Under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land, stretching some 40 miles in a narrow band from Sierra Vista to St. David near I-10.
Designated by Congress in 1988, the region is specially designated to protect e an extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the American Southwest. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.
The area provides ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, as well as visiting historic and prehistoric sites. Picnickers, hikers, equestrians, and hunters are welcome, and primitive camping is allowed. Saturday morning guided walks are provided by Friends of the San Pedro, starting from the San Pedro House.
Visiting the San Pedro
Most visitors start at the San Pedro House (click here for a map), but you can also gain trailhead access at the Fairbank and Millville ghost towns, the Hereford Road bridge, and the Palominas Bridge on Highway 92.