Sunday, March 6, 2011

Riverview Campground, Gila Box Riparian Conservation Area, Safford, Arizona.

Backroads destination—Riverview Campground, Gila Box Riparian Conservation Area, Safford, Arizona.

Unfortunately, for us we drove up to the Gila Box from Benson for just the day.  The way to best experience areas like this is to camp within them.  The BLM provides the Riverview Campground with 13 units with tables, shaded armadas, grills, and restrooms.  We did see water faucets and I assume that they were on, but check with the BLM office in Safford  (928-348-4400 )  to make sure!!  The price is only $5 per night which is cheap for a campground with potable water.

The picture above is of the host sites.

The campground is accessed by five miles of washboard gravel road from the edge of the pavement.  There is a BLM sign at the start about the city of Safford maintaining the road!!  So I think it might be an issue.  You should have no problem unless you are towing.  The road is one lane, with some inter-visible turnouts.  See this usbackroads entry about inter-visible turnouts.

Portions of the road are steep with washboards so it would be helpful to be towing in 4wd during these portions. 

If you look at the host site picture on the top of the blog you can see they managed to get their fifth wheels into the campground.

The campground has several pull-through sites.

 But for those that are good at backing up their trailers.  Well, just check out this long, long spur.  

 Oh, just one problem when you get to the end you probably will not be able to turn around your trailer.  So you must back it in.  Also walk the spur first.  Off to the sides are several different species of cactus that might or might not be a problem for your tires.  But hey, that just adds to the spirit of adventure on backroads.

There is a day use site along the river just below the campground.
The campground provides a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside.  From the campground many of the areas are just a short walk, while others as best accessed on the dirt road system within the conservation area.  The tracks in the sand along the river explain why Bugaboo was so interested in exploring the riparian vegetation along the Gila River!

Unfortunately, we are running out of time for our stay in Arizona.  But this area, will be on our short list of places to return too in the future.  It should also be on your list.  One of these days, people will discover this area and it will be crowded with birders and other recreationists.  Go now in winter when you can have this area to yourself.  When we were there on a Tuesday the campground was totally empty.  We did see a couple of people out exploring for the day.  

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