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Ironwood Forest National Monument
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Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona
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Description: This monument, designated June 9, 2000, encompasses about 135,000 acres of desert and mountains bordering the Tohono O`odham Tribal Lands, west of Tucson. The Silver Bell Mountains, the Ragged Top Mountains, the Sawtooth Mountains, and the Waterman Mountains support uniquely adapted Sonoran desert life, from the eponymous ironwood trees to saguaro, palo verde, and desert bighorn sheep. The ironwoods are the major reason for such diversity, because they act as "nurse trees," sheltering a rich understory of succulents and other plants, which in turn provide food and shelter to the birds and insects which feed the predators.

Humans have lived and hunted in these mountains for around 5 milennia; over 200 Hohokam sites have been found, dating back to 600 AD. Los Robles and Cocoraque Butte archeological districts are both on the register of historic places. The ruins of a Spanish Mission built by the same priest who completed San Xavier also lie within monument boundaries. If you come across rock art, pottery shards, or any other artifacts, please enjoy them where they are, but do not move or alter them.

This area is undeveloped for recreation, but can be explored at your own risk. Be well prepared with good maps, extra water, a compass, an inflated spare, and a first aid kit when you head out. Off-road travel in a motor vehicle is prohibited, but most other forms of recreation are permitted. Please use Leave No Trace ethics while traveling in this fragile desert country. Hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, hunting


Location: From Tucson, go north on I-10 to just south of Marana, exit #242. Go west on Avra Valley Road about 14 miles. The road turns to gravel and continues through the monument through the Silver Bell Mountains.

Address: Bureau of Land Management
Tucson Field Office
12661 East Broadway
Tucson, AZ  85748
Phone: (520) 258-7200

Season: year round

Fee: no

Reservations: no
Activities
Blue Box indicates availability  White Box indicates unavailability
 Biking  Fishing  Picnicking
 Boating (Motorized)  Hiking/Backpacking  Scenic Driving
 Boating (Non-motorized)  Horseback Riding  
 Boating (WW)  Hunting  Water Sports
 Camping    Wildlife Viewing
 Caving  Off Highway Vehicles  Winter Sports
 Climbing    

Services and Facilities
Blue Box indicates availability  White Box indicates unavailability  An A for Accessible indicates the service or facility is accessible to people with disabilities
 Visitor Center  Group Campgnd  RV Sites
  Exhibits  Campgnd, Primitive  Electric Hookup
 Interpretive Programs  Drinking Water  Dump Station
 Cultural-Historic Sites  Restrooms  Boat Ramp
 Campgnd, Developed  Showers  Marina
 Rental Cabins

Notes: For online resources:
BLM area map
Presidential Proclamation
Go ToTo National Landscapes

View Vicinity Map      Recommended Books and Maps


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