the 14th day of occupation, you must move outside of a 25 mile radius of the previous location until the 29th day since the initial occupation.  The reason for this special rule is to prevent damage to sensitive resources caused by continual use of any particular area. In addition, you must not leave any personal property unattended for more than 10 days. Most of the remainder of public lands in Arizona are open to dispersed camping, as long as such use does not conflict with other authorized uses or occurs in areas posted "closed to camping," or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources.

      To further protect your public lands, you must not dispose of any refuse, hazardous materials, sewage, or gray water, in any manner that would pollute the surrounding area. You should pack it out. Leave No Trace

      Enjoy camping on public lands, and please take care of these lands like they were your own—because they are!

      Commercial Recreation Leases 

      These private resorts are located on leased federal lands along the Colorado River and Lake Havasu. They provide many recreation opportunities and facilities. Most include camping, boat ramps,  swimming beaches, restaurants, convenience stores, laundry, and longer-term mobile home spaces. Contact the Colorado River District for more information on commercial recreation leases.  

      Some simple tips on ways to minimize your impact when enjoying your public lands.  

      Developed Campgrounds and Picnic Areas

      Arizona Strip District

      Arizona Strip Field Office

      Colorado River District

      Kingman Field Office

      Lake Havasu Field Office

      Yuma Field Office

      • A-7 Recreation Site - Picnicking & boating

      • A-10 Day Use Area - Picnicking & boating

      • Dome Rock Mountain 14-day Camping Area 

      • Fortuna Pond Camping & Fishing Site 

      • Fergusen Lake 14-day Camp & Boating Area

      • Hi Jolly 14-day Camping Area (Milepost 12)

      • Mittry Lake -  Located northeast of Yuma.

      • Oxbow Campground - Located 3/4 miles from California Highway 78, near Palo Verde, California.

      • Plomosa Road 14-day Camping Area

      • Road Runner 14-day Camping Area (Milepost 99)

      • Scadden Wash 14-Day Camping Area

      • Senator Wash North Shore - Picnicking & boating - Located near the end of Senator Wash Road, approximately 20 miles west of Winterhaven, California.

      • Senator Wash South Shore - Picnicking & boating - Located near the end of Senator Wash Road, approximately 20 miles west of Winterhaven, California.

      • Senator Wash Boat Ramp & Day Use Area - Picnicking & boating - Located near the end of Senator Wash Road, approximately 20 miles west of Winterhaven, California.

      • T.K. Jones Campground at Squaw Lake and Boat Launch - Camping & boating - Located at end of Senator Wash Road, approximately 20 miles west of Winterhaven, California.

      • Long-Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs)

      Gila District

      Safford Field Office

      Tucson Field Office

      • Airstrip Group Site and Trailhead - Located in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

      • Cieneguita Camp Area - Located in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

      • Gila River Sites - Picnicking & boating

      • Maternity Well Group Site - Located in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

      • Old Ag Fields Group Site - Located in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

      • Road Canyon Camp - Located in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

      Phoenix District

      Hassayampa Field Office

      • Table Mesa Recreation Area - OHV trails and target shooting within easy access of Phoenix

      Lower Sonoran Field Office

      Driving & Auto Tours

      Arizona Strip District

      Arizona Strip Field Office

      Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

        Colorado River District

        Kingman Field Office

        Lake Havasu Field Office

        Gila District

        Safford Field Office

        Tucson Field Office

        Phoenix District

        Hassayampa Field Office

        Lower Sonoran Field Office

        • Agua Caliente Scenic Drive

        Cultural & Historic Sites

        Please help preserve our heritage. Treat cultural sites with respect. Do not touch petroglyphs or remove artifacts. Report crimes to resources including vandalism, dumping and suspicious activity at 1-800-637-9152.

        Cultural & Historic Sites

        Petroglyphs on rock faceBLM Arizona's public lands contain a wealth of cultural resources that are important to our understanding of both recorded history and prehistory. These resources represent a priceless heritage which must be protected for future generations. 

        BLM Arizona manages some of the most significant and best preserved prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the American Southwest. These sites span the entire range of human occupation in the New World spanning from 13,000 years ago to the present. The human story etched on the landscapes of Arizona's public lands are diverse as Paleo-Indian mammoth kill sites, Archaic hunting camps, giant ground figures (intaglios), pueblo ruins, rock art, ghost towns, historic ranches, and numerous historic trails and wagon roads such as the Butterfield Overland Stage route. Nineteen individual properties and districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and one is a National Historic Landmark. More than 750,000 acres of Arizona public land have been inventoried for cultural resources and nearly 11,000 sites recorded.  Eighteen cultural properties are interpreted and developed for public visitation.

        Take care of these lands as if they were your own—because they are!

        Learn more about responsible public land use:

        Arizona Strip District

        Arizona Strip Field Office

        Historic Sites

        Prehistoric Sites

        Grand Canyon – Parashant National Monument

        Historic Sites

        • Grand Gulch Mine

        • Mt. Trumbull Sawmill Site

        Prehistoric Sites

        • Nampaweap Petroglyphs 

        • Sawmill/Uinkaret Pueblo 

        Colorado River District

        Kingman Field Office

        Historic Sites

        • Gold King Mansion 

        • Mohave and Milltown Railroad Trailhead

        Lake Havasu Field Office

        Historic Site

        Yuma Field Office

        Historic Sites

        Prehistoric Sites

        Safford Field Office 

        Historic Sites

        Prehistoric Sites

        Tucson Field Office

        Historic Sites

        Paleontology Sites

        Phoenix District

        Hassayampa Field Office

        Historic Sites

        Prehistoric Sites

        Lower Sonoran Field Office

        Historic Site

        Prehistoric Site

        Fishing

        There is no such thing as a bad day of fishing, especially when you are on Arizona’s public land! 

        Whether you prefer fishing on a river, from a boat, or just casting from the shoreline, the BLM offers every enthusiast an opportunity to fish at many recreation sites throughout the State of Arizona.  With a valid Arizona fishing license, you can enjoy a day of fishing for popular species of fish, such as large and small-mouth bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish and trout. You can also try your skill in catching a few of Arizona’s unique species, such as the desert sucker and northern pike. BLM fishing sites range in setting and many are located near major metropolitan areas. 

        GO FISH on your public lands!    

        Arizona Strip District

        Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

        • Soap Creek

        Colorado River District

        Lake Havasu Field Office

        Yuma Field Office

        Gila District

        Safford Field Office 


        Fishing Rules & Etiquette

        Federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and some state lands are open to fishing, unless specifically prohibited. Fish only on lands where it legal. Private lands are open to fishing ONLY if you have the permission of the private landowner. Private land DOES NOT have to post "NO FISHING" signs to be off limits to fishing. If you do not have permission to fish on private lands, you are trespassing.

        Know Before You Go Fishing

        Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department for fishing regulations on public lands.

        Fishing is one of the many ways to experience Arizona’s public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Treat these lands as if they were your own -- because they are!

        Additional guidelines for responsible fishing can be found on the following sites:

        GeoCaching

        Geocaching on Public Lands

        Geocaching is a 21st century treasure-hunting activity using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The BLM welcomes this activity on public lands if you do it with minimal impact to the environment and if you follow conscientious land use ethics.

        Geocaching is related to orienteering (where you find your way with a compass) except it takes advantage of a GPS unit's capabilities. People share worldwide locations of physical and virtual caches online. You use location coordinates to find caches. Then you may face a variety of rewards. You might have to leave or replace items in the cache, deliver items to another cache, or take a self-portrait to upload to an online album. The cache may be a small waterproof box or simply an unmistakable landmark to include in the portrait.

        We may consider geocaching a management concern if it jeopardizes public health and safety, causes environmental damage, or conflicts with other authorized uses.

        You can avoid concern about establishing a cache by contacting the local BLM office to identify the intended location and request authorization. We will be happy to check that the proposed cache location:

        • Is not near a known archaeological site
        • Will not interfere with threatened or endangered species habitat
        • Will not conflict with other land uses
        • Is not hazardous
        • Requires no other special considerations

        BLM's Geocaching Rules

        • Identify proposed cache locations to the local BLM office before placing a cache
        • Do not place caches at archaeological sites
        • Obtain a BLM permit for any competitive events, contests for prizes, paid participation, or caches hosted by commercial business
        • Advise BLM if you observe any misuse or abuse of a cache location

        Related Links

        There's no excuse for abuse!

        Please help us protect your public lands by contacting the local BLM office if you observe or become aware of the following at a cache location:

        • Graffiti
        • Digging
        • Trash
        • Illegal off-road vehicle use
        • Vandalism
        • Suspicious behavior, substances, or objects
        • Commercial use or sponsorship

        Please help preserve our heritage. Treat cultural sites with respect. Do not touch petroglyphs or remove artifacts. Report crimes to resources including vandalism, dumping and suspicious activity at 1-800-637-9152.

        Enjoy hiking on public lands, and please take care of these lands as if they were your own—because they are!

        Read more about responsible hiking on these sites:

        Hiking

        Arizona Strip District

        Arizona Strip Field Office

        Please help preserve your heritage. Treat cultural sites with respect. Do not touch petroglyphs or remove artifacts. Report crimes to resources including vandalism, dumping and suspicious activity at 1-800-637-9152.

        Enjoy hiking on public lands, and please take care of these lands like they were your own—because they are!

        Additional guidelines for responsible hiking can be found on the following sites:

        • Arizona Trail: Buckskin Mountain Passage
        • Buckskin Gulch Trail 
        • Old Spanish National Historic Trail
        • Hack Canyon Trail
        • Honeymoon Trail 
        • Little Black Mountain Trail
        • Mokaac Trail
        • Soap Creek Trail 
        • Sullivan Canyon Trail
        • Temple Trail
        • Virgin River Gorge Nature Trail 

        Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument 

        • Grand Bench Trail
        • Mount Logan Trail
        • Mount Trumbull Trail
        • Paiute Wilderness Trails 

        Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

        Colorado River District

        Kingman Field Office

        Lake Havasu Field Office

        • Crack in the Wall Trail

        Yuma Field Office

        Gila District

          Safford Field Office

          • Aravaipa Canyon Trail
          • Bonita Creek 
          • Cottonwood Trail
          • Dankworth Village 
          • Gila Box River Trail
          • Safford-Morenci Trail
          • Turkey Creek Cliff Dwelling Trail

          Tucson Field Office

          Phoenix District

          Hassayampa Field Office

            Lower Sonoran Field Office

            Horseback Riding

            For those who participate in the popular American pastime of horseback riding, BLM public lands provide many exciting locations for riders to experience.  In Arizona, horseback riding trails are found in the high desert, mountain grassland, riparian areas, and ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests.  Equestrian activities generally occur in concert with other outdoor recreation activities on existing roads and trails, and in open country areas.  The following BLM managed sites offer horseback riding opportunities:

            Arizona Strip District

            Arizona Strip Field Office 

            Horseback riding is one of many uses of the Arizona BLM’s public lands. It is your responsibility as a public land user to protect the environment and the other users. Please observe the following guidelines, so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable ride. 

            Horseback Riding Safety  

            • Know your skill level.
            • Be knowledgeable of the area.
            • Carry recommended safety equipment and extra drinking water for you and your horse. There may be no reliable water available and summer temperatures in Arizona can be over 100°F. 
            • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
            • Plan your trip and always be self-sufficient. There are may be no services or visitor amenities available.
            • Take the right maps and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A little planning is well worth the effort to make for an enjoyable trip.

            Horseback Riding Etiquette

            • Share the trail.
            • When overtaking another trail user, let them know you are approaching so you do not startle them or their horse.  
            • Be sensitive to the resources - stay on the trail, do not create new trails, and leave gates as you find them (open or closed).
            • PACK IT OUT.

            Enjoy use of public lands, and please take care of these lands like they were your own—because they are!  

            Additional guidelines for responsible horseback riding can be found on the following sites:  

            Colorado River District

            Kingman Field Office 

            Gila District

            Safford Field Office 

            Tucson Field Office 

            Phoenix District

            Hassayampa Field Office

            Hunting

            Mule deerPeople hunt for mule deer, wild turkey, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep each year in Arizona. The Arizona Game and Fish Department manages the hunts. They happen cooperatively on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered public lands.

            There is no gas, drinking water, or other services in the hunting areas. Animal densities are generally low. Weather conditions can change quickly and vary widely. Be prepared for a rugged hunt that should provide memories for a lifetime.

            Hunting Seasons

            Check on specific hunting season dates and permit requirements with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It publishes an annual guide to hunting regulations in Arizona that lists all the season dates.

            Arizona Hunting Units


            Please help preserve our heritage. Treat cultural sites with respect. Do not touch petroglyphs or remove artifacts. Report crimes to resources including vandalism, dumping and suspicious activity at 1-800-637-9152.

            Enjoy hunting on public lands, and please take care of these lands like they were your own—because they are!

             Find more guidelines for responsible hunting on these sites:

            OHV Riding

            Visitors have unique and uncommon opportunities to rediscover the splendor of the West's public lands by highway and back country routes.  Whether you are a skilled four-wheel-drive vehicle driver or you have just rented a car (and have promised to stay on the pavement), there are many places on public lands where you can get off the beaten path and enjoy Arizona's diverse scenery, heritage, and challenges.  In addition to the off-highway vehicle (OHV) opportunities listed on  National Back Country Byways and Scenic Drives, OHV opportunities abound throughout the state.     

            Arizona OHV Requirements:

            https://www.azgfd.com/OHV/ 

            https://azstateparks.com/ohv/

            Additional guidelines for responsible OHV use can be found on the following sites:

            Off-highway vehicles are permitted, with restrictions, in many areas under BLM administration in Arizona and along the Colorado River in California. Other areas, such as designated wilderness and other sensitive areas, are closed to OHV use. 

            Resident and non-resident off-highway vehicles (OHVs) MUST display a valid OHV decal to operate on public and state trust lands in Arizona. Learn more and purchase an OHV decal.

            Arizona OHV Ambassador Program

            Do you own an off-highway vehicle? Do you enjoy motorized recreation on your public lands across Arizona?

            The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Arizona State Parks need your help to maintain motorized trails, educate people about OHV and outdoor ethics, and numerous other opportunities. Become an ambassador and be a part of a community working to promote responsible OHV use on the land. Learn more about the OHV Ambassador Program.

            Arizona Strip District

            Arizona Strip Field Office

            • Grand Canyon Overlooks:  For the more adventurous traveler with a well equipped, four-wheel drive vehicle, some of the most spectacular scenic vistas in the world can be reached by driving south from Interstate 15 or Highway 89A. 

            Colorado River District

            Kingman Field Office

            • Moss Wash:  Meandering through scenic high mountain forest and Mohave Desert vegetation, the trail traverses two distinct plant communities. 
            • Sleeping Princess:  Located on the skyline of the Black Mountains, this trail meanders through sparse Mohave Desert vegetation and gains approximately 1,600 feet in elevation over its 3.2 mile length.

            Lake Havasu Field Office

            • Crossroads OHV Area:  One of two OHV open areas adjacent to the Colorado River, on the California side. Crossroads has a staging area and is 1,500 acres open with no travel restrictions of any kind except you must obey California OHV laws.
            • Copper Basin Dunes:  The other OHV open area on the Parker Strip is 1,275 acres and also has a staging area, parking, restrooms, and lots of sand dune area for unrestricted vehicle travel. 

            Yuma Field Office

            • Ehrenburg Sandbowl:  A popular site open for use of off road vehicles, with hilly, sandy terrain and a network of roads and trails.
            • Dome Rock Mountain 14-Day Camping Area

            Gila District

            Safford Field Office

            • Hot Well Dunes:  Sound like a day at the beach? Come to one of most unique recreation spots in Arizona. Where else does the opportunity to ride in 2,000 acres of sand dunes, set up a camp and then soak in relaxing hot tubs all occur in the same location?
            • Rug Road:  Traversing this road, between Table Mountain and Turkey Creek on the east end and Mammoth on the west end, is not for the faint of heart.

            Phoenix District

            Hassayampa Field Office

            In cooperation with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Maricopa County Air Quality Division, the Hassayampa and Lower Sonoran field offices support efforts to reduce air pollution by halting OHV use on bad air quality days.  To receive automatic updates, sign up for a desktop application by going to:  http://cleanairmakemore.com

            • Harquahala Mountain Summit Road:  A rugged and challenging road to the top of the mountain where the historic Smithsonian Harquahala Peak Observatory, a National Register of Historic Places site, has been stabilized.

               

              Rockhounding

              Rockhounding Information

              Please help preserve our heritage. Treat cultural sites with respect. Do not touch petroglyphs or remove artifacts. Report crimes to resources including vandalism, dumping and suspicious activity at 1-800-637-9152.

              Enjoy hiking on public lands, and please take care of these lands as if they were your own—because they are!

              Additional guidelines for responsible hiking can be found on the following sites:

              Rockhounding is the collection of reasonable amounts of mineral specimens, rocks, semi-precious gems, petrified wood and invertebrate fossils. Invertebrate fossils are the remains of animals that didn't have bones such as shellfish, corals, trilobites and crinoids. The material collected must not be sold or bartered. Arizona has many localities and varieties of collecting material. Not all varieties are found on public lands.

              It is a good idea to check land ownership when planning a rockhounding trip. A good place to begin is the local BLM office. If you can point to a location on a topographical map (available at BLM) we can determine if the site is on public lands.

              In most instances, public lands are open to rockhounding although no collecting is allowed in National Monuments. BLM can help you make this determination.

              Suction Dredging requires permission from the Army Corps of Engineers.  In Phoenix, please call (602) 640-5385.  In Tucson, call (520) 670-5021. Prior to conducting suction dredging on BLM administered lands in Arizona; you will need to file either a notice or plan of operations pursuant to 43 CFR 3809.

              For more information, contact your local BLM office or the Phoenix branch of the Arizona Geological Survey at:

              3550 N. Central Ave. 
              Phoenix AZ 85012
              602-771-1601
              Fax 602-771-1616 
              Toll free in Arizona 800-446-4259

              Collection Limits - Free Rock, Mineral & Semi-Precious Gemstones

              Rocks, minerals, and semiprecious gemstones may be collected on public lands managed by the BLM without charge or permit as long as:

              1. The specimens are for personal use and are not collected for commercial purposes or bartered to commercial dealers.
              2. You may collect reasonable amounts of specimens. In Arizona, the BLM sets the "reasonable" limits for personal use as up to 25 pounds per day, plus one piece, with a total limit of 250 pounds per year. These limits are for mineral specimens, common invertebrate fossils, semiprecious gemstones, other rock, and petrified wood.
              3. A group of people does not pool their yearly allotment to collect a piece larger than 250 pounds of either rockhounding specimens or petrified wood.
              4. Collection does not occur in developed recreation sites or areas, unless designated as a rockhounding area by BLM.
              5. Collection is not prohibited or restricted and posted.
              6. Collection, excavation or removal are not aided with motorized or mechanical devices, including heavy equipment or explosives. Metal detectors are acceptable, with the exception of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
              7. No undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands occurs during the removal of rock, minerals, or gemstones.
              8. For pieces of petrified wood heavier than 250 pounds or situation not covered here, please contact your local BLM office.
              9. If you wish to obtain more than 250 pounds of rock in a year, please visit the local BLM office to arrange to purchase it.

              Mineral Collecting on Public Lands

              Rocks are usually combinations of two or more minerals. The portions of different minerals making up rocks may vary, and the combinations of minerals may change within rocks of the same name. Granite, composed of quartz and potassium feldspar - usually with small amounts of mica or hornblende, may contain as many as a dozen other minerals. In addition, the portions of each of the minerals may shift from one deposit to another. This gives rise to the variety of local names.

              Because rocks are made up of varying mixtures of minerals, and because there are about two thousand different minerals, the number of possible combinations is limitless. It is therefore very difficult to classify rocks except in broad, general groups. The most general classification of rocks is by method of formation: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic.

              Mineral specimens are normally examples of a specific mineral or assemblage of minerals collected by people. Mineral specimens can also include rock types. Examples of mineral specimens found in Arizona include: quartz, azurite, malachite, selenite, and calcite. 

              Semi-precious gemstones are used in jewelry-making and decorative arts. They are usually rocks that can be faceted or polished and are able to hold a shine. To collect semi-precious gemstones for commercial purposes, or in amounts greater than those indicated on this page, you should locate a mining claim. Contact your local BLM office to obtain information on locating a mining claim.

              Examples of semi-precious gemstones found in Arizona are agates, fire agates, jasper, onyx and Apache tears. 

              Petrified wood can be found in Arizona within the jurisdiction of the BLM Phoenix, Safford, Yuma, and Arizona Strip Field Offices.

              Collecting of mineral and fossil resources is prohibited in certain areas being managed under special designation to protect their scientific and natural values, such as research natural areas, national conservation areas, and national monuments.

              Collecting Artifacts & Fossils 

              Fern fossil

              Indian and Other Historical Artifacts: You may not collect any artifacts, ancient or historical, on public lands. This includes arrow heads or flakes, pottery or potsherds, mats, rock art, old bottles or pieces of equipment and buildings. These items are part of our national heritage and scientists are still learning much from them. Human burial remains on both public and private land are protected by federal and state law from being collected.

              Vertebrate Fossils: These include dinosaurs, mammals, sharks and fish, or any animal with skeletal structure. You cannot collect these fossils.

              Invertebrate Fossils:  These include ammonites, trilobites, and common plant fossils such as leaf impressions and cones, and may be collected in reasonable amounts.

              Petrified wood can also be collected for personal use — up to 25 pounds each day, plus one piece, but no more than 250 pounds in any calendar year (43 CFR 3622). These materials must be for your personal collection and cannot be sold or traded.

              Permits

              Cultural Resource Use Permits are granted to professional archaeologists only (they must meet the Secretary of the Interior standards as a professional archaeologist).  A letter from a BLM approved repository is required saying fossils or artifacts collected will be accepted. These items must be placed in the repository and cannot be kept by the collector.

              Popular Rockhounding Locations

              Arizona Strip District

              Arizona Strip Field Office

              Colorado River District

              Kingman Field Office

              • Burro Creek Campground - Located 1½ miles off U.S. Highway 93, approximately 60 miles northwest of Wickenburg.

              Yuma Field Office

              • Dome Rock Mountain 14-Day Camping Area

              Gila District

              Safford Field Office

              • Black Hills Rockhound Area - From the intersection of Arizona Route 70, east of Safford, travel 10 miles north on U.S. Highway 191 to Black Hills Rockhound Area. Follow the dirt road 2 miles to the center of the rockhound area.

              • Round Mountain Rockhound Area - From Highway 70 east of Safford approximately 50 miles, travel into New Mexico to just beyond milepost 5. Take the dirt access road on your right for 12 miles, following the signs to the rockhound area.