In The Desert
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Kofa Wildlife Refuge
To go from South to North in the desert -- You leave the paved road (Rt. 95) at Stone Cabin. A small store with toilets, sodas, etc. This is a historic site and has been here for a long time, and well known locally. The trip begins in an Easterly direction on King Valley Rd. (gravel road). The Kofa Wildlife Refuge covers a very large area. Check with the NPS to make sure these routes are open, it's your responsiblity, as road openings change.
Download the Garmin GPS track HERE
This part of the desert gets more rain so it's greener here and the cactus are in good shape. The Ocotillo were showing their leaves when we were here. Also a lot of the hills were green with new grass. Bet the animals were loving it!
This trip -- if you follow the GPS track provided -- is 107 miles from Stone Cabin back to the highway again, so plan on a long day! The mesa in the photo to the left is Kofa Butte.
After a couple of hours into the trip you'll get to Engesser Pass. This trip, although fairly easy is not for the lone explorer. We only saw 2 other vehicles on the whole trip and they were lost! Stop at one of the information kiosk and pick up a map, they are very helpful.
Stop and take a break! The scenery is beautiful and there are a lot of neat trees, cactus here. The lower area of this trip is loaded with mines too. You'll see them as you go. Be careful a lot of them (King of Arizona mine included) are posted with no tresspassing signs.
There are large remnants of mountains; volcanos here too. The first half of the trip is on fairly flat roads. But there are some challenging spots along the way. In places it was like a super highway and in others it was rougher, like here. Arvin & Mable were leading this trip.
Great place for a lunch break! This is Hoodoo Well. Complete with a nice cabin to stay in with a wood stove; and even firewood. Off the ground bunks and a kitchen (no water in the kitchen though). You can lift the front and sides where the windows are. The cabin is screened in too.
Here's a look at part of the interior of the cabin. It was spotlessly clean. Please keep it that way, we may go back and spend the night. This is really out there in no mans land. Wonderful place to stargaze. The Kofa Wildlife Refuge is on one of the best day trips in the desert we've been on for while.
Next stop is Mid Well. Not much here except the well. Nice place for the short break. The next stop is only a short distance and is very interesting.
This is the Wilbanks Well and homestead. The barn that was here got burned down by a cowboy with a cigarette a long time ago according to the story in the book inside. When we got there the two white trucks on the left were National Wildlife vehicles and there was a note saying one of them had a flat and was waiting for help? We never saw anyone though.
Don't miss the inside of this cabin and two books with a story, and photos of the old ranch. For more info on this interesting homestead - see our Writers Cafe story on the saga of the Wilbanks family. This story chronacles their lives and struggles in the desert in Kofa. Interesting place and also very clean place to spend the night.
Leaving the Wilbanks Ranch you have to look real hard for the turn out of the wash and up Bighorn Pass - pictured here. It's rough but passable. This road may not be open any longer, please check the kiosks for maps on the area and to see what roads still remain open.
Your looking back toward Big Horn Pass here. The roads get a little rough and then they get real rough especially when you get down into the washes.
Here's Dave driving thru the wet wash at Alamo Spring. You can see the cut in the bank behind his vehicle where the spring originates. This is a great trip, but bring plenty of gas and supplies, as this is still a very remote area.
Four Grinding Rock holes in this big chunck of bed rock at Wilkinson Seep. This is just a little ways North of Alamo Spring. These holes were 10 inches deep. The Indians certainly knew about the water here.
I don't know why; but the water had a lot of green algae in it. Now this was moving water, not stagnant. There were frog eggs in the green algae..
Here's a better view of the main run-off of the Seep. The water in the center looked really clear and clean. There are a lot of windmill wells in the area -- because of the amount of ground water to be found here? This still amazes me; in such an isolated place in the desert.
Arvin saw this really big Jack Rabbit on the trip. A couple of others, Ron, Bill, or Dave saw another one that we didn't get to see. So there must have been a few of them in the area. With all the green grass and water they must be lovin it! Great trip; but a long one. Explorers should really see the Kofa Wildlife Refuge area -- it's very remote. If you left from Quartzite, Az it wouldn't be as long a trip as day trips go.
This is an inter-active Wikimapia Map. You can zoom in / out and drag the map to scroll. Try it! Shown here -- Wilbanks Cabin, Kofa Wildlife Refuge.
There are a lot of roads and trips in this area. This daytrip is particularly remote and you may not see another vehicle in here for days. There are a lot of places that we didn't investigate. As always we went on this trip to look at the area and see if we wanted to come back. We do.