Winkelman, at an elevation of 1,947 feet, is at the southern end of Gila County at the confluence of the San Pedro and Gila Rivers. The history of Winkelman dates back to 1877 and 1878 when a large number of farmers migrated to the region. With
the coming of the railroad, the post office was established in 1903
near the ranch of Peter Winkelman, Stockman. Winkelman incorporated
Most of Winkelman economic activity is related to copper. The
the community serves primarily as a service center and residential area
for families of employees associated with the mining and processing
activities. The principal employer within the town is the School
Gila County’s economy is related to copper mining, smelting, refining
and rod production. However, the economic base is diversifying as
an influx of retirees is increasing the need for services.
The rugged topography around Winkelman provides many, varied
scenic attractions. In addition to being economic mainstays of the
area, the local copper mines and processing facilities are interesting
attractions. Both open-pit and underground mines can be seen in
the area, and tours through the reduction plant in Hayden, showing
the processing of copper from ore to molten metal, are available.
State Highways 77 and 177 provide dramatic mountain and canyon
scenery. Nearby mountains, including the Dripping Spring
Mountains to the north and the Tortilla Mountains to the south,
have numerous recreation areas with camping and picnicking facilities.
The primitive beauty of the desert can be experienced in the
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness area southeast of Winkelman.
About 20 miles northeast of the Gila River, Coolidge Dam forms
10,000-acre San Carlos Lake which has facilities for boating and
fishing. The San Pedro River is also nearby. Hunting for javelina,
deer, quail and other game is popular in the area.
At the gateway to Winkelman stands a roadside park featuring a
115-foot-long adobe wall that tells the history of the town by
using bits of ranching and mining implements, as well as local geological
Last, but not least, is the eight-mile “Winkelman segment” of the
Gila River for safe and exciting Class 2 whitewater rapids, which
drop an impressive 23 feet per mile. Visitors can enjoy guided rafts
or be captains of specially designed river rafts with professional
guides offering instruction, leadership, and direction. Riding stables
and trail rides are available.