Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Aravaipa Canyon Restoration

July 24, 2015 - July 26, 2015


Aravaipa Canyon is located in the northern Galiuro Mountains and only a few miles from the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. The Preserve is only 50 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona as the bird flies (approximately 3 to 3.5 hours drive from Tucson or Phoenix). “Not only does the ranch sit over the main aquifer that supplies Aravaipa Creek, it’s also an important corridor for wildlife traveling from the Galiuro Mountains to the Santa Teresa Mountains,” says the Preserve’s manager, Mark Haberstich. With over 10 miles of perennial water, Aravaipa Canyon is a rare riparian jewel in southern Arizona; it is an important tributary to the Lower San Pedro River. We always see a variety of wildlife in Aravaipa Canyon, you will want to have your binocoulars! For more information about the Preserve:

And a recent feature by Arizona Public Media:

We work on the EAST SIDE of the canyon, at the headwaters of the perennial creek.


During monsoon season, a high-clearance vehicle is strongly encouraged. There are 2-3 wet wash crossings (yes, there is perennial water!) before arriving at the guesthouse.  

Option 1:
Meet at the SIA office at 300 W. University to caravan/carpool to Aravaipa Canyon at 1pm on Friday. We have limited room for passengers in vehicles – please let us know ahead of time if you need a ride so we can ensure space for everyone (or if you’d like to drive your personal vehicle and have space for a passenger).

We will head east on 1-10 toward Willcox (and a bathroom break) before heading off toward the northwest for the canyon. The last 40 miles or so are on a well-maintained dirt road.

Option 2:
If you have been there before and would like to meet us out there, just let us know when to expect you on Friday evening.

From Tucson: (155 miles) Take I-10 east to Willcox exit 340. Turn left onto Fort Grant Road and go north 30 miles to Bonita. Turn left onto Klondyke Road and go 32 miles to Klondyke. Preserve entrance is seven miles past Klondyke. The last 38 miles is a gravel road and subject to closure during wet weather.

From Phoenix: (190 miles) Take Highway 60 east to Globe, then U.S. 70 south to Fort Thomas. Travel eight miles past Fort Thomas and turn right onto Klondyke Road. Travel 28 miles to Klondyke. Preserve entrance is seven miles past Klondyke. The last 38 miles is a gravel road and subject to closure during wet weather.

Sky Island Alliance has been helping TNC and the BLM in Aravaipa Canyon for several years on a variety of projects to increase watershed health along this perennial riparian area. During this trip we are continuing a new task in Aravaipa Canyon – removing an invasive plant called vinca (or periwinkle) from the understory of the creek banks. This will require digging and fastidious removal of root material, with tools provided by Sky Island Alliance. We’ll be bending, digging, and getting dirty. Over the next couple of seasons, we hope to remove about several acres of vinca.  We will also be installing native plants in previously cleared areas to improve pollinator habitat.

We will break into teams and work all day Saturday and Sunday to dig out vinca and install native plants. We’ll leave time in the afternoons for exploring the canyon – be sure to bring a camera and your binoculars! We will depart the canyon in the early afternoon on Sunday to return to Tucson by 5pm.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has donated the use of the Aravaipa Canyon Preserve guesthouse, nestled right along Aravaipa Creek.  TNC’s Aravaipa Canyon Preserve guesthouse has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with showers and a full kitchen (with basic implements). There is also a screened sleeping porch, and a bunkhouse with two rooms with beds. You may choose to sleep on a bed (bring your own comfy bedding) or camp under the stars in your tent. Beds will be first-come/first serve, unless you let us know that you need to have priority. Nightly campfires are a big possibility.

  • Bring your own meals for the weekend – a minimum of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners, with snacks.
  • Potable water is available onsite, along with communal refrigerator space.
  • Be prepared to unplug – there is no cellphone or internet service at Aravaipa Canyon.
  • Bring work clothes and appropriate close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You may want sandals for walking in the creek.
  • Insect repellent is a good idea this time of year!

Volunteers are required to sign our release and indemnity form once annually.  This is a family-friendly trip; let us know if you plan to bring any youngsters and any special concerns. A limited number of well-behaved dogs will be allowed – please let us know if you have a 4-legger that you’d like to bring along.

For more information, please contact Christopher Morris at [email protected].


July 24, 2015
July 26, 2015
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, ,