Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is over 665,400 acres of Sonoran Desert. The refuge contains 516,300 acres of official wilderness spread over three major mountain ranges (Kofa, Castle Dome and New Water Mountains).
The elevations in the refuge vary dramatically. Visitors may be at an elevation of 680 feet on the desert floor and then travel to Signal Peak at 4,877 feet. Temperatures also change. In the months of December and January, the lows range near 25 degrees, yet in July and September, temperatures can reach 115 degrees.
The Sonoran Desert provides a unique habitat for vegetation. Here visitors will find creosote, ironwood, mesquite, palo verde and ocotillo. Not only is there vegetation, but desert wildlife. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, kit fox, desert tortoise, rattlesnakes and bats live in the refuge. There are also 188 species of birds in the area.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is for experienced hikers and four-wheel drive vehicles. Hikers often encounter wild burros and bighorn sheep. It is important to carry water into this area and to be prepared.
One area in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge that is especially unique is Palm Canyon. You can get to Palm Canyon from Yuma by taking Highway 95 north out of town, past Stone Cabin. You will need to be on the lookout for a maintained gravel road called Palm Canyon Road. You will travel on this road for approximately 9 miles. You can get to Palm Canyon from Phoenix by taking Interstate 10 west out of town. At Quartzsite, turn south on Highway 95. It is approximately 9 miles south of Quartzsite. You will need to be on the lookout for a maintained gravel road called Palm Canyon Road. You will travel on this road for approximately 9 miles. This is one of the few places in Arizona where native palms grow. The hike up to the palms is a strenuous one.
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is open daily 24 hours. There isn’t a fee to go into the refuge. If you would like to find out more, call 520-783-7861.