The Christmas Recreation Site is along the Gila River approximately 6½ miles upstream from the Town of Winkelman, and 3½ miles upstream from the Shores Recreation Site. The site is minimally developed to provide access for river-related recreation opportunities such as sightseeing, wildlife viewing, picnicking, camping, fishing and small craft floating. The site has gravel surfaced driveways, unimproved campsites, and a toilet. The site is in the riparian area in mesquite-willow and cottonwood woodland, in a sonoran desert canyon with saguaro, mesquite and palo verde covered hills CAUTION RIVER FLOATERS: The river channel has many navigation hazards that make it unsafe and practically impossible to float downstream to the Shores or Winkelman and river floating is not recommended. Hazards may include a fence across the river, trees and branches overhanging the river or blocking passage, steep river banks and dense vegetation preventing portage, swift current at high flows, blind river bends.
The Gila River recreation area is located along the 9 mile section of the Gila River and SR 77 between the Town of Winkelman and Globe in Gila County, AZ, approximately 70 miles north of Tucson and 100 miles southeast of Phoenix. From Winkelman, take SR77 east to milepost 144.6 to the Christmas Recreation Site.